BORDER FORCE: The Lismore team that took out the 2015 Table Tennis Border Challenge at Armidale at the weekend: Back row from left, Ethan Wakely, Jeremy Berghan, Peter McKenzie, Col Gradwell, Sid McDonald, Tony Coronakes, Henning Hansen, Dan Cox; front, Ruth Woodhams, Marianne Dengate.
BORDER FORCE: The Lismore team that took out the 2015 Table Tennis Border Challenge at Armidale at the weekend: Back row from left, Ethan Wakely, Jeremy Berghan, Peter McKenzie, Col Gradwell, Sid McDonald, Tony Coronakes, Henning Hansen, Dan Cox; front, Ruth Woodhams, Marianne Dengate. CONTRIBUTED

Table tennis drought is over for Lismore at Friendship Cup

AFTER the success of the Friendship Cup played at Coffs Harbour last month, Lismore has won the 2015 Table Tennis Border Challenge at Armidale after a drought of 11 years.

Lismore took on the powerful Brisbane and Toowoomba teams as well as the home club in the event, which was first played in 1998.

Contested in three divisions over the weekend, Lismore won 64 matches, Brisbane and Toowoomba 49 each and Armidale 36.

Toowoomba won the tournament on their home tables last year.

Lismore's first division players were Col Gradwell, who played in the inaugural event in 1998, Tony Coronakes and coach Henning Hansen. They won all three team events.

Coronakes beat Armidale's top player Will Fang 3-0 with all games going point for point until Coronakes prevailed with strong spin serves and wide-to-the-backhand topspin smashes.

Hansen managed to deal with the prodigious spin off the elaborate bat of Brisbane player Brian Weiss with a combination of heavy chop and tight top spin. Hansen won 11-9 in the fifth.

The second division players were Marianne Dengate, Dan Cox and Sid McDonald. They went down 7-4 to Toowoomba in hard-fought games but beat Armidale and Brisbane to complete the team win. Sid McDonald's performance, featuring many consistent heavy spin serves, increased his overall Australian ranking by 30 points.

Ruth Woodhams shared matches in third division with Peter McKenzie, Ethan Wakely and Jeremy Berghan.

They defeated Toowoomba on Saturday afternoon in a clean sweep of all nine singles matches and both doubles.

Brisbane went down to Lismore 8-3. McKenzie, a newcomer, beat the highly ranked Armidale player Daniel Ramazani 12-10 in five sets.

McKenzie's backhand flicks, accurate flat ball smashes and steadfast consistency took care of the highly trained junior.

It may have been Berghan's last match for Lismore because he is moving to Narrabri for a full-time music teaching position.

Hansen attributed the Border Challenge win to strong teamwork. He also encourages players to train as much as possible.

He has coaching for all ages on Tuesdays from 7pm at the Oliver Avenue stadium in Goonellabah. New players are welcome.



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