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   LONG PIMPLED RUBBER CHARACTERISTICS

Long pimpled table tennis rubbers vary widely in their playing characteristics. With so many rubbers on the market (around 76 as at July 2004), it can be difficult to know what to buy. This page gives detailed descriptions of some long pimpled rubbers I have used, in the hope that this may assist somebody (somewhere!) to make a more informed purchase.

Rubbers were tested using a Hallmark Strategy or Butterfly Matsushita blade. Both are excellent blades for defensive or combination play. (If, however, you like to swap rubbers around between different blades, note that the Matsushita has a semi-large head, so rubbers cut to fit standard-size blades will be too small for it.)

Rubbers are listed alphabetically, followed by rankings. The comments and rankings are accurate, if at all, only for the sponge thicknesses listed; changing the sponge thickness will significantly alter the playing characteristics. Feedback on the usefulness and accuracy of this page (or lack thereof) is welcome, and can be directed to my e-mail address: dean[remove the brackets and these words and replace with the "at" symbol this is an anti-spam device}tip.net.au.

A note on interpreting these reviews: How a rubber behaves when you use it depends on how you hit the ball. Different people hit the ball differently, so a rubber that behaves a certain way for me may not behave in exactly that way for you. To that extent, these rubber reviews are subjective. Does it follow that they are useless? I think not. Since your and my ways of hitting the ball are probably roughly similar, the way a rubber behaves for me will probably be roughly how it behaves for you. These reviews can therefore be useful they can give you a rough idea of what rubber(s) would suit your game even though they are somewhat subjective. The only alternative, I think, would be to give up rubber reviews entirely and to replace them with a more objective description of rubbers in terms of pimple length, height, geometry, spacing, hardness, and so on. I am not much impressed by this 'objective' approach. Although a rubber's physical characteristics must ultimately determine its playing characteristics, the interaction among the various physical characteristics is sufficiently complex that, in practice, knowing a rubber's physical characteristics will not tell you a great deal about its playing characteristics. This is why rubber manufacturers actually need to test rubbers (to see how they play), instead of simply selecting the desired playing characteristics from some corresponding list of physical characteristics. So rubber reviews, while subjective, are far more useful than a purely objective approach.



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ANDRO CLOU [BLACK, 1MM SPONGE>

I only had a brief hit with this, so cannot give a detailed review. As with Globe 979, I would recommend it for close-to-the-table hitting and blocking. Chop-blocking against topspin will keep the ball fairly short (though not as short or controllable as Hallmark Super Special). Chops are difficult to control and tend to go long.

BUTTERFLY FEINT LONG II [BLACK, 1MM SPONGE>

Very good spin reversal for chops, on a par with Yasaka Phantom 008. Good 'wobble' on service returns and other shots (about as much as can be expected with the 40mm ball). Good control and consistency when returning serve. Low pushes are harder to do than with, say, XuShaoFa 989 or Stiga Destroyer, but with practice can be done consistently. Blocking against topspin produces excellent skim/float effects and spin randomisation. Lifting against topspin can be done consistently. This is therefore an excellent all-round rubber. However, it does feel slightly more 'springy' than average, so those who prefer the feel of a 'dead' rubber should probably look elsewhere (e.g., TSP Curl P1R). (Note on technique: blocking with Feint Long II seems to work best when done as close to the bounce as possible; moving the blade from left to right or right to left at the same time as blocking as if to impart sidespin assists variation.)

DONIC PIRANJA 2 ORIGINAL [BLACK, 1.2MM SPONGE>

I found this to be quite ineffective usable, but not outstanding for anything. The rubber is fairly fast, with almost frictionless pimples. Despite this, spin reversal on chops is moderate at best; so, while chops can be done consistently, they will cause little trouble for the opponent the best you can do is stay in the rally and hope the opponent is not a consistent looper. Close to the table, blocks (which need to be done close to the bounce), pushes, and lifting against backspin (probably the rubber's best shot fast and confusing) can all be done, but there is a distinct lack of control and consistency. The problem seems to lie in the peculiar combination of frictionless pimples with a thicker than usual sponge. The ball will usually sink into the sponge long enough for the ball to be directed where you want it to go. But in other cases, which are annoyingly frequent, the ball seems to slide off the pimples and you miss the shot. The problem is not as severe if you use Piranja on a blade with a 'harder' feel (Butterfly Matsushita, say, has a much harder feel than Hallmark Strategy), but I still can't see the rubber being used very effectively by many people. The overall feeling is of something like a poor man's Feint Long II. Try the latter first.

DOUBLE FISH 1615 [BLACK, 1MM SPONGE>

This all-round rubber is not only cheap but extremely effective! Because the pimples are quite hard, hitting and blocking can be done consistently, often producing an impressive "sink ball" effect (causing the opponent to hit into the net though this effect is less pronounced with the 40mm ball). Yet spin reversal on long-distance chops is excellent (very close to Dr Neubauer Super Defence, and certainly more than XuShaoFa 989 or Stiga Destroyer), making 1615 outstanding for chops as well (although Stiga Destroyer is still probably more effective, since chops with Destroyer tend suddenly to 'die' or 'hold up' when they hit the other side of the table, making it hard for the opponent to loop again; whereas this effect is far less pronounced with 1615). There is a slight lack of directional control on chops the ball goes roughly, but not precisely, where you aim it but longitudinal control is unusually precise: by changing the angle and follow-through on chop strokes, you can control the length of the resulting ball. By using a slightly shorter follow-through and/or bringing the angle of the chop stroke closer to horizontal, you can produce spinny chops that bounce twice on the opponent's side of the table (of course, this is difficult if they loop at you very hard!). There is also some control over spin reversal: a harder chop with a stronger downwards movement will produce substantially more backspin. Pushes with 1615 are consistent, fast and with good spin reversal, often causing the opponent to loop or push long. Attacking against backspin can be done consistently and fast, although spin reversal is only moderate and there is (to my mind) a lack of "touch" or "feel": the hardness of the pimples prevents the ball "sinking in", thus reducing the contact time between ball and rubber, meaning one does not have a feeling of "guiding" the ball back to its intended location (rather, it can seem to "slip off"). Still, one can get used to this you just have to hit the shot confidently and ignore the lack of "feel". Another possible disadvantage is that chop-blocks are difficult to do consistently or with much control: if you are going to block, the movement needs to be forwards rather than downwards. So, if you are used to chop-blocking, 1615 will be difficult to get used to. Overall though, the playing characteristics are as impressive as the price.

DOUBLE HAPPINESS C8 [BLACK, 1MM SPONGE>

C8 plays like a cross between Friendship 755 and Stiga Destroyer, and is very effective close to the table. Counter-hits, so long as you are in position and hit through the ball, are consistent and give decent spin reversal. Blocks against topspin can be done by using a strong forwards movement, although chop-blocks seem to work better: they are more consistent, stay low, and give good spin reversal while slowing the ball down. Hitting against backspin, especially against heavy backspin, is consistent and reasonably fast. As with 755, it is better to use a 'normal' style for hitting against backspin, rather than the 'scooping' style that is necessary for other long pimples (a 'normal' style, for backhand shots, uses the wrist and forearm in roughly equal amounts, whereas the 'scooping' style comes almost entirely from the forearm and involves opening the face of the bat while keeping a straight wrist throughout the shot). Pushes with C8 can be kept low, and produce enough variation to make the opponent hesitate. Chops with C8 give good to very good spin reversal enough to trouble a good looper. However, because C8 is a relatively fast long pimpled rubber, it is really only good for fast chopping. It is difficult to slow the ball down, and it is difficult to control the rally when chopping (since everything happens too fast!). The speed also means chops tend to go long. Despite this, C8 would be effective for occasional or even frequent chops, so long as this is not the focus of one's game. Overall then, C8 is not especially good as a chopping rubber; and most close-to-the-table players would probably prefer Friendship 755 or 837 (since these are slightly better for hitting and normal blocking). But for those close-to-the-table players who like to hit and chop-block, C8 is probably the better choice.

DOUBLE HAPPINESS FOG / CLOUD AND FOG [RED, 1MM SPONGE>

Superbly effective and aptly named, "Cloud and Fog" is one of the best rubbers for close to the table play. Attacking shots counter-hits, returns of serve and lifts against backspin are consistent and give good spin reversal. (As with Friendship 755, it is better to use a 'normal' backhand stroke for these shots: a 'scooping' style lacks the same control and consistency.) The rubber's speed is medium not fast enough to hit many outright winners but the variety of speed and spin generated in combination with a faster forehand rubber can draw many errors; moreover, the amount of spin reversal can be difficult to judge precisely, so the opponent will often hesitate, allowing you to attack the next ball. Pushes can be kept low and flat not a great deal of spin reversal, but good enough to stay in the rally or set up an attack. Blocking against topspin is superb and distinctive. By blocking close to the bounce with a slightly closed bat face, you can make the ball skim back low and flat with an unpredictable degree of 'sink' effect. In a rather contrived sense, the ball really does seem to float like a cloud, and the degree of 'sink' effect is foggy (uncertain). These confusing blocks which are very consistent so long as you are in a good position to hit the shot will draw many errors and hesitant shots from the opponent. As for chopping, Cloud and Fog is designed as an all-round rubber ("ideal for cutting and attacking", the packet says), but seems less effective for chops: although it is slow enough and has good enough control for consistent chops, and although the ball can be kept low enough to prevent the opponent from killing the ball, the spin reversal is only moderate and will not force many errors. Accordingly, the rubber would best suit those who mainly block and attack (perhaps adding chops for variety). Whether you prefer Friendship 837, Friendship 755 or Cloud and Fog is a matter of personal choice; to me these three stand out as the best of their kind.

DR NEUBAUER SCALPEL [RED, 1MM SPONGE>

I tested this on a Butterfly Matsushita blade with Hallmark Dr Neubauer Super Special on the other side. Surprisingly, there was not a great deal of difference between the two: Scalpel feels much the way one would expect Super Special to feel if you added a 1mm sponge. Spin reversal close to the table (on pushes, blocks and returns of serve) is not quite as good as Super Special, but the sponge makes it slightly better for attacking against backspin. Attacking against no spin is possible, though you have to watch the trajectory carefully as a fast attack can easily float long. Attacking against topspin is extremely difficult, as the virtually frictionless pimples mean the ball will go into the net or bounce on your side of the table. Chopping with Scalpel is probably slightly better than with Super Special, as chops tend to stay lower; but spin reversal on chops is only moderate. Overall, both rubbers are good for baffling the opponent, but Super Special seems more effective close to the table. While Scalpel is more effective away from the table, there are probably better chopping rubbers available elsewhere since the spin reversal on chops is only moderate. Scalpel thus has a limited niche: it would best suit those who play close to the table (and who do not need to attack against topspin) but who prefer the feeling of having sponge under the pimples.

FRIENDSHIP 563 [RED, 1MM SPONGE>

Genuine medium pimples (as opposed to medium long), capable of just about anything: counter-hits, blocks, chops, even loops. Very much a jack-of-all-trades, though: good at everything, outstanding at nothing. The pimples are too long for a fast short-pimples style game, yet too short (and with not enough spin reversal) for a standard combination game. Great fun to play with (because of the variety of shots that can be produced), but there is a danger of feeling 'stuck in the middle': most players would probably find it more effective to choose pimples that are shorter or longer than 563.

FRIENDSHIP 755 [BLACK, 1MM SPONGE>

Like 837 (see below), 755 is outstanding for an attacking long pimples game. Passive strokes say, holding the bat out and hoping for the best will have little effect, but active strokes, primarily counter-hits and blocks, are consistent, fast, and with reasonable spin reversal. By combining fast attacks from the 755 with fast attacks from a normal reverse rubber, the resulting variety of spin will trouble and confuse the opponent, often drawing weak shots which you can then kill with a strong forehand. Pushes can be kept low, and backspin can be attacked with relative ease (for the latter, it seems more effective to use a 'normal' style of backhand stroke rather than the 'scooping' style that is necessary with other long pimples). 755 is often described as a defensive rubber, and it can indeed be used for fairly consistent chopping; but this is not its main strength, since spin reversal on chops is only moderate, and chops have a slight tendency to go long (if only because 755 is faster than most long pimples). Thus 755 is most effectively used close to the table. In this respect, 755 and 837 are largely similar. Noticeable differences are that 755 is faster, has a more 'springy' feel (837 feels more 'dead'), and 755 gives better spin reversal on chops (though still only moderate reversal). Also, I think 755 does not work well on a soft, defensive blade (such as the Hallmark Strategy) if you're going to use 755, I'd use at least an all-round blade, whereas 837 seems compatible with all blade types. Overall I prefer 837, but this is a matter of taste. Both are excellent rubbers.

FRIENDSHIP 837 [BLACK, 1MM SPONGE>

This is a delight to use close to the table. Hits and blocks are consistent and effective: so long as you use a positive forwards movement (this requires decent footwork so you can get into position!), 837 will produce a medium or medium-fast ball with a significant 'float' or 'sink' effect (a 'sink' ball is one which, because of the effect produced by the long pimples, tends to sink into the net when hit by the opponent; so, if you give the opponent a 'sink' ball, he or she will have to lift it higher than usual to prevent it sinking into the net). The effect is not magical, of course: the opponent can return a 'sink' ball by lifting it as if it were ordinary backspin. But by mixing 'sink' balls with topspin from a normal reverse rubber, the variety of shots produced will often wear down and confuse the opponent. Pushes with 837 can be kept low, and lifting against backspin will produce a fairly fast ball with flat trajectory and moderate spin reversal. Chops can be done consistently, but produce very little spin reversal and so are ineffective (the opponent will hardly ever loop into the net, will sometimes loop out, but will mostly just loop for a winner). In short, this is an excellent rubber, but must be used close to the table as part of a fast attacking and blocking game in the manner of, say, Carl Prean. Since 837 is easy to use, it is also an excellent introduction for those using long pimples for the first time.

GLOBE 979 [BLACK, 1MM SPONGE>

Somewhat similar to XuShaoFa 989 and Stiga Destroyer (all three are made in China), but faster and less consistent for chopping: chops tend to go long. Low pushes are difficult to do consistently, which to me is a significant disadvantage. Blocks are effective, so the rubber would suit a long pimples blocker. But in my view 989 and Stiga Destroyer are superior for most playing styles.

HALLMARK DR NEUBAUER SUPER DEFENCE [RED, 1MM SPONGE>

These almost frictionless long pimples give outstanding consistency and spin reversal for medium to long distance chopping as much reversal as Super Special (thus frequently forcing the opponent to loop into the net or push), but chops with Super Defence stay lower. Remarkable control for chopping: the ball goes exactly where you want, and you feel safe aiming close to the lines. Worth trying just for its remarkable chopping properties. But completely one-dimensional. Blocks, pushes and attacks are extremely difficult to do consistently, because (what makes it so good for chopping in the first place) the ball just slides off the pimples, usually into the net. So, Super Defence does exactly what it is designed to do, but not much more. (Note on technique: because the ball can easily slide off the pimples, the chopping action when viewed from side-on needs to be a straight line rather than an arc.)

HALLMARK DR NEUBAUER SUPER SPECIAL [RED, NO SPONGE>

Super Special's remarkable properties make it far and away the best no-sponge long pimpled rubber for close to the table play. Massive spin reversal on all shots substantially more than anything else on the market (except Super Defence, which has similar reversal for mid to long distance chopping). Chop-blocking against topspin which seemingly can be done no matter how much topspin the opponent gives you (Super Special is not much affected by the opponent's spin) produces a short backspin ball that is extremely difficult for the opponent to attack. Backspin balls can be attacked with Super Special by scooping/lifting; this produces a moderately fast topspin or sidespin ball. Very good wobble on most shots, particularly chop-blocks and service returns, while somehow maintaining excellent control. Perhaps slightly predictable given that all it really does is spin reversal; but opponents will consistently fail to realise just how much spin is sent back to them. Not quite so good (though still pretty effective) for long distance chops, as the ball tends to float slightly high. Also slightly boring, insofar as many Super Special shots involve little more than holding the bat out and watching the rubber do its magic. Moreover, attacking against topspin is virtually impossible (the ball will bounce on your side of the table!) a significant disadvantage for some players. But really, Super Special has to be seen (or played with) to be believed; it shows what a good rubber research program can produce. One thing to consider, however, is that many players have found Super Special to lack durability: the pimples begin to break off fairly quickly. For such an expensive rubber, this is a significant disadvantage. (Note on technique: Hallmark and Dr Neubauer each produce a very short video demonstrating various techniques with no-sponge long pimples. Well worth watching if you are not sure how to use such rubbers effectively.)


Update: Owing to the split-up of Hallmark and Dr Neubauer, Hallmark Dr Neubauer Super Special is not ITTF-approved after June 2004. Hallmark now produces a new version, titled Hallmark Super Special, which aims for the same spin reversal with greater durability.
JOOLA FAKIR [BLACK, NO SPONGE>

According to Joola, reviewing Fakir is impossible: "This rubber can't be described it has to be played!" Er...yeah. That wouldn't just be a cynical marketing exercise, would it? Anyway, Fakir is somewhat like Dr Neubauer Super Special slow, with fairly frictionless pimples but with less spin reversal, more spin randomisation and much less control. As with Super Special, chop-blocking against topspin will, when done properly, produce a short backspin ball which the opponent cannot loop. The backspin on these chop-blocks is mostly very heavy, but there is a fair degree of unpredictability: some of the time the chop-block will produce a ball with medium or light backspin. This unpredictability is an advantage for the Fakir user, but the price is that control is lost and consistency is difficult to develop (far more difficult, say, than with Super Special). Returning spinny serves with Fakir produces excellent "wobble". Scoop-attacking against backspin can be done, but the spin reversal is only moderate and the speed is slow (you can hit hard, but consistency is lost); the same applies for pushes (which, in addition, can be difficult to keep low). As you would expect, attacking against topspin is virtually impossible; so if the opponent is sending weak topspin balls to the Fakir, you will have to be content to play a weak chop-block or else twiddle and hit with the other side. Long-distance chopping can be done with reasonable consistency, but the spin reversal is only moderate (not enough to force the opponent to push). Occasionally, however, the rubber will produce, of its own accord, a heavy or no-spin chop, drawing errors from the opponent. As with Tibhar Grass Special 3000, the feeling when using Fakir is that you don't quite know where the ball will go (directional control is somewhat lacking) or what spin it will have on it when it gets there. Accordingly, it may be just as likely to upset your rhythm as that of the opponent. In short, Fakir is a slow, low-control, spin randomisation rubber with excellent spin reversal on but only on close to the table chop-blocks. It could be very effectively used close to the table if you are prepared to spend the necessary time getting used to it (which, I think, would be quite a while months or years). In any case, Super Special would still be more effective close to the table. I would not recommend Fakir as a chopping rubber, since spin reversal on chops is only moderate.

STIGA DESTROYER [BLACK, 1MM SPONGE>

In my view the best all-round rubber. Destroyer gives excellent spin reversal on chops: at least as much as 008, and nearly as much as Super Defence or Super Special. The effectiveness of chops is increased by the fact that the ball, when it hits the opponent's side of the table, will often 'die' or 'hold up'; that is, it will suddenly lose momentum. This loss of momentum, combined with the spin reversal, can make it difficult for the opponent to loop again: a tired, hesitant or lazy loop against Destroyer will usually go into the net. The rubber also seems to reward good shot-making: a positive chop with a strong downwards arm movement will produce excellent results against virtually any topspin ball, but a lazy or negative chop will be ineffective. This I think encourages a good chop style. Closer to the table, blocks with Destroyer produce very good spin reversal, and are reasonably consistent. Small chop-blocks seem to work best, hit before or at the peak of the bounce (you must be in position and chop-block positively, though, or else the ball will float high and be killed); quasi-sidespin blocks in the manner of Feint Long II are inconsistent. Lifting against topspin is consistent, and the balls produced are confusing for the opponent (especially if you use both the forward scoop and the sidespin scoop read this page for a description). Pushes stay low, with good spin reversal; this can force the opponent to loop out or push high. Highly recommended for those who mainly chop away from the table, and for those who play close to the table with a focus on lifting and chop-blocking. About the only disadvantage is that counter-hitting with Destroyer is hard to do consistently: one or two counter-hits in a row is about all you can expect. (Rumour has it the 1.5mm sponge version is outstanding for blocks and counter-hits, but I haven't tested this myself.)

TIBHAR EXTRA LONG [BLACK, NO SPONGE>

I only had a brief hit with this, so cannot give a detailed review. A few things to note, however. First, the name is misleading: the pimples are not "extra long" at all, but medium long 1.5mm x 1.5mm. Second, as a result, there is not much "wobble", and only moderate spin reversal (even with no sponge). Third, attacking is possible, but will produce a flat/"sink" ball of slow to moderate speed rather than confusing spin; hence opponents will not be overly troubled. Fourth what is perhaps both a strength and a weakness the rubber is slow, steady, predictable and controllable. Thus it is best suited to players who prefer a consistent, away-from-the-table chopping/retrieving game with very occasional attacks. The lack of spin reversal means blocks and chops will not set up many attacking opportunities (because the opponent will not be forced to push); and the lack of speed makes it unsuited to fast, close-to-the-table attacks.

TIBHAR GRASS DEVIL [BLACK, 1MM SPONGE>

Again, I only had a brief hit with this, so cannot give a detailed review; but two things were clear. First, it is outstanding for attacking against backspin: any backspin ball can be lifted/scoop-attacked hard, consistently and unlike the rather gimmicky Grass Special 3000 with good control. Grass Devil would thus be outstanding for close-to-the-table play. Second, however, it is not very good for chopping. With most long pimpled rubbers, the ball, when you chop, will bounce on the opponent's side of the table and then "die" or "hold up" that is, it will fairly suddenly lose momentum. It is this sudden reduction in momentum which, in conjunction with backspin, can make it difficult for the opponent to loop again. But Grass Devil doesn't do this: the ball, after bouncing, continues travelling at much the same speed (that is, from the opponent's perspective the ball "comes through" quite quickly), making it easy for the opponent to loop again and so rendering one's chops largely ineffective.

TIBHAR GRASS SPECIAL 3000 [BLACK, 0.5MM SPONGE>

Very good spin reversal on mid to long distance chops almost up to Hallmark Super Defence. Frequently produces fast, very low, very spinny chops deadly to anyone bent on looping everything. Lifting against pushes (i.e., scoop attacking) can be done with reasonable consistency. Designed to be unpredictable on most shots, and is entirely so, especially on blocks. This causes much trouble for the opponent, but the cost is a very low degree of control; this can make your own game erratic, perhaps annoying you as much as the opponent. Indeed, it is difficult to use Grass Spezial 3000 for more than one or two blocks or pushes in a row; it is just not consistent enough. So, an excellent rubber if your main goal is to break the opponent's rhythm. But not so good if you need control, consistency and rhythm of your own.

TSP CURL P1R [BLACK, 0.5MM SPONGE>

This is an excellent all-round rubber. Compared to equivalent products from other manufacturers, it has a fairly 'dead' (as opposed to 'springy') feel. Perhaps as a consequence, it gives excellent control on return of serve, and, so long as you are in position, you can chop against heavy topspin without the ball sailing too high or long. Spin reversal on chops is fairly good, and can be very good to to outstanding if the chop action is strong and the timing is spot-on. The rubber is not as 'forgiving' as some others the margin for error on chops is lower so you need good positioning and timing in order to chop effectively (for better players, this won't be an issue; for those of us who have our 'off' days, it can be more of a problem). Hitting and blocking can be done with reasonable consistency. Hits are effective, since the level of spin reversal is unpredictable for the opponent, whereas spin reversal on blocks is more predictable and only moderate; a 1mm sponge would probably have as much spin reversal and better consistency for hits and blocks alike. Pushes against backspin can be kept low, and lifting against backspin can be done consistently, although in both cases the spin reversal is moderate to good rather than outstanding. Overall, P1R is not particularly deceptive, but it is versatile, reliable and effective. It is best suited to all-round or away from the table play; the 'dead' feel is a matter of individual preference.

XUSHAOFA 989 [BLACK, 1MM SPONGE>

Remarkably versatile medium long pimples with slightly 'dead' feel. Chopping against topspin gives a consistent, fairly low chop with good spin reversal. Blocking, chop-blocking and counter-hitting against topspin will produce an excellent floating/skimming effect (though counter-hitting is hard to do consistently). Backspin balls can be lifted to give a confusing topspin ball. Unusually for long pimples (and a decisive advantage), pushing is consistent and the ball can be kept very low; this often forces the opponent to loop out or push high. Disadvantages: (1) 989 does not produce much 'wobble' or spin randomisation hence is more predictable and easier for opponents to deal with than some other long pimples; and (2) spin reversal on chops, while good, is not outstanding hence forcing the opponent to push (so that you can attack) can be difficult at higher levels of play. Overall though, 989's versatility, consistency and pushing ability make it outstanding for all-round play.

YASAKA PHANTOM 008 [BLACK, 1MM SPONGE>

Good consistency and very good spin reversal for medium to long distance chopping. Control is reasonable. Can also be used for consistent blocking and counter-hitting, although this can leave you vulnerable, as blocks and counter-hits produce little backspin and little skim/float effect (making them easier for the opponent to kill). But throwing in the occasional surprise block (after a couple of chops) would work well. Pushing consistently with 008 is difficult, which in my books is a significant disadvantage. But if you can get around this, 008 is very effective. (Note on technique: for blocks, close the face of the bat more than you would with other long pimples.)



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RANKINGS

For an away-from-the-table game (mid to long distance chops, mixed with occasional blocks, pushes and attacks), I would rank the above rubbers roughly as follows:

Stiga Destroyer

Double Fish 1615

Butterfly Feint Long II

TSP Curl P1R

XuShaoFa 989

Double Happiness Fog / Cloud and Fog

Friendship 755

Yasaka Phantom 008

Dr Neubauer Scalpel

Hallmark Dr Neubauer Super Special

Double Happiness C8

Hallmark Dr Neubauer Super Defence

Joola Fakir

Tibhar Extra Long

Tibhar Grass Spezial 3000

Friendship 563

Donic Piranja 2 Original

Tibhar Grass Devil

Friendship 837

Andro Clou

Globe 979

For a close-to-the-table game (blocks, pushes and attacks, mixed with occasional away-from-the-table chops), I would rank the above rubbers roughly as follows:
Hallmark Dr Neubauer Super Special*

Friendship 837

Double Happiness Fog / Cloud and Fog

Friendship 755

Dr Neubauer Scalpel*

Tibhar Grass Devil

Double Happiness C8

Double Fish 1615

Stiga Destroyer

Butterfly Feint Long II

Joola Fakir*

XuShaoFa 989

Globe 979

Andro Clou

Friendship 563

TSP Curl P1R

Donic Piranja 2 Original

Tibhar Grass Spezial 3000

Tibhar Extra Long*

Yasaka Phantom 008

Hallmark Dr Neubauer Super Defence [but note the no-sponge version would probably rank much higher>

* Rubbers marked with an asterisk have no sponge and/or have virtually frictionless pimples. These rubbers cannot be used to attack (or block aggressively) against topspin. So, if you want to attack against topspin, think of these rubbers as being at the bottom of the list.
For what it's worth, the closest I have come to an 'ideal' combination for my style (kind of a bad version of Joo Se Hyuk) is: a Hallmark Dr Neubauer Strategy blade, with red RITC Friendship 729 (2mm Japanese sponge, glued with Butterfly Millennium Chack) on the forehand, and black Stiga Destroyer (1mm sponge) on the backhand. This gives an excellent balance between looping and chopping. The disadvantage is that 729 (at least the Japanese sponge version) is apparently not well suited to speed-gluing, since the last seven or so sheets that I have used have begun to bubble (that is, the rubber has begun to separate from the sponge) after speed-gluing about three times. So, unless you are rich or sponsored by Friendship (I wish I were!), a similar rubber with better manufacturing quality (e.g., Globe 999) may be a better choice

: ҹ Hallmark (kitty123 ) [19 .. 50 8:57] ( IP A:125.24.53.243 X: )
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