Nordhorn Brettchen Open 2004 at 05.06.2004

Niko Marek, Andre Schramm and Lars Brinkhaus with double victories in the Nordhorn Brettchen Open

Nordhorn (HH). In the fourth implementation of Nordhorn Brettchen Open, the most important hardbat table tennis tournament in Germany this year, the elite of the German hardbat players took part. So did with Kai Lenters, Norbert Witte and Gernot Metzenbauer not only all previous tournament champions, but with Franz-Josef Huermann from the second division climber TTF Bönen for the first time also the highest playing German hardbat player. By the participation of two hardbat aces specially travelled from the USA - the motherland of hardbat table tennis - and a French starter the Nordhorn tournament was further enhanced.

However, winner in the men I class was none of the favorites, but with Niko Marek a Regionalliga player from the Hanover SV Bolzum, who in his third tournament participation over place 13 (2002) and place 4 (2003) constantly has been working all the way forward. He dominated in the final the two leagues lower playing Kai Friedrich of the TTSG Wennigsen clearly in four games, who in turn had beaten in his first hardbat tournament the big favorite Franz-Josef Huermann sensationally in the quarter finals 3-0. Since Friedrich's teammates Gernot Metzenbauer and Holger Pfeiffer ran in at the third places and Niko Marek/Gernot Metzenbauer moreover defended their doubles title, the tournament ended with a total success of the four players from Hanover, who all play in their league matches with a normal sponge bat and used the hardbat only for this tournament. Finally at places 5, 6 and 7 with Franz-Josef Huermann, Norbert Witte and the Californian Scott Gordon the first "real" hardbat players ran in.

A local triumph happened in the men's II class for the player above the county level by Andre Schramm of the TTC Nordhorn, who won the singles (against Ulrich Schäfer from the East Westphalian TSV Eintracht Belle) and doubles (with his team mate Jörg Jagusch) of this new implemented class. In the youth class Lars Brinkhaus by the Verbandsliga team of SV Olympia Laxten repeated both of his last year's tournament victories as expected in singles (against B-cadet Peter Riekhoff) and doubles (with Daniel Berens from SV Eintracht Nordhorn).

Once again, the organizing SV Eintracht Nordhorn welcomed many new hardbat players, including full carloads of TTV Luebbecke and TSV Eintracht Belle. Also present were four players from TTV Mettingen who after two performed hardbat club championships for the first time competed against foreign hardbat players. A total of 46 active and 10 young players from Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, including five female players, were gathered on Saturday in Nordhorn to determine the best in the game with the "Brettchen" called pimpled rubber bat with short pimples outwards and without sponge. These very simple bats, having been the standard in the table tennis world until 50 years ago, cause a very different game than the today's more technically souped rackets with super grippy and turbo-charged surfaces.

50 of the 56 starters are not using the hardbat in their other table tennis competitions. And yet they could very well deal with these much slower and more or less spinless rackets with which they were able to keep the predominantly older six real hardbat players away from the first places. For the third time in four years, with Niko Marek a hobby hardbat player won in Nordhorn, which should make clear that the hardbat habituation advantage of the real hardbat players in this tournament is rather low, because the here demanded game hardbat vs. hardbat also the Hürmanns, Wittes and Porschs are not accustomed who do not compete in their league matches against hardbat players.

Both in the men's and in the junior's class the players at the lower positions during the tournament had enough opportunity to get used with the hardbats provided by the organizer if needed. This was also supported by the tournament system as in the applied continued elimination system the tournament did not end for the third and fourth of the preliminary round groups and the loosers of the main round, as all positions including the rearmost were determined exactly. And for the real hardbat beginners so the tournament became really interesting towards the end, when they met with the opponents of equal playing strenght - as they were already threatened to run out of breath because of the long rallies.