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as someone who played in a team this season with a "funny bat" player, I can confirm that their games are extremely boring to watch on the whole. There are a few exceptions and I don't have a problem with people using them if they want to but it doesn't generally do much to liven up the evening!

Hi Chris - I call it playing against "The Dark Side!!" I too played in another league recently to be confronted by a guy wielding a "funny bat". The thing was, his bat was about as illegal as could be in regards to some of the long pimples missing off of it. When questioned about it, he pulled a letter out of his bag from the ETTA stating the rubber was legal to be used in local league matches although it was banned on the ITTF approved rubbers list!! (He had some weird Neubauer rubbers on it - frictionless LP I think). Surely if its banned at the top level, then shouldn't it be at ours? We're all playing the same game after all. Anyway, this guy had about another 20 bats in his bag - no doubt he had letters saying they were OK too. He even went as far as to say if we didn't want to play him, he'd just claim the wins as it was good for his averages! Frankly I was appalled at his attitude, and it kind of spoilt the evening. I know that not all funny bat players behave in this manner, but to me the challenge wears thin after a few points - if winning through the effects of the rubber rather than natural ability is that important, then I think that maybe I'm in the wrong sport! OK, my technique might be lousy, and maybe my mental attitude is all wrong too, but David is right, the games are usually boring, seeing players belt the ball off the end or into the net for no apparent reason. No wonder our sport hasn't taken off on TV - how could it be explained simply to the layman watching when the majority of players themselves dont have a clue whats going on? Perhaps there is an opportunity for the Jets to provide coaching seminars in how to play against these bats, because its often the unfamiliarity of playing against them regularly that throws the "normal" player off track? Anyway, rant over - off to the TT catalogues to find some "Dark Side" equipment! If you cant beat 'em, join 'em!

"Dont do it Kevin....dont be seduced by the dark side.......the dark side will only bring out the worst in you" Who's the more foolish: The fool, or the fool who follows him?

Ahh this is one of my favourite subjects....I have joked in previous blogs that funny bats should have their own division! Of course it is toungue in cheek and it aimed at those plying their trade with long pimples - especially the Neubauer frictionless pimples. Anti spin and short pimples do add a little colour to the game and teach you how to deliver better shots and understand spin. But long pimples add nothing to our great game!

Kevin who was that player and what league? - I can assure you that many Neubauer rubbers are illegal and local leagues not enforcing it are backward in their administration of their league. If it is not ittf approved they cannot be used anywhere - the one year notice period was up at the end of 2008 season - name and shame this player and the league :)

Perhaps David Edwards can advise us on the issue about legal amount of pimples missing?

I have grown up and developed my game and learnt how to play unusual rubbers and to be honest once you understand what is happening they are easy to play against. This is why you see so few players at the higher end of the game using them...good players understand what is going on - in fact of the top 200 men in England you can count on one hand the number of players using long pimples!

Here is a controversial statement for .....Players who use frictionless long pimple rubbers do so to hide poor technique and lack of ability.....I don't really care what anyone says in reply to that - it is a fact. They are deliberately trying to spoil and destroy technique. That is not good for the game. Of course there should be some variety in style and rubbers but not those who's intentions are to spoil. Are there as many extreme variations in other racket sports? Certainly not in Tennis, badminton or squash....

But here is the MOST important thing.... I have seen a number of promising youngsters made to look foolish and question their own ability when coming up against some talentless old player who just stands there and pushes everything with funny bats. It destroys their confidence! And what makes it worse is the pimple bat player with no ability comes of smiling smugly stating "i'm still too good for these youngsters" No you are not! You are destroying the game. I have seen juniors leave the game after developing nicely.

If anyone wants a free lesson on how to play these people I will be happy to provide you with a free half hour coaching session at queens. I am up there most Tuesdays....Lets spread the word on how to play them so that their advantage of your lack of understanding is reduced or taken away - then they have nothing but a bat they dont really know how to use :)

Long Pimples have their place in the game but it should be in their own division.... :)


Although some of the Neubauer rubbers do not now have ITTF authorisation, this is ITTF rules and not ETTA rules. At the moment, rackets only need to red and black for them to be legal in local leagues. The condition of the rubber i.e. flatness and loss of pimples is a Referee's decision. Again, we don't have Referees at League matches. I don't think there are hard and fast rules on loss of pimples and even if there were, it would depend on where they were on the rubber. I can seek a Referee's opinion, but it could not be brought into the League's rule as it is only an opinion.
Finally, there is a proposition going to the ETTA AGM requiring ITTF authorisation as you suggest. I think this is unlikely to succeed as it would mean that every team would need to be provided with a list of approved rubbers and the list changed twice a year! Note, not all rubbers with an ITTF logo are approved. They were once upon a time but no longer. e.g. Sriver Killer and Feint Long (original). Feint Long 2 and 3 are legal.

Good idea Glen - the only problem is. Is there anyone out there with a 'scumbag' bat willing to put their secrets on the line at the other end of the table during your lesson!!

Barry, Stuart will be my 'stooge' to help - he will allow me to demonstrate but a lot of this is in the theory....I just have to talk people through what is happening. I can then feed for a few minutes with long pimples. They really are not much to worry about.

David, I was under the impression that frictionless long pimples are illegal. The Etta gave everyone a year to change them from the end of the 07/08 season. This gave people who used them time to find legal alternatives. I think the league should seek clarifiaction - I know several players who used that years grace to find alternatives. And surely there is a rule re missing pimples. It cannot be so ambiguous as saying it is the umpires decision as one umpire may view a bat with 20 missing pimples as ok and another might not. Missing pimples from the middle of a surface would affect the behaviour of the ball and would be an unfair advantage.

scumbag bat? lol.
Lime juice is thought to be good at getting rid of pimples. Dave Ed. am I allowed to pour lime juice over an opponents bat?
We should feel sorry for a player who turns up at the match with pimples.How about the blonde who had one on her, er, derriere and was rushed off to hospital with a suspected brain tumour?
'Funny Bats' are here to stay I think, so we must all learn how to play against them and beat them Every time we play em, instead of just moaning like I do. :)
Glen..in my free lesson will you also please teach me how to beat not 'funny bats' ?


I sought some advice on your questions from Colin Clemett, who is a Rules
expert and also Chairman of the ETTA Rules committee. This is what he said:

Long-pimpled rubber is not illegal anywhere if it complies with the
requirements of the Laws in respect of thickness, colour etc. However, it
may not be allowed in competitions played under the Regulations for
International Competitions, such as BL, CC and open tournaments, if it is
not on the current ITTF list of Authorised Racket Coverings.

The Laws specify the density of pimples in terms of the number/sq cm and if
some are missing then this requirement may not be met, particularly as the
pimples are required to be distributed evenly. But, as you say, at a
match, who is to decide? The fact is that a lot of
the Regulations need a Referee to apply them -
behaviour, advice, changing rackets etc - and it would just add unnecessary
difficulties and probably ill-feeling if the sort of decisions that a
referee normally makes had to be settled by argument among the players
concerned. In the case you mention, I cannot see any easy answer, other
than to say it probably doesn't matter if a few pimples are missing as it's
probably more of a disadvantage to the user than to his opponent.

I hope this helps.

P.S. I am much more concerned with coaching people to serve legally
according to the Laws of the game.

Thanks David - the people I know who had to change rubbers were playing County and British League so they were required to change. That's probably why I though they were illegal at local league level. Seems silly that they couldnt use these rubbers at a county match but then could play in Watford league with a frictionless rubber. After all we are playing the same game. Seems they have got it right at the top end but not at local league level. Anyway the more people who know how to play them the better - it really isnt that difficult. Happy to help anyone who wants to know.

Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill!

It has already been pointed out that very few people use 'funny bats' Hence we see them rarely. Its annoying getting beat if its the bat and not the player but they deserve a modicum of praise for learning to use a 'funny bat' And it happens so rarely that I dont really care if a bat is legal or not

Hi, What is the difference in ctonennioval Northern Rubber previously produced and the latest version called Hainsworth Northern Rubber. In a nutshell, is it identical in dimensions and specification apart from the rebranding of the actual name?

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