2. Classic Hardbat Tournament of Gloucester TTA 2005 at 06.08.2005 in Gloucester (England)

Gloucester Classic Hardbat Event

On Saturday 6th August 2005 on a mild summer's day, 48 table tennis players from around the world congregated at the University of Gloucester, Oxtalls Sports Hall, Gloucester, England to compete and raise money for a Gloucester Youth Charity 'InfoBuzz', playing the classical game of table tennis known as hardbat.

Players of all abilities from Germany, France and from around the UK met with one desire - to play the classical game that was predominant during the golden era of the 1930's to early 1950's. It did not matter whether you were a professional league player or a novice, the intention was to raise awareness of the sport, have fun on the day and play in a sporting manner whilst continuing the Gloucester Table Tennis Association's youth work on behalf of table tennis in the city of Gloucester.

The day started at 9am with men, women and junior players packing the wonderful venue of the University, bats in hand, eager to play and compete in the great sporting tradition. Soon, the distinctive and reverberant sound of the pimpled rubber against wood could be heard emanating around the sports hall - this was competition in its purest form, the player reliant on skill learned from many years of practice, not from the equipment being used. Now the games had truly began...

Swiftly into the early rounds, the question on everyone's lips was 'would the top seeds go out in the early rounds', 'were the players who had never picked up a hardbat before the day enjoy their games'. This was quickly answered - everyone gave their all! The top eight seeds were safely through but further suprises were in store. Franz Josef Hurmann, Germany's no.1 hardbat champion was to play Dave Harvey, England's former no.1 veteran in the semi-finals. Franz took the first game and looked assured of a two game lead but this was not to be. Dave fought valiantly back, Franz's game tightening, his stroke play in his own words becoming far more inhibited and nervous. 16-14 and Dave secured the second game to level at one all. By now, Franz found he was being rushed, forced into playing Dave's game, finding himself making easy mistakes. Dave took the third and fourth games to obtain victory.

The open singles finalists would be Trevor Kerry, a renowned player in the modern era that could also play with hardbat and Dave Harvey, making this an all British final. First out of the blocks came the athletic Trevor Kerry, moving decisivly, applying tactics gained from years of play at the highest level, breaking down Dave Harvey's game in the initial stages. Both players exchanged blows in an attacking style of classic table tennis, neither wishing to give into the other, each player ultimately competing. Victory went to Trevor Kerry.

The junior singles finalists saw Dave Harvey's talented son, Michael play against the titleholder Scott Johnson. This was a classic game of attack v defence using the Reisman hardbat rubbers. Scott adopted a tactical game of steady chopping, keeping the ball low over the net, just waiting for the loose return. Michael, adapting well to hardbat, struck hard and fast, moving the ball at acute angles, forcing Scott of the table. It was a joy to watch these two Gloucestershire juniors in action. The third and final set finally gave Scott victory for a second year.

The doubles games went to plan with the top seeds making it to the finals. The mens doubles saw Trevor Kerry and Guy Greening defeat Franz Hurmann and Gordon Stables in another attack v defence game. The junior doubles saw top seeds Sam White and Scott Johnson defeated by brothers Michael and Robert Harvey. The mixed doubles saw Cheltenham champions Dave Harvey & Janie Kirby play against Laurence Shalei and Marianne Willsher. Janie defended solidly as Dave struck the ball to obtain an advantage but this was to no avail. Laurence and Marianne stuck to their game plan of carefully placed pushing and accurate attacking play, working as a team to take a well deserved victory.

Open Singles: Winner - Trevor Kerry
Runner-up - Dave Harvey
Ladies Singles: Winner - Liz Johnson
Runner-up - Marianne Willsher
Junior Singles: Winner - Scott Johnson
Runner-up - Michael Harvey
Consolation: Winner - Liz Johnson
Runner-up - Ray Poole
Mens Doubles: Winner - Trevor Kerry & Guy Greening
Runner-up - Franz-Josef Hürmann & Gordon Stables
Junior Doubles: Winner - Michael Harvey & Robert Harvey
Runner-up - Sam White & Scott Johnson
Mixed Doubles: Winner - L Shalei & Marianne Willsher
Runner-up - Dave Harvey & Janie Kirby

(Source: Mark & Lily Johnson/Gloucester TTA)