SAM WAS A WINNER TO THE END - 12/9/81
Sam Binstead the "father" of Gold Coast Table Tennis is dead. He died as he would have wanted,
playing competition table tennis at the age of 76. As one of his daughters, Glenys Thompson said, 'He
must have died happy. He won his last game.'
Sam was a Gold Coast pioneer in more ways than one. He was born at Upper Coomera in 1905 and
worked in the area for 41 years, mostly as a timber getter but also becoming involved in bridge-
building and roadworks.
In 1926 he married Olive Stanfield, beginning a 55 year partnership that only ended with his death. In
1946, Stan and Olive moved to Ward St Southport and fourteen years later he began his own
engineering business. One of his cousins, former Gold Coast Mayor, Mr Alan Hollisdale, recalled that
Sam was one of a family of seven — five boys and two girls. He was a fine cricketer, a very good
opening bat and played cricket for Coomera teams until he was 50. He also represented the Gold Coast
in Webb Shield.
Ten years before his retirement from cricket Sam discovered table tennis. He began playing on a big
old kitchen table under his Ward St house. By the early 50's his interest had grown so much that he
was instrumental in forming the Gold Coast's first table tennis association, and he was the first president. 'We used to play out in the old show grounds,' said Mr Hollindale. But the Southport Association finally became strangled by its own growth. The hall became too small for the number of competitors and lack of a suitable venue then caused a sudden decline. The game died but the Binstead spirit didn't.
In 1967 he called a meeting under his house which resulted in the formation of the Gold Coast Table Tennis Association. It began with games being played on tables in individual homes. Then the association acquired some of its own tables and moved to a small church near the show grounds. The growth continued and the association moved to the old Labrador Community Hall. There two-weekly competitions were conducted on five tables, plus coaching for juniors on Saturdays.
The Association became involved in the inter-city rep games and reached the pinnacle of success when it carried off one competition, beating Brisbane in the finals. And right in the middle of it all was Sam, steering his team to success after success in the local A-grade competition and picking up individual trophies along the way. He was one of the first local players to come to grips with the advantage provided by the varying degrees of spin, gained from different bat rubbers. His crafty spin serves, sudden backhand flicks and darting forehand shots him something of a giant killer in the local competition.
An overflow crowd of mourners clustered outside the small chapel at Allambe Gardens for Sam's funeral, providing proof of his popularity and comfort for his window Olive, his three married daughters, Olga, Coral, and Glenys, and his eleven grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.
Another mourner was the reigning Gold Coast A-grade singles champion, Peter Luxton, who was with Sam at his Ward St home at the time of his death.
'He was playing a teams' single game against a player who had beaten him 21-2 the week before,' said Luxton. 'He won the first game narrowly, lost the second and won the third 21-15. He was tremendously pleased and sat down puffing a bit. Then his head went back and he died.'
He always said he would like to die either working or playing the game he loved. Sam got his wish but it was a great loss for Gold Coast table tennis.
Sam Binstead, 1905 — 1981