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 Post subject: 804
PostPosted: 02 Nov 2013, 07:38 
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I wanted to test a new Friendship 804 in black, 1.5 mm (red sponge), to see if it would fit modern defense at mid-distance. I got the rubber from eacheng.net; the new package was new to me and so was the firm red sponge, as I played a red 1.5 mm several years ago that had a soft white sponge.
I glued it on a Donier Defensive blade, which is a classic 5 ply ayous blade, soft, oversized and flexible, designed for classic defense. This type of blade suits (in my experience) chopping with grippy antispin rubbers, as it allows producing considerable spin on your own. The 804 is grippier than most anti's, so I wanted to know if it chopped better, producing more backspin, than my standard anti (Tibhar Ellen Def, 1.5 black). So far I have only tested it against a ball-machine.
I was surprised by the gears the combination proved to have. Passive blocking with a vertically held blade as well as chopping with a horizontally held blade produced very slow balls; active blocking/driving and chopping with a diagonally held blade produced much faster balls. As it is quickly obvious which angle goes with low or with high speed, and so controlling it is easy, this seems to be an asset for a modern defense style. I am not quite sure how much of this was due to the rubber, though, as the blade by itself has a similar sort of effect.
I was also surprised by the ease with which the 804 could be used for shots based on spin-reversal (aggressive push, sideswipe) as well as for shots based on spin-production (drive, smash, chop, push). And it is very easy to keep the balls low - going within an inch over the net.

When I chopped at about 1.5 - 2 meters off the table producing fast balls that stayed very low and landed deep, holding the blade diagonal, there was not a lot of backspin on the ball; even when I concentrated on grazing the ball fast it was just barely decent. But perhaps the pace and the flat trajectory may cause the opponent problems. Spin-variation should cause more. When you open the bat a bit more, and go under the ball more, there is a bit less speed, but a lot more spin.
Holding the bat horizontal, scoop-chopping the ball (it has to be higher for this stroke, so you have to contact it closer to the table, or it has to be a faster ball), seems to make very decent backspin and the ball will still go low over the net. The speed is surprisingly low; the balls would land on the first half of the opponent's end of the table unless I adjusted by sending the ball a little higher over the net - which would probably be less than smart in a match.
Blocking passively is easy; the ball will drop closely behind the net if you do nothing and close your bat just a little bit. Chop-blocking works fine as well and produces decent backspin; keeping the returns short should make them dangerous enough.
Active blocks and drives/hits produced dead balls with good speed.
Sideswipes reversed the incoming backspin in decent topspin, enough to land the ball well on the table even when I used good force to produce fast balls. "Looping" against incoming backspin reversed spin even better and made the ball dip quickly; very nice to cut sidelines with.

I hope I'll be able to try this rubber against a human opponent soon, to see how it works in a match, but it definitely has promising features. It is a bit faster than the Tibhar Ellen I normally use, which is a plus for attacks, and easier to keep the ball low with, but it seems to chop producing less backspin. It certainly is better at attacking topspin and backspin than the Ellen: faster and with more (aided) reversal. Perhaps the 804 is better closer to the table and the Ellen away from the table, but that is just guessing at this point.

To be continued...

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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 02 Nov 2013, 11:08 
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looks like a promising rubber for you

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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 02 Nov 2013, 17:01 
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wlhk wrote:
looks like a promising rubber for you

Perhaps... I'd like to have the best possible combination for mid-distance defense plus attack. Anti works well for that. Due to problems in my back and left leg my moving around the court is limited, so moving far out for chopping and coming quickly in again for a push or a counter-attack is not really an option. The best I can do is move away about two paces, which makes chopping really fast hits or powerloops difficult; as for a good defense you need to be consistent, I came to rely on the Tibhar Ellen Defense anti, which is controlled and slow enough to deal defensively with those fast balls at mid-distance or even closer to the table, but being slow it is not much of a help for counter-attacking. So a faster anti that still will chop safely at mid-distance would be welcome. So far, for a rubber being faster and therefore better at attack it always meant being less safe to chop at mid-distance with. The 804 seems different in this respect, but playing a ball-machine is not at all the same as playing a real opponent, so I have yet to be convinced.
Of course, the other option is to stay close to the table using LP in OX, but I have found that to be less fun.

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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 02 Nov 2013, 18:28 
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I don't think I've seen one with a red sponge... the ones I've seen have the cream colour HRS sponge.

Why did you choose the black one Kees, any particular reason?

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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2013, 01:03 
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haggisv wrote:
I don't think I've seen one with a red sponge... the ones I've seen have the cream colour HRS sponge.

Why did you choose the black one Kees, any particular reason?


I like black in anti rubbers as they tend to be a bit slower than red rubbers and have a bit more grip, which is better for chopping. Perhaps more anti users feel this way, because Stiga Energy Absorber comes in black only. A slick anti would be better in red, I guess.

As for the sponge, I had the feeling this was something new or special when I set eyes on it, but wasn't sure; eacheng often offers rubbers the way they are popular in China: home market stuff. This sponge has the exact same colour as Giant Dragon's dampening sponge used under their anti, but it feels a bit too elastic to be of that kind itself - still, it takes off the speed very well, so maybe it is Friendships version of a dampening sponge.

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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2013, 03:30 
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Kees wrote:
haggisv wrote:
I don't think I've seen one with a red sponge... the ones I've seen have the cream colour HRS sponge.

Why did you choose the black one Kees, any particular reason?


I like black in anti rubbers as they tend to be a bit slower than red rubbers and have a bit more grip, which is better for chopping. Perhaps more anti users feel this way, because Stiga Energy Absorber comes in black only. A slick anti would be better in red, I guess.

As for the sponge, I had the feeling this was something new or special when I set eyes on it, but wasn't sure; eacheng often offers rubbers the way they are popular in China: home market stuff. This sponge has the exact same colour as Giant Dragon's dampening sponge used under their anti, but it feels a bit too elastic to be of that kind itself - still, it takes off the speed very well, so maybe it is Friendships version of a dampening sponge.


How would this anti/sponge do for push blocking?
tOD


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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2013, 03:42 
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Quote:
How would this anti/sponge do for push blocking?

Depends on how you do it and what you want to achieve with it.
There is little or no un-aided reversal, so if you push against backspin with no wrist, just pressing against the ball with the blade half open, the ball will go low over the net without much spin. Placement can be very precise, because the rubber doesn't react to incoming spin if you press with some force (and still not much if you press softly), and the ball dips quickly behind the net, but as the spin is nothing spectacular an able opponent should have no problem flipping this ball. Pushing actively against backspin will produce good backspin, but this is probably not what you would want an anti for.
If you soft-block a topspin ball, it will return short over the net, but again without a lot of spin; actively chop-blocking adds a good deal of spin, because now the incoming spin is actively reversed, but this requests some good touch because the ball will pick up speed if your chopping movement is somewhat forward.
If you're looking for a slick anti, this isn't it. It is about as grippy as a grippy LP, like Feint Long III, on sponge. If push-blocking is your main strategy, I wouldn't advise using 804.

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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2013, 04:47 
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Kees wrote:
Quote:
How would this anti/sponge do for push blocking?

Depends on how you do it and what you want to achieve with it.
There is little or no un-aided reversal, so if you push against backspin with no wrist, just pressing against the ball with the blade half open, the ball will go low over the net without much spin. Placement can be very precise, because the rubber doesn't react to incoming spin if you press with some force (and still not much if you press softly), and the ball dips quickly behind the net, but as the spin is nothing spectacular an able opponent should have no problem flipping this ball. Pushing actively against backspin will produce good backspin, but this is probably not what you would want an anti for.
If you soft-block a topspin ball, it will return short over the net, but again without a lot of spin; actively chop-blocking adds a good deal of spin, because now the incoming spin is actively reversed, but this requests some good touch because the ball will pick up speed if your chopping movement is somewhat forward.
If you're looking for a slick anti, this isn't it. It is about as grippy as a grippy LP, like Feint Long III, on sponge. If push-blocking is your main strategy, I wouldn't advise using 804.



OH pooh, I was looking for something to keep the ball really short with a low throw. I am not looking for reversal, rather the ability to place the ball with precision against strong spin and hard hits.
tOD


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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2013, 05:08 
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Hi guys:

I have 804 1.5 mm on hrs white/cream sponge. To block at the table, you have to close the blade a little, with the top of the blade leaning forwards to the opponent or rather my robot. Just finished two sessions down in the basement with my 804/df 1615 1.0 on instinct, about 60 balls. I can only say that imo the 804 has a higher throw than the df1615 but a lower throw compared to a normal rubber. However theres nothing wrong with close-angle blocking at the table - it's the standard block stroke. In fact if you were coming from a conventional setup and enjoy blocking at the table, then 804 or any lp with sponge would do the trick. I used to block with 1.5 feint soft with a closed angle vs top spin and it was unreturnable. Makes me think about using a conventional setup sometimes but then common sense prevails ;)

Also the best anti that I've ever used is the BEAST. It blocks shorter than anything that I have and should be great for pushblocking but seems that no one here is on that bandwagon...also kind of expensive :(

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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2013, 05:52 
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Also the best anti that I've ever used is the BEAST. It blocks shorter than anything that I have and should be great for pushblocking but seems that no one here is on that bandwagon...also kind of expensive

I have a sheet of 1.2 and 1.8 (I think), but they didn't seem to have a low throw to me. I am using a pen hold style with Talon. I will take a look at it again.
tOD


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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2013, 06:03 
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theOldDuffer wrote:
Kees wrote:
Quote:
How would this anti/sponge do for push blocking?

Depends on how you do it and what you want to achieve with it.
There is little or no un-aided reversal, so if you push against backspin with no wrist, just pressing against the ball with the blade half open, the ball will go low over the net without much spin. Placement can be very precise, because the rubber doesn't react to incoming spin if you press with some force (and still not much if you press softly), and the ball dips quickly behind the net, but as the spin is nothing spectacular an able opponent should have no problem flipping this ball. Pushing actively against backspin will produce good backspin, but this is probably not what you would want an anti for.
If you soft-block a topspin ball, it will return short over the net, but again without a lot of spin; actively chop-blocking adds a good deal of spin, because now the incoming spin is actively reversed, but this requests some good touch because the ball will pick up speed if your chopping movement is somewhat forward.
If you're looking for a slick anti, this isn't it. It is about as grippy as a grippy LP, like Feint Long III, on sponge. If push-blocking is your main strategy, I wouldn't advise using 804.



OH pooh, I was looking for something to keep the ball really short with a low throw. I am not looking for reversal, rather the ability to place the ball with precision against strong spin and hard hits.
tOD

It does exactly that, and very well. Not just my personal opinion: it is the only anti I know of that has been used in the Chinese national men's team, so it worked against that level of player (but of course in the hands of a player of that level); but even if the topsheet probably was the same, the sponge used may habe been different - many Chinese players love to tinker with their rubbers and testing a topsheet with different sponges was and is more or less routine.
I am not sure what the difference is between the version with white sponge and the version with red sponge. As I remember it, the red on 1.5 mm white sponge I used a couple of years ago didn't produce significant spin on it own, as the black one on 1.5 mm red sponge I use now does, but if this is due to the difference between sponges, or the difference between red and black topsheet, or between my chopping abilities then and now, I don't know.

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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2013, 06:08 
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theOldDuffer wrote:
Also the best anti that I've ever used is the BEAST. It blocks shorter than anything that I have and should be great for pushblocking but seems that no one here is on that bandwagon...also kind of expensive

I have a sheet of 1.2 and 1.8 (I think), but they didn't seem to have a low throw to me. I am using a pen hold style with Talon. I will take a look at it again.
tOD

I have some experience playing with penhold (SP); I think the 804 would do quite well on a penhold blade, because it is easy to play actively with it, and you could create confusing variation in pushing (with or without backspin with seemingly the same stroke). Blocking on your backhand side with it, you should probably block actively, though, as this makes the trajectory of the return much flatter. It is great anti to hit with, as well. Easy to kill the pop-ups with.

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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2013, 06:17 
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I have some experience playing with penhold (SP); I think the 804 would do quite well on a penhold blade, because it is easy to play actively with it, and you could create confusing variation in pushing (with or without backspin with seemingly the same stroke). Blocking on your backhand side with it, you should probably block actively, though, as this makes the trajectory of the return much flatter. It is great anti to hit with, as well. Easy to kill the pop-ups with.

I could order some from Eacheng, no problem on that, but what sponge thickness would you recommend? I didn't see a choice of sponge, did I understand you to say that the only 804 with sponge they have is the stuff with dampening sponge?
tOD


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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2013, 17:01 
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theOldDuffer wrote:
Quote:
I have some experience playing with penhold (SP); I think the 804 would do quite well on a penhold blade, because it is easy to play actively with it, and you could create confusing variation in pushing (with or without backspin with seemingly the same stroke). Blocking on your backhand side with it, you should probably block actively, though, as this makes the trajectory of the return much flatter. It is great anti to hit with, as well. Easy to kill the pop-ups with.

I could order some from Eacheng, no problem on that, but what sponge thickness would you recommend? I didn't see a choice of sponge, did I understand you to say that the only 804 with sponge they have is the stuff with dampening sponge?
tOD

The rubber is here: http://eacheng.net/index.php?act=detail&ID=3417
Only thing you can choose is colour and thickness; thicknesses available are 2.2, 2.0, 1.8, 1.5 mm. I am not sure the red sponge going wit this version is a dampening sponge; the thicknesses it is available in would suggest it is a "normal" sponge, especially since 1.0 mm isn't available. The 1.5 mm sponge I have it on is both slow and fast enough when I block and hit with it on an oversized defensive blade; going thicker would probably not add to control, nor make the throw lower, but would not add very much to the speed either (although 2.2 may be significantly faster than 1.5, the difference between 1.5 and 1.8 would be slight, as is mostly the case with chinese sponges); so 1.5 mm on a penhold seems a reasonable choice to me, unless your blade is quite hard and stiff, in which case you might go for the 1.8 mm to avoid any risk of bottoming out. If you plan on hitting frequently, 2.0 mm would make sense. I would think the 2.2 is for attack only, but it would offer a greater range of strokes and tactics; perhaps on a penhold blade it would work out like playing with an allround inverted rubber that doesn't spin well, but is insensitive to incoming spin.

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 Post subject: Re: 804
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2013, 00:33 
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Today I tested the 804 on a Palio Era (All- blade with 3 Ayous plies and 2 Arylate, flexible but not soft) and a Friendship Red Spirit (stiff 7 ply OFF blade). It seemed like a totally different rubber on those. The Era, which is a blade for modern defense according to Palio, but is also a lot like a very controlled allround blade with enough speed for mid-distance loop-attack, made the 804 almost as fast as a 1.5 mm red Friendship 729 inverted rubber I used on the forehand. It still blocked low, but taking the speed off the ball was more difficult than with the Donier Defensive blade. Instead it was very good at attacking: topspin, backspin, sidespin, it didn't matter what, it would hit it all straight back. On the Red Spirit it was an offensive rubber, insensitive to incoming spin, good at blocking and stop-blocking, but better at hitting. Apparently the low speed and flexibility of the Donier Defensive blade did a lot to make the 804 appear defensive to me.
I guess this version of the 804 was designed for allround play and controlled attack, which according to Chineses standards might make it suitable for defenders, as Friendship claims it is.
I still wonder about the red sponge. It is very porous, but elastic; low in catapult, but definitely not a dampening sponge.

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