All-inclusive club proud of young player’s improvement

Emma, with Chairperson Neil Lea and the Graham Neilson Trophy.
Emma, with Chairperson Neil Lea and the Graham Neilson Trophy.
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St Andrews Table Tennis Club has much to teach the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers in Muirfield.

While members there snubbed the opportunity to accept female members, the St Andrews group says it prides itself on it all inclusive ethos.

A happily mixed gender club, but with a male majority, they have just voted for a female as the worthy recipient of their most prestigious award.

At the table tennis club’s recent AGM, chairperson Neil Lea presented Emma Bissett with the Neilson Trophy as most improved player of season 2015-16.

Her team-mates Dave Beveridge and Collin Bleak were quick to pay tribute to Emma’s contribution of 21 wins in a season consolidating Swots’ status as a Division 2 team following last year’s promotion up a division.

Reviewing the club’s overall position at the meeting, there was cause for satisfaction at a competitive table tennis season where all teams avoided relegation – albeit by a whisker for Newkids who just managed to retain their Division 2 status.

However, the threesome of Ken, Kong and Ian Smith have already embarked upon a summer programme of intense practice to ensure there will be no repeat of the past winter’s traumas.

They will also be able to call on the skills of Ian Brumwell who will move up after a successful season playing in Division 3.

A spokesman for the club said: “The return to the town and to the club of Jonathan Fraser is also very welcome – hopefully, Jon will be able to galvanise Prospects into a promotion threat in the forthcoming months.”

At the end of its 50th season, there was also a feeling of wellbeing about the status of the club in general.

The spokesman added: “Finances are healthy under the continued  stewardship of Bill Sutherland.

“Recent grants from Fife Council’s Club Development Fund and St Andrews Common Good Fund towards summer practice and coaching costs are enabling the club to offer practice all year round for the first time for those players wishing to hone their competitive skills.

“The youngsters’ coaching group is also flourishing under the watchful eye of lead coach Howard Lee, with weekly assistance from Dave Beveridge. 

“Sandy Pearson has also been giving his time to help the juniors over the summer term.

“The social side of the club is also  flourishing with the more informal adult beginners and returners group enjoying its Thursday sessions with Elaine Forbes at Kilrymont.

“Many new participants have been welcomed over the past months.

“ And so the overall feeling of the AGM was definitely onwards and upwards.”