IT was all fun and games at the inter-association tournament when the Bairnsdale and Traralgon Table Tennis Associations went head-to-head on Saturday, May 25, with the latter taking the win.

Despite Bairnsdale’s hopes that the long drive would tire the champions, the intensity of the matches was not dampened.

Traralgon emerged victorious with a score of 56 to 10 in the seniors, and won 26 to 18 in the Keenagers.

All-ages: Keen to win, the Keenagers from Traralgon Table Tennis ensured the win went to Traralgon. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

While Traralgon did secure a clean sweep for most games, 20 games were furiously fought to five sets, but thankfully for Traralgon, it tipped in their favour.

Over the weekend tournament, Traralgon sent six teams of seniors, each with three members.

Games started at 10am and stopped at noon for lunch, with some teams being far behind schedule due to the intensity and long matches. Not long after lunch started, many were itching to return to the court.

Effort: Traralgon’s senior players reached top place against Bairnsdale. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

The team to watch for the weekend was Traralgon’s strongest team, which included Mick Warr, Steve Warr, and Heath Sposato. For those not on the court, all eyes were on the games between them against Bairnsdale’s number one team consisting of Danilo Alburo, Pog Ng, and Brandon Bradley.

The games were so intense that spectators were on the edge of your seat, biting at the bit to cheer for every point landed.

The day ended with Traralgon winning 25 sets and seven matches over Bairnsdale’s 18 sets and four matches.

The crowd was left surprised that Bairnsdale’s Alburo managed to get games from both Warr brothers, who have both played for Victoria.

Steady: Traralgon’s Heath Spasato kept it steady against Bairnsdale’s top player, Danny Alburo (right). Photograph: Katrina Brandon

While it was still a fight to the fifth set, maybe Bairnsdale has some players heading for victory against Traralgon soon.

All of the best section one players at Traralgon landed in Bairnsdale on the weekend. Making up team two, Geoff Lawn, Peter Gomez, and Jeff Pollard demonstrated their strength over lengthy games, but they still wiped the floor, 11 matches to Bairnsdale’s zero. The clean slate suggests that Bairnsdale needs to step up their game to meet the strength of this trio. There are no words to describe how tricky the trio is, but they came out capable of taking most games to four sets and some to just three.

Gearing up for the Country Week Championships, section one was not letting a chance to play go before the big weekend.

Traralgon’s Ian Strong, Trent Strong, and Neil Chilver stood strong against Bairnsdale and almost reached a clear win similar to team two’s, losing only one game. Still, this was an incredible feat, with up-and-coming player Trent Strong showing how much his skills have grown within the last year; all but three games went to three sets. Team three won nine matches (30 sets) over 1 (8).

Stepping up to the challenge, Paul Ryan, Daniel Stevens and John O’Brien made up the fourth team for Traralgon, who became the second team to win all their games. A score line of 11 (33) to 0 (8) would be challenging for the poor Bairnsdale team not to drop their jaws on how impressive the other team was.

While balls were flying, maybe to another team’s court, Traralgon’s team four definitely showed that there was no way they would let down any points to Bairnsdale at any cost.

Bringing in an almost clean win again, team five for Traralgon also proved to show that Traralgon was bound to get the win again. The team consisted of Brian Considine, Gavin Carrigg, and up-and-coming Maya Gomez, who won all but one game against borrowed Traralgon member Sharon Collins, who played for the opposing team for the weekend.

The points leaned to a close one for all sets, but the unbelievable turn of events showed that Traralgon wouldn’t let them win. The results were 10 (30) to 1 (16), with once again a wide spread of games varying from three to five sets, rather than the tough five-set challenge.

The scoreboard reading 7 (26) to 4 (17) Traralgon’s way, team six had a rough gig within the first few single games, lining them just behind the Bairnsdale team.

Former Victorian coach and England player, Allan Cooper and up and coming junior Zach Dennison played well, leading the way in the win.



No limit: Coming back strong, 86-year-old, past Victorian coach and former England player, Allan Cooper, showed no mercy towards Bairnsdale on May 25. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

Feeling the weekend frost, the team’s third Katrina Brandon struggled to breach the combination of spins and smashes from two of Bairnsdale’s players, resulting in losses. No matter, the game was already won by Traralgon by that point, with two games ahead.

With yet another triumph for Traralgon, it’s hard not to wonder: when will Bairnsdale manage to bridge the gap and match Traralgon’s strength? And where? Will Traralgon be beaten in the future on home ground, or will they take the win at the Country Week Championships?