Winners galore at club championships

Tugga: Traralgon Table Tennis Association mens champion Steve Warr and Heath Sposato.



TRARALGON Table Tennis Association held its Annual Club Championships Tournament last Wednesday (July 26). It was a big night of table tennis, with more than 45 players competing in seven different events.

Reigning club champion, Steve Warr dropped a set from Ian Strong in the semi’s to qualify for the final, while Steve Boyd and Heath Sposato played a five-set classic, where Sposato got out of jail in the fourth set, to win the fifth set 12-10 and earn his spot in the final.

Warr started strong in the final, quickly taking the first two sets, but Sposato fought back strongly to win the third 11-5.

It was to avail though, as the reigning champion regained control, taking the fourth set 11-7 to win his fourth open singles title, and his third in succession.

The ladies open was a hard fought affair, with Helen Procak pulling out every trick she had to get over young gun Maya Gomez, winning her semi-final 20-18 in the fourth set.

Quynh Cottrell saw off a determined Fiona Fullard in the other semi final in three close sets, to set up a great final between two big hitters.

Those watching were not disappointed as Cottrell and Procak traded blows in a very entertaining and exhausting battle.

While this match was won in straight sets, the scoreboard did little to undermine how close this contest was, highlighted by the third set score line of 20-18. Procak refused to back down, it was eventually Cottrell sneaking home to win her second ladies open title in three years.

In the open doubles, Heath Spasato and Peter Gomex were made to work for there 12-10, 11-9, 11-9 semi final over Jackson Landy and Mark Strini, while their challengers, Ian Strong and Geoff Lawn also had their hands full against Jeff Pollard and Steve Boyd, but progressed with a four set win.

The final didn’t take quite as long however, with Sposato and Gomez winning in straight sets.

The restricted singles, which is historically a well-contested battle, saw all matches from the quarter final stages go to at least four sets.

Steve Boyd battled initially over Jeff Pollard, to eventually win in four sets to advance to the final.

Jackson Landy dropped the first set against Geoff Lawn, before advancing to the final four sets, the last being a 18-16 win.

The final was also a tight affair, with Steve Boyd, under fatigue, defeating Landy in four sets.

The Section 2 singles saw some of the closest battles of the night.

In making his way to the final, Warrick Landy just fell short in an epic semi against Paul Gale in five sets, with his opponent Kamy Wu being made to work hard against regular sparring partner Ron Winklemann, winning his semi in four sets.

The final was another hard fought affair, with Gale defeating Wu 13-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-6 in a classic.

The Section 2 doubles saw another amazing event, with both semi-finals and the final going to the fifth set for a result.

Henry Franssen and Quynh Cottrell combined to meet Fiona Fullard and Sheila Whitehead, winning 11-7 in the fifth set to advance to the final.

Ron Winklemann and Henk VanderStoep were equally troubled as they crawled to an 11-9 fifth set win over a very stubborn and diligent Gavin Carrigg and Brian Consodine.

The final saw was another five set epic, with Winklemann and VanderStoep having their noses in front when it counted most.

In the Division 3 singles final, Daniel Stevens cruised through the early rounds, defeating Veronica Raz in the semi’s to advance to the final.

Brae Kelly also advanced through to the final in straight sets, defeating Boun Vannapraseuth to earn his place.

The fancied Stevens took the first set quickly, but didn’t get his own way, going down to Kelly in the second set, but regained control, eventually winning in four sets.

The Division 3 doubles eventuated with Daniel Stevens and Veronica Raz proving too good for runners-up Brae Kelly and Chris Hall, winning in straight sets.

In the final event for the evening, those waiting for the finals entered the ‘Doug Schoer Classic’, where bats were just ply with very thin pimpled rubbers, balls were only 38mm in diameter, and sets were played to 21, not 11.

Schoer is life member of the association who still plays with his bat from 50+ years ago, to which the event was derived from.

In an world of high performance blades, rubbers, adhesive and 40mm balls, 14 players put there hands up to compete.

With a variety of much laughter and great frustration to many, it was Jeff Pollard who managed to float and awkwardly ‘deadbat’ his way to a win over an equally determined and very humorous Gavin Carrigg, winning 21- 18. In a well received event honouring the great man.

The championships begin a busy time for the association, with the junior club championships being held in three weeks, the 2023 Veterans Pennant is in full swing, and also the senior and junior winter pennant finals coming up in the next few weeks as well.

Congratulations: Women’s champion Quynh Cottrell and Helen Procak. Photographs Mark Strini