West of Scotland Table Tennis League

West of Scotland Table Tennis League
Andy Fleming Top 12
Well that was the top twelve! I wonder what Andy would have made of it? Watching from the sidelines it had drama, passion, endurance, high skill level, great atmosphere and it was well organised. The winners were Gavin Rumgay and Gillian Edwards as well as Table Tennis. Yes, I’m sure Andy would have enjoyed it and very much approved of the event held in his name.
The inaugural Andy Fleming Top Twelve took place at Drumchapel Sports Centre on Saturday, 20 December. As his son Martin explained, the venue was highly appropriate as his Dad spent many happy hours coaching and drinking cups of tea there (as well as being a top coach, Andy was a top class tea drinker).
Andy died almost a year ago and in memory of his former coach and friend, Gordon Clancey came up with the idea of a Mens’ Scottish Top Twelve and Womens’ Top six tournament. Andy was a leading Scottish coach and dear friend to many WoSTTL and Scottish players. It was entirely fitting that a tournament, attracting Scotland’s top players, be named after him.
The format for the Men was two groups of six followed by three groups of four and for the Ladies a group of five (unfortunately, Julie Lawrence called off through injury).
The participants were:

  Mens’ Top Twelve     Ladies' Top 5
Group 1  
Gavin Rumgay Niall Cameron Corinna Whitaker Stephanie Mccallum
Gerry Campbell Peter Shaw Gillian Edwards Rhian Williams
Callum Gerrard Sean Doherty Josie Bruce  
Group 2  
Stewart Crawford Craig Howieson  
Craig Hardie Terry McLernon
Chris Main Richard Main

Group 1
Gavin Rumgay lived up to his star billing and produced a very professional display winning all his matches in this initial group. Niall Cameron dropped the one match to Gavin and secured second place. The three vets, Gerry Campbell, Callum Gerrard and Peter Shaw, all performed well but Peter’s match against Niall (taking him to 5 ends) was a great effort from someone about to celebrate their 45th (!) birthday. After much discussion with Peter I’m sure that’s what he told me to report! Gerry and West player Sean Doherty both progressed to compete in the second category (positions 5-8).
Group 2
Craig Howieson was a clear winner of Group 2, winning all matches and local player Craig Hardie performed well on home territory to secure the runner’s up spot, both qualifying to the top group. Stewart Crawford was below par after an eight week lay-off (due to an injury) but all credit to him for fulfilling his commitment to play. Stewart along with Richard Main progressed to the second category.  

Positions 1-4
Gavin Rumgay receiving Top 12 trophy from Martin FlemingThe results of matches between players from the first group, who then ended up in the same second group carried forward, so all players had two matches to play.
The opening match in this group, Craig Howieson against Niall Cameron, produced one of the matches of the day with Craig winning 3-1 in games but he had to produce some spectacular winning backhands away from the table and outlast Neil in some stunning rallies to secure the win.

With Craig Hardie losing to Gavin the scene was set for the Men’s final between the number 1 and 2 seeds Gavin and Craig Howieson. Gavin secured the title 3-1 with a performance relying on controlled topspin rather than spectacular winners.
Positions 5-8
Sean Doherty, after a three way countback, secured fifth spot followed by Richard Main and top vet Gerry Campbell.

Ladies Top 5
Gillian Edwards - Top 6 ChampionGillian Edwards came through as Top 5 Ladies’ Champion securing four wins out of four. Corinna Whitaker took second place and put up some resistance against Gillian losing 3-1 but was unable to find an answer to Gillian’s greater consistency. Scottish Junior, Rhian Williams (Dumfries) did well to secure third place after a countback with Josie Bruce and Stephanie Mccallum.

Reaction to the event from players and spectators was extremely positive. Ranking points were up for grabs and the intensity of the play was present for all to see. The hope is that this becomes an annual competition and continues to be a long lasting tribute to Andy. I know that both Martin and Patrice were very pleased and proud that the tournament was named after their dad.
Thanks to Gordon Clancey, WoSTTL, Drumchapel TTC, TT Scotland, Johnnie Campbell, umpires on duty (you know who you are), Tricia Whittaker (Top Table) and Hugh McLaughlin (Photos – to follow). The event could not have happened without you.