Thirteen players at St Andrews Table Tennis Club dusted their bats to compete in the Eglinton Cup, the now traditional opening tournament of the season at the Victory Memorial Hall.
Club chair Alain Leger presents the 2018 Eglinton trophy to winners Chris Wroniecki (left) and Dave Beveridge (Right)
If the Eglinton trophy can be used as a barometer for the season to come, the pair to watch for the start of the competitive play on September 10th is Dave Beveridge and Chris Wroniecki, who took the final with a commanding 4-1 victory over Michael Hahn and John Carlton, the latter winning the only end for the runners up on the deciding point. The tournament, organized by Elaine Forbes and Alain Leger, is handicapped, to even the playing field and make the outcome more unpredictable. With many games going to sudden death, all players shared a fun and exciting evening. Dave equaled a club record on the night, taking the trophy home for the third time in the last four years. The evening was also marked by the last appearance under the St Andrews banner for Emma Bissett, who had an impressive night, conceding only one set during the event. Emma’s good nature and friendly attitude will be missed by all, although she has threatened to drop in occasionally at social events.
All league players are now focusing on the new season looming round the corner. The club will enter five teams again in the Dundee and District League, in the same divisions as last year, as all the teams avoided promotion and relegation alike. Leading the charge with the elite team in 1st division are the Prefects, but the club is represented in greater numbers in the second division with the Truants, New kids and Swots. Whereas in third division, the Prospects have renewed energy and focus and could well impress this season.
The club would also like to invite new players, either beginners or adult returners to drop in at Victory Memorial Hall at any time on a Monday between 1:30pm and 4pm to join the Rascals group. As a safe and relaxed environment to enjoy the sport in a leisurely manner, this is a great introduction to the club. Those who wish to play competitively are also very welcome.
On Monday 28th August, a good turnout of 16 players participated in the annual Eglinton Cup in the first event of the season. Players opted to play in eight pairs in a knock-out format. All players were allocated a handicap, with all games being played up to 31, other than games involving Michael, which were played up to 26. The first round saw two 3-2 victories which would have been reversed had a single point gone the other way. Howard Lee and Ian Brumwell defeated Michael Hahn and Emily Howat, and Dave Beveridge and Kong Wan defeated Emma Bissett and Rob Brown, with both matches including a game won on a sudden-death point (26-25 and 31-30) which proved decisive.
Sandy (left) and Sascha (right) receive the Eglinton Trophy from club chairman Alain (middle)
The final saw Dave vie for his third consecutive title, an unprecedented feat. However, Sascha Roschy and Sandy Pearson went on to defeat Dave and Kong 3-0 in the final. Club chair-person Alain Leger and Ken Falconer secured third place with a tight 2-1 victory over Howard and Ian in a match which witnessed two 31-30 scores, and one 31-29. Robert and Emma won the ‘consolation’ half of the draw, securing fifth place after defeating Graham Wood and Neil Lea 2-1, whilst Collin Bleak and Dave Goddard took seventh place, with Michael and Emily taking eighth.
Unofficial ‘player of the night’ goes to Sascha who went undefeated in singles, despite playing off a handicap of 5, the second lowest of the night. Special thanks go to Elaine Forbes who, as always, organised the tournament excellently. Her accurate handicapping was demonstrated by the number of tight games including five games which were won on a sudden-death point, seven 31-29s, and nine 31-28s. Attention now is drawn to the start of the competitive season, with the first fixtures for St Andrews’ five teams starting on Monday 11th September.
The Speeches (with apologies for poor sound quality)
The Winning Points
See lots more action from the Eglinton Cup in 21 videos on the club’s YouTube channel.
The first event of the season on St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s calendar is traditionally Eglinton Trophy night. After a summer of intense practice, the members’ competitive instincts must have been straining to be unleashed as a record entry of nineteen players turned up to compete in the handicap team event held in memory of former club stalwart David Eglinton.
With nineteen not being the easiest number to shape into a team event, it gave a first class excuse for a bamboozling format, ably organised by Elaine Forbes, but the players buckled down with their usual mix of good sportsmanship and desire to win.
In the group of four teams, Michael Hahn, Dave Beveridge and Neil Lea nudged out Ian Smith, Rob Brown and Jon Fraser to take their place in the final against Graham Wood and Sandy Pearson from the group of three.
Clyde Johnson and Fabio Sani made up for their disappointment in being beaten to a final slot by finishing in third place with a win over Ian, Rob and Jon.
The final was closely contested. Graham’s win against Dave was cancelled out by Michael beating Sandy. With the doubles being pivotal, Graham and Sandy caught up from a big handicap deficit against Neil and Dave just in time to reach 20-20 and “sudden death: next point the winner”. Three careful shots in the final rally and then Dave offered up a prayer, went for a big forehand and gained a huge win for his team. Playing as the most heavily handicapped player on the night, Michael once again came from behind, his win against Graham sealing a 3-1 victory for his team.
And so the evening proved a great warm up for the new season of league and cup matches which will get underway from Monday 12th September.
Howard Lee presents the trophy in the video to the victors of the 11th Eglinton Cup tournament: Dave Beveridge, Neil Lea and Michael Hahn. Well done boys!
And here is some video action from the singles and doubles. Club members showcase impressive improvements in their skills and footwork thanks to earnest practice over the summer months:
Robert Brown celebrated his recent promotion to the Swots by helping (or carrying) Nick Shepherd to St Andrews Table Tennis Club’s early season silverware.
Victory Memorial Hall was looking resplendent on a hot and steamy Monday night when the club rolled out it’s new Awards for All funded court surrounds for the annual Eglinton Trophy tournament. Twelve players entered the competition and they were divided “randomly” into six teams of two by tournament organiser Elaine Forbes. The format was a round robin in which each team played singles and a doubles match against every other team. To level the playing field, players were given a handicap for each match (an account of the history of the tournament can be found on the Eglinton Cup page). The ability span in the club has narrowed somewhat in the last year (i.e. the duffers are catching up) and it was no surprise that the competition was fierce and closely contested.
New recruit Sandy Pearson showed early promise in partnership with Ian Smith. Using his powerful top spin strokes from both backhand and forehand, he whitewashed Howard Lee 21-0 though a generous handicap of 15 points gave Sandy a strong advantage. Alas, Sandy’s great start was shattered during the doubles match. As Sandy swung his bat to play another mighty forehand, his partner Ian was too slow to move out of the way, and Sandy’s bat collided with Ian’s gluteus maximus. The force of the impact was so great that the bat broke into two pieces and Sandy’s wrist was left sore and damaged (though Ian’s backside was remarkably unscathed). Sandy carried on bravely using a reserve bat though this calamity was undoubtedly a blow to his performance.
Sandy’s broken bat
As the competition entered its final phase, there were still a few teams in with a chance of winning the trophy. Peter Bladen and Collin Bleak needed a 4-1 win over Girls Aloud in the form of Emma Bissett and Emily Howat, but they just missed out 2-3. Nick and Robert also lost their last match 2-3 to Ken Falconer and Dave Beveridge, but they had done enough earlier in the night to put their names on the Eglinton Cup by the narrowest of margins. Emma, Robert and Collin led the individual results table with 7 wins each, followed by Nick, Ken Dave and Howard Lee, who each managed five.
Nick Shepherd and Robert Brown with their rucksacks and the Eglinton Cup
The club is now looking forward to the start of the Dundee and District leagues on 15th September. New Kids will be hoping at least to consolidate their position as a Division 1 outfit, while Prefects will battle it out again in Division 2. With little between Swots and Prospects the derby matches in Division 3 will likely decide who does best in Division 3. Bring it on.
The club’s youth coaching also starts again on 15 September at 5:15pm in the Victory Memorial Hall, St Andrews. The club is still keen to add to the number of youths in its coaching programme. Contact Howard Lee on 01334 828694 for more details or just come along on the first night.
St Andrews Table Tennis Club members pinged off the 2013/14 season last Monday by competing for the David Eglinton Memorial Cup. David was a founder member of the club and a tricky player in his day. David died about 10 years ago and the Cup is played every year in his memory. The club would not be what is today if it had not been for David’s efforts and enthusiasm.
The competition is seeded with players allocated randomly to a two person team and given a handicap. The fine organisational skills of Elaine Forbes ensured that the evening ran smoothly. In total, 14 players registered and divided into 7 teams. As usual the singles and doubles matches were highly contested and very tight. In the end, the freshly polished cup was won on the final deciding point by Ian Smith, very ably partnered by rookie Emily Howat. This was Ian’s eighth attempt at winning the title, and Emily’s first. In a post-match interview, Ian attributed his success to the introduction of a new head band which seemed to intimidate and confuse opponents, especially when he wore it upside down. The continental European partnership of Alain Leger (France) and Frederike Beinke (Germany) were the gutted runners up.
Ian and Emily
Alain and Freddie
The freshly polished Eglinton Cup