UK Racketlon

Written by James Pope

UK Racketlon are really quite delighted to announce our teams for the 2022 World Team Championships to be held in Vienna (Juniors & Seniors, 19th to 22nd August) and Graz (Open categories, 24th to 28th August), for two main reasons. Firstly there is always immense pride in sending our teams to represent UK Racketlon and the UK Tour.  But secondly, these are our first teams since the Leipzig tournament in 2019, with what has passed in the recent years it is wonderful to be back in a position to be competing in the first World Team Championships since that event. 

Now, given the specialness of this tournament, we have decided to drip feed you all our teams.  Tonight, we will be revealing our Junior teams in the U21s, U18s, U16s and U13s; with seven teams in total.  On Wednesday we will be revealing our Vets teams, before concluding with our Open teams at the weekend including those selected for GB1, the first UK Racketlon players to defend a World Team title.  However, all this is to come, for now let us focus on our Junior Teams!

 

Great Britain U13’s: Best -  1st (2018), 2019 Worlds (Not Entered)
Team: Daniel Austin (Debut), Charlie Hill (Debut)

Daniel and Charlie will represent Team GB for the first time with both players making their debut in Vienna.  Both players have made appearances on the UK Tour with Daniel picking up a few titles along the way.  They are both the first of a number of our “post-Covid” players who feature in our junior teams, having come to Racketlon since we got the tour restarted in the summer of 2021.  The junior movement in the sport has been growing across the continent in the last year or so, and we can expect this competition to be a cracker; a fantastic debut experience for both of them!

 

Great Britain U16s 1: Best -  1st (2014, 2016, 2018, 2019; 2015 & 2017 European Championships), 2019 Worlds – 1st
Team: Chase Burgess (Debut), Oliver Barton (Debut)

As GB teams go, this one doesn’t know what defeat looks like having featured the big guns of our junior pool over recent years and claimed the titles on all six outings, usually featuring a member of the Griffiths family.  Now though, even Luke has reached an age where is not U16 anymore.  Never fear, UK Racketlon has found some more impressive youngsters to fill these shoes.  First up, we have Chase Burgess, a young man who also doesn’t know what defeat looks like. Since joining the UK Tour, Chase has won the last five U16s titles on the UK Tour, including the 2022 British National title.  He would probably have been six on the bounce at Oakham, but there wasn’t an option so he won the Men’s C instead!  On his receiving end has been his team mate, Oliver Barton.  Oliver has also picked up titles when he can, and often run into Chase at the business end of events, with the boys engaging in some titanic battles.  Just 3 points separated them at the British Championships.  Perhaps useful in the 2 x singles, 1 x doubles format, is Oliver and Chase also claimed the Men’s C Doubles title at the British Championships, useful experience for this pair. 

 

Great Britain U16s 2: Best -  2nd  (2017 European Championships), 2019 Worlds – 4th
Team: Sam Rank (Debut), Raif Fontanelli (Debut)

The debutants keep coming as we reach our U16s second team with Sam Rank and Raif Fontanelli joining forces.  Sam and Raif are another pair of GB juniors continuing to refresh our ranks and pushing their senior team mates (Peter and Oliver amongst them) to keep working and developing on the court. We can be certain that this junior pair will not be over-awed by any of the occasion. 

 

Great Britain U18s: Debut Team!
Team: Cameron Leighton (Captain, 3 Caps), Anant Gupta (Debut), Holly Ranson (Debut)

A debut team for TeamGB as our first ever U18s side heads to the World Team Championships.  The team will be led by Cameron Leighton who made his debut in the U16s 3rd team back in Leipzig in 2019.  While he is getting older, Cam is also most certainly getting better, and he pushed Ross Wilson all the way in the Boys U21’s British National title final back in April.  He is joined in this team by a pair of newcomers who rocketed their way into UK Racketlon.  Anant Gupta is here with some pretty solid family connections, a certain Rakesh Gupta (26 caps) being something of a relation.  Anant however is not resting on his laurels, his personal announcement was to win the Men’s C at the IWT London Open in July 2021; and since then has produced further performances, including almost upsetting U21s champion Ross Wilson at the British Championships (which Ross went on to defend).  It has been an even more recent appearance by Holly Ranson, who hadn’t played Racketlon (or in fact some of the sports) until January this year.  However, despite having to usually compete against the boys, Holly has kept on improving and this development was topped when she won the 2022 Girls U21s British National Title.

 

Great Britain U21s 1’s: Best – 1st (2017 European Championships), 2019 Worlds – 2nd
Team: Luke Griffiths (Captain, 23), Matthew Davidson (9), Cherisse Lau (2) 

In terms of World (and European) Titles, there is no more successful player than Luke Griffiths; having dominated the U16s division for many years.  However, he now has (to the relief of many) moved on past this age group and he will be looking to join brother Leon in having won the U21’s Team title.  He is joined by his 2019 U16s team mate Matthew Davidson and Cherisse Lau (who was a member of this team back in Leipzig 2019).  All three will be gunning for a title they have not yet claimed (and technically, neither has GB, this is the only title we have competed for and not won at World level…)

 

Great Britain U21s 2’s: Best – 4th (2019), 2019 Worlds – 4th
Team: Ross Wilson (Captain, 12), David Bennett (15), Alexandra Ogram (4) 

It speaks volumes for the current U21s group we have in the UK that our second team contains our current Boys U21s National Champion (Ross), a World & European U16’s Team Champion (David) and the former Girls U21s British National Champion & current U21s Junior World Number 1 (Lexi).  Aye, that is right, if a second team can be more stacked I would like you to show it to me.  With a sensational combination of experience and talent, no one, not even GB U21s 1 will be eager to face this trio in Vienna. 

 

Great Britain U21s 3’s: Debut Team!
Team: Ryan Bezer (Captain, 4), Jamie Watkin-Rees (Debut), Bethany Pye (Debut) 

Our final junior team is another debut team, our U21s 3’s.  They will be captained by Ryan Bezer who cut his teeth in Leipzig with the U21s 2’s and will be bringing that experience to support his debutant team mates, Jamie Watkin-Rees and Bethany Pye.  Jamie comes into this team having finished third in the 2022 British Championships; while Bethany claimed the Women’s B singles title at that tournament (and finished second in the Girls U21s).  As a result, both players who unknown to the World Tour will come into Vienna with all the weapons they need to make sure they make some memories. 

So, there we have it, our first seven teams heading to Austria this August.  Good luck to all the players.  All selected players will be being contacted later this week (w/c 13th June) with information on travel rules, hotel bookings and (most importantly) kit! So please keep an eye out for that.  UK Racketlon are also keen to draw on the experience of other players we will have in Vienna for the Junior & Seniors events.  We are hoping that some of our established players will be willing to offer their skills to help guide and mentor these players through their team event, especially given the number of players who will be making their international as well as Team GB debuts.  If you would be interested in supporting our Junior teams, then please do let us know on the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. account.