Roy Hodgson, Chris Coleman, Michael O’Neil, Duncan Stahl, Dan Busby, Ray Jordan and Richard Middleton, men all tasked with making big selection calls this summer. However, unlike the first three, Duncan, Dan, Ray & Richard have the far harder job of selecting squads who will head to the Racketlon World Team Championships with genuine (i.e. real) chances of winning their competitions this summer. Today we are proud to announce our squads for the World Team Championships in Copenhagen on July 28th & 29th. We will be sending 8 squads to Copenhagen competing in every category, as once again we are able to demonstrate that UK Racketlon has both quantity AND quality.
With Hungarian invaders, TeamGB Racketlon in prague in 2015
GB I – Elite Division
Hannah Boden, Dan Busby, Jason Granville, Leon Griffiths, Mark Jackson, Ray Jordan, Duncan Stahl & Izzy Tyrrell
A squad that almost picks itself, Dan, Duncan, Leon & Ray all return from the squad who finished fourth in Prague, with the returning (to GB colours) Jason Granville and returning (to full, dangerous fitness) Izzy Tyrrell whilst Mark Jackson is up for winning his first international caps since 2006. The team will be looking for a favourable draw with ambitions to go a step or two further than in Prague 2015. The selectors have taken advantage of the strength in depth to name Mark and Jason in the Elite squad, primarily as cover for Leon. The decision, whilst potentially contentious, ensures that GB II, III & IV can remain as strong as possible.
GB II – Amateur Division
Luke Barnes, Will Coley, Alex Du Noyer, Keith Lesser, James Silvester & Lauren Whiteman
This squad contains a wealth of experience, with all the members having featured in previous international teams. Keith, James and Lauren will all be hoping to add World Team Gold to their European Silver earned in Prague in 2015, the squad is bolstered by the inclusions of experienced and talented players, Luke, Will and ADN.
GB III – Amateur Division
Jack Bishop, Rakesh Gupta, Mark Harris, Ed Harvey, Pete Highmore & Jo Shelley
GB III have already developed for themselves a fierce reputation for winning matches they are not expected too, but this squad selection represents the strongest one yet. Tenth in this class in the 2014 World Teams and sixth in the European Teams in 2015, with this squad they will be keen to push on even further. Jack and Jo remain from the 2015 team, with Mark, Rakesh and Ed bringing medal winning experience to this squad, having all taken home silverware from previous events. Pete Highmore, who blew the Men’s B division away at the British Championships has been selected to make his debut at the 2016 World Team championships, a further dangerous weapon in this squad who will pose problems to the established sides.
GB IV – Amateur Division
Shirley Barre, Johnny Bispham, Joel Durston, Adit Patel, Stuart Rank & James Watkins
A new team for 2016 with FIR President and event host Kresten Hougaard keen to expand the teams events. Johnny & James bring previous Team event experience having featured in Prague 2015 and Wroclaw 2014 respectively. Joel, Adit, Stuart and Shirley have all earned their debuts by impressing over the past 6 months. Despite being a new addition to the GB roster, this squad has all the potential to compete with the very best.
Supporting the rest of GB, the best bit of international team Racketlon!
Joshua Ben, David Bennett & Luke Griffiths
European U13s singles champion Luke Griffiths is joined in this squad by debutants Joshua Ben and David Bennett. Joshua and David are rewarded for their strong performances in the British Championships, were Joshua defeated David in the U16s final. These friendly rivals on the UK Tour have cemented their call ups through strong performances on the main UK Tour. The GB U16s have a tremendous record in recent years, and this squad will be confident and keen to live up to that history.
Hannah Boden, Piers Boden, Leon Griffiths & Alistair Prades
Somehow Alistair is STILL a junior as he appears in yet another junior squad! He is joined by Leon, who represents the rising star of UK Racketlon, able on his day to mix it with the Elite players on the UK and World Tours. Leon is also reunited with Piers, with whom they won double U16 Gold at the 2014 World Team & Doubles Championships in Wroclaw. Finally, Hannah Boden retains her place as the U21s lady, just weeks after retaining her British title. This squad will be hoping to go a step further than in 2015 when they came second to Austria in a tight final in Prague.
Barbara Capper, Jason Granville, Mark Jackson, Mark Steeden, Marc Thornley & Simon Whale
A few newcomers to the GB O45s squad, with 2015 Prague veterans Barbara, Mark S and Simon joined by Mark J, Marc T and Jason. Third in 2014 and second in 2015, the O45s will be hoping to gain “full Marks” and claim Gold in 2016. The selectors found this squad the hardest to pick, with several players missing out on selection who have formed a core of this squad at recent championships. Despite missing Richard Middleton and leaving a few previous members out, the quality of this squad has remained as high as it has ever been.
Mark Johnson, Duncan Marlow, Graham Norton, Neil Rayner & Bruce Shepherd
Our golden squad with three finals in three Team events including Gold’s in 2013 and 2015, the O55s have a formidable record. Mark Johnson joins Prague 2015 veterans Duncan, Neil & Bruce whilst Graham Norton returns to the squad he was a part of in 2014. The toughest record to defend of all our squads, this is a squad who will be eager to show they are more than a match for it.
Good Luck to all those flying the GB Flag in Copenhagen!
A big thank you to Dan, Duncan, Ray & Richard for executing with what is an incredibly tough job. There will be players who are no doubt disappointed to miss out on selection, but we hope that you will all continue fighting for a place at the European Team Championships in 2017. Of course, players not selected are encouraged to enter the World Doubles Championships and hopefully “matchmaker” Busby will weave his magic on ensuring we sort out as many pairings as possible for this event.