A quartet of losses for St Andrews

Teams from St Andrews were perfectly synchronised last week as they all succumbed to heavy defeats.

Prefects were away at Ward Road in Dundee to face Viscounts in a first division encounter. Viscounts were promoted from the second division last year, and with the addition of Callum Riddoch (a first division title holder), they are a force to be reckoned with. And indeed, they opened the proceedings well by taking the first three matches. Michael Hahn offered some resistance as he put Prefects on the scoresheet after being 2-1 down against David Hay to win 3-2. Jean-Augustin Touton and Michael both secured victory against Andrew Nimmo, but Viscounts took the rest of the available points to secure a well-deserved 7-3 win.

In the second division, New Kids welcomed the roaring Tigers at home. Ken Falconer, Howard Lee and Ian Smith all managed to beat Marion Davidson, but that was the end of the good news as Logie Anderson and Scott Thomson both scored undefeated hat tricks for Tigers. The result could have been very different if New Kids hadn’t lost all four of the matches which went to a deciding fifth game. Final score New Kids 3 Tigers 7.

Also in Division 2, Swots were playing Chieftains in Dundee. The first two points were shared evenly as Chris Wroniecki (reserve) lost to Fiona Kinloch but Nick Shepherd beat Jim Tawse in five games. However, Chieftains took all the remaining singles to win 8-2. Swots continued their 100% run in the doubles but that was meagre consolation on the night.

Receiving Lairds at home, Prospects were looking to stop their losing streak. Charlie Ross has a bad start against Mohammed Alrubayee, but Chris Wroniecki levelled the match, beating Ryan Connor in straight games. Lairds then stamped their authority by taking the next six points. Chris did well to beat Derek Johnston by 3-0. Alas, Ian Brumwell and Charlie were unable to make an impact on the final score 8-2.

Truants, plagued by injuries lately, had to request a postponement, and inadvertently ensured that the club avoided a quintet of defeats.


Best possible outcome in cup proceedings

All second division teams from St Andrews were competing in the secondary shield last week.

Swots and New Kids shared the home venue on Monday, welcoming Tigers and Kingsway respectively. The latter were stunned by a strong start by New Kids, harvesting a 4-0 lead with two wins from Howard Lee and one each for Ian Smith and Kong Wan. Kingsway kept their hopes alive in this first-to-five race when Derek Thomson defeated Kong in four games, but this was short lived as Ian Smith clinched the fifth point for New Kids with an impressive straight-sets win over Alan Carrie.

On the other table, Swots started well when Dave Beveridge and Nick Shepherd took the first two points against Kenny McLaren and Marion Davidson. Scott Thomson responded for Tigers with a fifth game victory against Collin Bleak, but Nick added his second win of the night, against Kenny this time. Scott reduced the arears once again, overcoming Dave Beveridge. Collin was able to place his team within one point of victory against Marion. Tigers needed all three matches left in the fixture and looked like they would force a deciding match when the next two encounters were played simultaneously. Scott went 2-0 up against Nick and Kenny lead 1-0 against Collin. Nick staged a great comeback to level the match at 2-2. Collin also came back and both matches reached their final set. Despite a great performance, Collin lost 11-9, but Nick was able to get the better of Scott 11-8, earning the final point needed for qualification.

Also at home, but in the Gauldry this time, Truants were facing Earls for a place in the semi-final. Earls couldn’t field three players and had a mountain to climb by forfeiting 3 points to Truants before the match even started. Knut Radmer (Truants) had a strong start against Stewart Mason leading 2-0 but Stewart turned the tables (figuratively), levelled the match and went on to win the final set 12-10. For his first match of the season, Alain Léger was fortunate to beat Scott Wishart in 4 games, but Sascha earned the second point needed to qualify Truants for the next round with a victory over Stewart. The fixture was played out with a final score of 7-2 for Truants.

This means that all three teams will be disputing the semi-finals in Dundee on December 15th. Swots and New Kids will be facing each other, and Truants will play the second division leaders Villa.

Mixed results for St Andrews

Back to league fixtures this week with Prefects away at the Forthill venue in Broughty Ferry to play Aces in a Division 1 fixture. Michael Hahn fought hard against Zeesth Naseem but succumbed in the final game. Bonifac Legrady and Howard Lee (reserve) also lost their opening matches. With a 3-0 deficit, Michael returned to the table to give some hope to the team by beating Mark Lundberg. Aces however took the next four matches including the doubles losing only one game in the process. Now playing for pride, as the overall match was already lost, Michael returned to the table to defeat Grant Williams. Final score 8-2 for a dominant Aces team.

In Division 2, New Kids were at home against Chieftains. Normally a strong team, Chieftains were only able to field two players, giving New Kids a 3-0 head start. However, Jacob Munro and Fiona Kinloch from Chieftains were able to win the first four matches. New Kids had to react, and that is precisely what they did. Howard Lee and Ian Smith combined well to win the doubles in straight sets, and the pair struck again in the singles to give the Kids a 6-4 victory.

Still in the second division, Swots played Barons in a fixture where all matches were won or lost in three games, except for the doubles and one other match. Barons opened well with victories in the first two matches, only to be matched by Swots in the following two encounters. Barons went two points ahead again, but Swots responded well and equalized again. At 4-4, Dave Beveridge took the lead for Swots for the first time on the night, but Andy Hughes completed his hat trick to scrape a 5-5 draw.

Finally in Division 2, Truants were away at Forthill to face Sputniks. Knut Radmer, Dave Beveridge and Sascha Roschy took a commanding 3-0 lead, only interrupted when Carol McLean defeated Knut in the deciding game of their match. Sascha very comfortably sent Eric Brown into orbit, but Jill Milne’s riposte against Dave Beveridge kept their hopes off the ground. The feeling didn’t last long though as the Sputniks crashed down to earth in the final four matches, giving a scoreline of Sputniks 2 Truants 8.

In Division 3, Prospects clashed against Squires at Ward Road. Dave Goddard and Charlie Ross did well to win two matches each, but Neil Lea was too modest to win a match. Squires edged Prospects 6-4.

Action from the second round of the Secondary Shield Round

Four teams from the St Andrews club competed in the second round of the Secondary Shield. This tournament is open to all teams in the league except those in Division 1.

New Kids (Division 2) were first up against Missiles (Division 3) at Forthill. Craig Fraser fired off the first point on the score sheet for Missiles, shooting down Kong Wan in three very tight sets before Howard Lee equalized for the Kids against David Hunter. Missiles self-destructed in the next two matches before Craig returned to the table with too much ammunition for Ken Falconer. In this first-to-five race, New Kids were only one point ahead with up to four matches remaining. However, the Kids had too much firepower as they torpedoed the next two matches without conceding a game to qualify for the next round.

Swots were also facing a lower division team: the Lairds, at Ward Road gym in Dundee. This was a much more straightforward affair. Taking no prisoners, Swots triumphed 5-0, and were only once pushed to a five-game match. Dave Beveridge, Collin Bleak and Nick Shepherd confidently qualified for the next round of the competition.

Finally, a St Andrews club derby rounded up this stage of the competition at the Victory Memorial Hall. Prospects (Division 3) the home team welcomed the Truants (Division 2). Sandy Pearson (Prospects) opened the fixture with his first appearance since a knee injury but lost in straight games against Sascha Roschy. Charlie Ross did well to come back from 2-1 down against Knut Radmer to level the match at 1-1, keeping the prospects of the Prospects alive in the contest. Truants, however, had other ideas and snuffed out any hope by taking four consecutive matches to qualify for the next round. Both teams were keen to make the most of the night and decided to play out the rest of the fixture. Truants consolidated their dominance as they picked up the next two points. Despite his dodgy knee, Sandy managed to take the last point against Knut, giving a final score line of 2-7. Sandy reflected in a post-match interview that he had returned to the table a bit too soon after his injury. We wish him a full and prompt recovery.

St Andrews has three teams through to the quarter finals, and all playing opponents from different clubs. Watch out for some more local derbies if they progress further to the semi-finals and final in the Secondary Shield.

The three musketeers

In Division 2, Truants welcomed the Lundin Lasers from Lundin Links to Gauldry last week. It was a real game of cat and mouse all night, both teams taking the lead in turn. At 4-4, Dave Beveridge (reserve) landed a crucial blow for Truants against former team mate Robert Brown to put Lasers on their back foot for the final encounter of the night. Stalwart Graham Wood then secured the victory for Truants and a personal hat-trick with a straight sets win against Roman Nydza. Gritty Knut Radner’s positive attitude at the table finally paid off as he at last scored his first point of the season.

Also in Division 2, the top two teams clashed at Forthill where New Kids were ambushed by a rampant Villa. In a very one-sided encounter, Villa took all the singles matches, only conceding the doubles in the deciding game by the smallest of margins. The hapless New Kids were stunned by superior opponents on the night. Howard Lee and Ian Smith were only able to take a bit of comfort from holding on to their unbeaten run in the doubles so far this season.

In the final match in Division 2, Swots hosted Sputniks. Although the man of the match, Jack Oughton, was on Sputniks’ side, the guests were sent into orbit in a convincing display by Swots. Even then, Jack won 2 of his 3 matches in a deciding set. Nick Shepherd, Collin Bleak and Dave Beveridge for Swots all managed to surpass Carol McLean and Eric Brown, who only won one set between them. Swots’ 7-3 victory means they are now 3rd in the second division, ahead of New Kids after their capitulation to Villa.

Prospects, representing St Andrews in the third division, travelled across the river Tay to play Squires at Ward Road Gym. Charlie Ross for Prospects opened the score against Winnie Stein, but the hosts took the next four matches, establishing a commanding 4-1 lead. Neil Lea reported feeling unwell during match against Winnie, but it took all of Dave Goddard’s powers of persuasion to convince his team mate to forfeit his third match. True team spirit does not mean winning at all costs, in this case Prospects were happy to reduce their chances of victory to protect one of their own. One for all, all for one. Prospects played catch up with Squires from there, but only reduced the deficit to 4-6 in the end.

Rain disrupts play

In Division 3 last week, Prospects welcomed the Earls from Dundee. It was raining both outside and inside the Victory Memorial Hall due to a leaky roof. Despite the meteorological hazards, the teams did their best to ignore the water ingress in a hard fought affair with 6 of the 10 matches needing a deciding game. The Earls poured down their shots as they raced to an early 3-0 lead. Not to be inundated, Dave Goddard and Charlie Ross reduced the deficit by soaking up the pressure in five game thrillers as they beat respectively Stewart Mason and Jamie Harle. Eddie Dougan, however, kept his cool for the Earls and swamped Neil Lea 3-1. In the doubles, Dave and Charlie combined well to overcome Stewart and Eddie. Earls then secured the next two singles to steam to victory. As the precipitation subsided, Charlie returned home for a well-deserved shower after claiming the last point of the night with a deluge of fine shots to defeat Eddie. Final score 4-6 to Earls.

In Division 2, Swots travelled to Lundin links to take on the Lundin Lasers. Swots started slowly, going 2-0 behind, but rallied to take the lead back at 3-4 before the hosts took the next three matches, securing a narrow 6-4 victory. The performance of Roman Nydza from the Lasers was decisive as he picked up all three singles in the deciding fifth game. Highlights for Swots included a win for reserve Chris Wroniecki and two victories for Collin Bleak in addition to the doubles match with David Beveridge.

It was a fine performance for first division Prefects in the Chairman’s Challenge trophy against Defenders. The opening two points were shared evenly by the teams. Reliable as ever, Michael Hahn then put the Prefects in front with a straight set win and received help from Bonifac Legrady for the first doubles match of the night. With their backs to the wall, Defenders had to win the next doubles to stay in the match, which they did when Arthur Pritchard and Jos Berkhout beat Bonifac and Jean-Augustin Touton in straight sets. Michael needed only one opportunity to secure the victory and therefore qualification for the next round when he beat Jos 3-1.

Action from week 2 of the new league season

The New Kids trio of (left to right) Ian Smith, Kong Wan, and Howard Lee

It was another good week for teams from St Andrews. New Kids welcomed Kingsway from Dundee Fire Station at the Victory Memorial Hall. Despite losing the first match, when Derek Thomson beat Kong Wan in four games, the home team never looked like losing the fixture as they won the next seven matches for the loss of only three games. It was Derek Thomson again who broke the winning streak to take his second and Kingsway’s only points on the night by beating Ian Smith in the fifth and deciding game. Howard Lee scored his first hat trick of the season, dropping only one game on the night. Ian and Kong tallied two victories each as they extinguished the flames of firemen Willie Cooper and Alan Carrie. The final score was 8-2 for the hosts. After two matches New Kids (temporarily) lead Division 2 sharing the top spot with Villa.

On the other table, Prospects were facing Comets from Broughty Ferry but with a very different outcome. Guests Glenn Christie, Fraser Smith and Dougal Ogilvie were only ever troubled when Chris Wroniecki was on the other side of the table, as they were pushed to deciding games on each occasion. Chris will be relieved to take the one consolation point in a 9-1 reversal but disappointed to have lost three encounters by the smallest of margins, including the doubles. In the singles, Dave Goddard and Neal Lea were reduced to cosmic dust, winning only one game between them, against a dominant Comets team.

In Division 1, Jean-Augustin Touton made his debut for Prefects and saved the team from an away defeat against Star in the last game of the night. Michael Hahn won his singles and Graham Wood (reserve) scored another point for the visiting team. Star were represented by Ian Martin, with two victories as well as the doubles, and Jim Hutcheson, who won one single, as did Andy Ferguson. Overall, the 10 points were evenly shared between the two teams.

Finally, Truants, who were away at Forthill in Broughty Ferry playing Tigers, returned home victorious 6-4. Sascha Roschy lead the charge with a hat trick, as well as the doubles, partnering with Graham Wood who added two more victories to the score sheet, beating Kenny McLaren and Scott Thomson, but losing to Logie Anderson. Unfortunately, Knut Radmer was unable to tame the big cats despite two very close matches against Logie and Kenny.