Tag Archives: St Andrews

Table toppers keep up the momentum

This week Prefects, Swots and Prospects were the teams in league action and it all happened in St Andrews on Monday night.

The Prefects needn't have looked so anxious before their match

The Prefects needn’t have looked so anxious before their match

Prefects (Kong Wan, Ian Smith and Howard Lee) faced Division 2 Rockets from Broughty Ferry, who were hardly weakened by bringing reserve Ian McLagan into their line up for the night. Howard was again at his very best, smashing all before him, and with Ian and Kong also picking up another three terrific wins between them, the St Andrews team ran out narrow 6-4 winners to keep their promotion challenge well on track. Prefects were never behind in the contest but the result wasn’t decided until the battle of the Ians, in match nine, when Smith thrashed McLagan in three straight games. Kong, who has played some heroic last matches in recent weeks, then had the opportunity to extend the margin of victory in match ten but, after winning the first game was overcome by ‘quick Carol’ McLean and lost 1-3.

The other two St Andrews teams faced up in Division 3 for the second of their derby fixtures. Swots set out their playing order to win matches early on, but their strategy was blown out the water when Prospects’ Maxi Strobl played out his skin in the first match against Dave Beveridge. Then, in the next match, Swots’ Robert Brown couldn’t get a grip of Collin Bleak and Swots suddenly found themselves 0-2 behind. Emma Bissett finally got Swots off the mark against Neil Lea and six of the next seven matches went to the table toppers, including Robert and Dave’s 3-0 doubles win over Maxi and Collin. The exception was Collin’s second win of the night, a tight five game affair against Emma. With the result secure, Swots looked like putting the icing on the cake when Dave had Collin on the ropes at 2-0 but the big man changed his tactics and dramatically took the next three to complete a terrific hat-trick. Final score Swots 6, Prospects 4.

With only a handful of fixtures to go, and Prefects and Swots still on top of their divisions, the nerves are jangling to see if the club can complete the double promotion that has looked very possible for a few weeks now.

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High stakes for St Andrews TT teams

The tension, the tension….it’s getting unbearable. With lots at stake for all four St Andrews teams this week, there was high drama, some terrific performances and one or two disappointments.

On Monday in Victory Memorial Hall, Prefects kicked off the week with a Division 2 match against Chieftains. It started well. Howard Lee and then Kong Wan had our boys 2-0 ahead before Ian Smith and Kong lost the next two in straight sets. However, Howitzer Howard had Prefects back in front in match five with a surprisingly easy demolition of Jim Tawse. Prefects then lost the next four matches, including the doubles, to go 3-6 behind. Although the fixture was lost, every point counts, and Howard was in no mood to give Chieftains another one, beating rising star Jack Bell in four games. It was a pity that Howard’s finest performance in a St Andrews shirt didn’t coincide with a win for the team. Final score Prefects 4, Chieftains 6. Prefects still top Division 2 though.

Across the hall, Prospects were recording their best (if not biggest) win of the season so far in Division 3. Lairds are no mugs and had given Prospects an 8-2 going over in the first half of the season. Not this time. Maxi Strobl, Collin Bleak and Dave Goddard all beat Eddie Dougan and Gary Aitchison, Eddie’s five game curse returning to haunt him in his matches with Maxi and Dave. Lairds wins all came from the bat of young Blair Duncan but the fiery redhead was pushed all the way by Collin and Dave. Maxi and Collin, pals again after a tactical ‘debate’ earlier in the season, made a fine job of dispatching Eddie and Gary in four games in the doubles. Final score Prospects 7, Lairds 3. Prospects now look like breaking into the top half of the division.

On Tuesday, New Kids were forced to play two reserves in a crucial Division 1 fixture at Ward Road against the struggling Kings. It was a tough night for Peter Bladen and reserves, Howard Lee and Ian Smith. Peter beat Plamen Kostadinov in straight games in match three but that was the only point that the Kids could muster. Howard lost the doubles, with Peter, in five games against Angie Guo and Plamen. Howard looked like he would later take revenge on Plamen when he took a 2-0 lead in their singles match but lost the next three games to 7, 4 and 8. The 9-1 result gives Kings something of a lifeline and, after looking like their first division status might be secure, pitches New Kids into the relegation battle.

Swots – L to R Emma Bissett, Robert Brown and Dave Beveridge have fought their way to a four point lead in Division 3

Swots – L to R Emma Bissett, Robert Brown and Dave Beveridge have fought their way to a four point lead in Division 3

Alongside, Swots were playing Squires in Division 3. Between now and the likely showdown with Tigers in the last fixture of the season, the game for Swots is about dropping as few points as possible. Squires are a tricky outfit, so Swots would readily have accepted a 9-1 victory before the match started. Dave Beveridge dropped the only point for the St Andrews team with a nervy performance against Steve Wilson. Emma Bissett was also pushed to five games by Tanya Kapelyukh, but won. Once Dave had got a grip, Swots snatched the other seven matches without losing a single game. Robert Brown was simply untouchable for Swots all night and Emma’s 3-0 demolition of Steve Wilson, losing only twelve points in the process, was clinical. Swots now top Division 3 and have a four point lead over Comets.

Super Swots see success at last

The last week of November saw all four of the St Andrews table tennis teams return to league action.

At Memorial Hall on Monday, Prefects faced Rockets in Division 2, with Swots seeking their first win of the season against Viscounts in Division 3.

Prefects’ drama lasted until 10pm after six of their nine games took five sets to decide.  Prefects led 4-2 and Kong Wan and Ian Smith were 2 sets to 1 ahead in the doubles against Carol McLean and Jim Hodson when Kong took a nasty tumble, banging his head against the wall.  Unsettled, the St Andrews pair failed to recover from the incident and lost the game.  After a rest, however, the wounded soldier showed terrific spirit to play on and win a tense final game in five sets against David Fletcher.  Final score 5-5 (Ian and Kong two wins each; Ken Falconer one win).

Swots finally picked up their first league victory of the season with a fighting display against Viscounts that saw all but one of their six wins coming in five sets. Emma Bisset was the star of the night with a terrific hat-trick of singles wins. Dave Beveridge, still deputising for big Dave Goddard, and Collin Bleak both chalked up fine wins against Eddie Dougan. Emma and Dave then combined forces effectively for the second time this season to win the doubles. Swots’ crucial sixth win came in game eight. Emma sprinted to a two set lead but Eddie came storming back to force the game into a marathon fifth set. After both players had squandered several match points Emma ultimately prevailed 20-18!

On the same night New Kids travelled to newly promoted Kingsway and recorded yet another comprehensive victory in Division 2. Peter Bladen (3 wins), Elaine Forbes (3) and Nick Shepherd (2) were the triumphant trio. Nick seemed to be heading for a win at 5-1 up in the fifth set against wily Willie Cooper but was caught at 10-10 and lost the last two points. Elaine and Nick won the doubles match to complete a 9-1 rout.

Prospects travelled to Broughty Ferry on Thursday for a showdown with fellow Division 4 challengers Sputniks. Dave Beveridge, Vuksan Mijovic and Maxi Strobl all beat Germain Julien comfortably but experienced campaigners David Hunter and Jim Fleming were a different proposition. Only Maxi secured another win in five sets against Jim. Dave and Maxi started the doubles well but succumbed in four sets. Dave said ‘I feared we were for a thumping when we lost the doubles and went 2-5 down but Maxi’s comeback against Jim was truly heroic and it saved us from a heavier defeat.’

Epic battles

It was an exciting week of epic battles for teams from St Andrews Table Tennis Club. In the home matches, both the Prefects and Prospects came away with pleasing victories.

The trio of Ian Smith, Ken Falconer and Howard Lee playing for the Prefects edged through to the semi-final of the Secondary Shield after seeing off Defenders by the narrowest of margins, 5-4. Details of this exciting encounter are in previous post (below).

On the neighbouring tables, Prospects took on Lairds in a postponed Division 4 match. Prospects had won handsomely at their last meeting but they hadn’t previously met young Craig Shearer who proceeded to beat each of the St Andrews players in five sets. Dave Beveridge, Maxi Strobl and Vuksan Mijovic held their nerve though and were 4-3 ahead after Dave and Vuksan took the doubles game in five sets. Lairds leveled the match at 4-4 but, with young Craig now out of the picture, Vuksan and Dave made no mistakes to win the last two games and ensure a 6-4 triumph.

On Tuesday, Prospects lined up again against the young Princes at Ward Road in Dundee with Freddi Beinke stepping into Monday’s line up in place of Maxi Strobl. The match had a similar look to Monday’s with Blair Duncan beating each of the Prospects and Dave, Maxi and Freddi all winning against Nathan Christie. Princes played with a man short and, with Dave and Freddi winning the doubles match in straight sets, Prospects left the hall with a welcome 7-3 margin.

On Wednesday Swots and New Kids both travelled to Dundee College for cup action against Rollercoasters and Attackers.

Big Dave called in sick for Swots, so wee Dave was called up to play for the third night in a row alongside the sleep-deprived Collin Bleak and Emma Bissett, who was nursing a cold. Surprisingly, it was only reserve Dave who could muster a fine five set win during business end of the match, although Emma thrashed Paul Jackson in straight sets after Swots has exited the Consolation Cup for this year. Final score 1-5 (2-7).

There was no drama for New Kids who turned in their now customary performance to join Prefects in the semi-final of the Secondary Shield. Pete Bladen, Elaine Forbes and Nick Shepherd beat the Attackers 5-1 and must now be odds-on to achieve a remarkable league and cup double this season.

The all-conquering New Kids trio of Peter Bladen, Elaine Forbes and Nick Shepherd.

The all-conquering New Kids trio of Peter Bladen, Elaine Forbes and Nick Shepherd.

Prefects edge through to cup semi-final

Prefects welcomed Defenders from Dundee College in the third round of the Secondary Shield. Howard Lee, Ken Falconer and Ian Smith lined up for the Prefects against strong opponents in the form of Ken Head, Scott Thomson and Richard Tough, recently relegated from Division 1. Attacking relentlessly, the Defenders won the first two games. Ian Smith pulled one back with his first ever win over Ken Head. Howard then overcame Richard in an epic 5 set thriller, 12-10 in the fifth. But the Defenders soon re-established their lead in the match 4-2. The Prefects didn’t give up as Howard did the business again with another 5 set victory over Ken Head and Ian beat Richard to draw the match level at 4-4. The final encounter witnessed Ken Falconer, who hadn’t yet won a set all evening, take on Scott Thomson who hadn’t dropped a set all night. Ken dug deep, really deep, to take Scott into a deciding fifth set. Scott played with all guns blazing and Ken struggled against Scott’s top spins and smashes as he fell behind 2-7. But Ken refused to be defeated. He found his best form and played with great consistency as he steadily caught up, closing the gap to 7-9. By now Ken had the momentum and found himself with a match point at 11-10. Scott recovered briefly but Ken made no mistake as he carefully aimed his shot to clip the edge of the end of the table. Scott could do nothing as Ken completed his amazing comeback to clinch the set and match for the Prefects 13-11 and to send them through to the semi-final.

The match scorecard for Prefects v Defenders

The match scorecard for Prefects v Defenders

St Andrews v St Andrews

Ken Falconer - former Surrey under-18 doubles champion

Ken Falconer – former Surrey under-18 doubles county champion (and also a world authority on fractal geometry)

Week 7 of the Dundee and District table tennis league saw three teams from St Andrews in action, but they played in only two matches. It won’t take the club’s mathematicians to work out that it was derby week, with New Kids and Prefects colliding in division two for the first time this season.

The big match simply served to reinforce the dominance of the Kids this season when they ran out comfortable 9-1 winners. However, there were some brave performances from Prefects. Howard Lee took a set off both Elaine Forbes and Pete Bladen and Ken Falconer chopped his way to a fine five set win over Nick Shepherd – but that was as good as it got for Prefects. Apart from the set lost to Howard, Elaine lost no more than 6 points in any of her other sets. Elaine and Peter completed another personal 100% performance when they won the doubles game in straight sets against Ken and Howard.

On Tuesday, Swots travelled to Dundee to meet Tass, with Dave Goddard and Emma Bissett calling Freddi Bienke onto the team bus in place of Doctor Bleak, who has been doing some sums in Canada. Regrettably their torrid season continues without a win and they remain in the bottom half of division three after being felled 7-3. The Swots each managed to beat Brian Hamill but lost to anyone called Stuart, Stewart, or Stuart and Stewart.

Prospects’ home match against Lairds was postponed to the following week. They now face several crucial, but winnable, matches in quick succession that will likely make or break their challenge for promotion from division four.

The match scorecard

The match scorecard

New Kids progress; Prospects perish in the Shield

The last week of October saw St Andrews’ New Kids progress to the third round of the Secondary Shield and maintain their unbeaten record in all competitions this season.

Against Kings, at Ward Road, the Kids faced an unusual Kings line-up which included young Callum Riddoch playing up from Squires. Callum got the Kings off the mark with a shock win over Nick Shepherd before Elaine Forbes and Peter Bladen put the Kids ahead at 2-1. Nick then came back from the dead in the fourth set of the next game to win 15-13 in the fifth and put New Kids 3-1 ahead. Elaine and Pete won Kids’ fourth and fifth points, but not before Callum had spoiled Pete’s unbeaten record this season. Final score; 5-2 to New Kids but the talk is about the stratospheric progress of young Riddoch.

In the same competition, fourth division Prospects’ trip to Blackness Fire Station to take on second division Kingsway unsurprisingly turned into mission impossible. Even talisman Neil Lea was unable to win on the night and along with Maxi Strobl and Vuksan Mijovic the team suffered their first heavy defeat of the season losing 0-9. The night got even worse after Neil bumped his car in the car park.

Prefects, who have a bye into the next round, and Swots, who are competing in the Consolation Cup, were not in action this week.

Nick Shepherd won a turning point game for the Kids.

Nick Shepherd won a turning point game for the Kids.