There is no pinnacle higher in sport than the title of World Champion, and Racketlon is no different. Whether it is Maddie Hinch, Harry Kane, Finn Russell, Jos Buttler, or Leon Griffiths, British sport is chocked full of names giving people belief that such titles could be brought home in the next 12 months or so. With a proud record in the Racketlon team championships, it is a great pleasure for UK Racketlon to announce the teams that will be striving to bring home the glory for Great Britain at the 2018 World Racketlon Team Championships in Zurich, Switzerland.
Great Britain 1 – Elite – Best: 3rd (2004 Worlds, 2017 Euros) – 2016 Worlds: 5th
Dan Busby (Captain) (10 caps), Luke Barnes (16), Hannah Boden (19), Leon Griffiths (24), Ray Jordan (19), Calum Reid (Debut) & Duncan Stahl (21).
After a thrilling (for the Danish or neutral spectator) and heart-breaking (British fan) semi-final defeat in Vienna, the GB1’s picked themselves up to defeat Sweden and claim a first international medal in 13 years. With renewed confidence the side head to Switzerland, hoping to break the mould for GB1 and make a first final. The squad contains a bit of everything, Dan Busby leads the side, having reached a personal high of number 2 in the world on the back of some excellent results since October 2017. He is joined by the scarily talented Leon Griffiths, a player who is on the edge of Racketlon greatness, while Luke Barnes, Ray Jordan and Duncan Stahl bring an unrivalled wealth of Racketlon experience, while Hannah Boden’s upward trajectory shows no signs of abating. Finally, there is a debut opportunity for Calum Reid, a first chance for the former world champion to cut his teeth in international team Racketlon.
Great Britain 2 – Amateur – Best: Champions (2013 & 2016 Worlds) – 2016 Worlds: Champions
Alex Du Noyer (Captain) (11), Jack Bishop (10), Will Coley (10), Jordan Dainty (3), Keith Lesser (16) & Matilda Parslow (Debut).
The same divisional structure that debuted in the 2017 European Championships will remain for the World Championships, but that won’t stop our GB2 team from seeking once again to confirm their status as the best of the non-elite teams. Skipper Alex Du Noyer is joined by 2017 team mates, Jack Bishop, Will Coley and Jordan Dainty, while Keith Lesser returns to the side he won Amateur gold with in 2016. Finally, as reward for her excellent performances on the UK Tour in 2018, in particular as runner up at the 2018 British Championships, Matilda Parslow makes her international debut.
Great Britain 3 – Amateur – Best: 4th (2017 Euros) – 2016 Worlds: 13th
Johnny Bispham (Captain) (10), Shirley Barre (4), Peter Browning (Debut), Pete Frobisher (Debut), James Langworthy (3) & Jon Spinks (7)
Johnny Bispham brings his statistical program to captaincy and will lead a very strong looking GB3 side. They batted well above average to finish fourth in Vienna, and Johnny will be doing all the available maths to try and replicate that again. He is joined in a much changed side by three members of the 2017 GB4 squad and a brace of debutants. Shirley Barre had a heart-breaking European Championships in Vienna, an elbow injury on day 1 of the event saw her withdraw from all events, including the teams. Despite this setback she threw herself into a cheerleading role that spoke volumes about her character. Also in that GB4 squad where Jon Spinks and James Langworthy, and for both, their performances in the team event there have been a spring board. Since Vienna, their performances have seen both players now competing at their highest ever level within Racketlon, regularly competing in Men’s A draws on the UK Tour. Finally, Peter Browning and Pete Frobisher come into the side to make their debuts, both players having produced a number of strong performances on the UK Tour over the past 12 months earning their call ups into the GB team setup.
Great Britain U13’s – Team Debut
Angus Howard (Debut) & James Vincent (Debut)
2018 represents UK Racketlon’s first foray into the U13s team event, and as well as a debut team, we have two debut players, Angus Howard and James Vincent. However, neither player represents a green newcomer to the sport. Both have played a number of UK Tour events, Angus having already collected four U13 or U16s titles in the past year. These boys are both forging a new path for UK Racketlon and we hope they have a lot of fun as they make history for the sport in our country.
Great Britain U16’s (First Team) – Best: Champions (2014 & 2016 Worlds, 2015 & 2017 Euros) – 2016 Worlds: Champions
Luke Griffiths (11) & Ross Wilson (3)
It has been quite a phenomenal few years for the GB U16s squads and this season both teams come in looking for further glory. For our first team, we see a new pairing, with Luke Griffiths being joined Ross Wilson. Luke swept the board in Vienna last year, walking home with every U16 title and this year he will be looking to defend his 2016 World Team title. He is joined this year by Ross Wilson, the current U16 British Champion and one half of the GB U16s 2’s pairing who came second in 2017 in Vienna including their thrilling gumi-arm victory over Hungary. Can they make it a hat-trick of World Titles in 2018?
Great Britain U16’s (Second Team) – Best: Second (2017 Euros) – 2016 Worlds: Not Entered
Matthew Davidson (Debut) & Will Gregson (3)
As mentioned, the gumi-arm against the Hungarians in Vienna last season, gave everyone at UK Racketlon goose-bumps (and some of us funny looks as we loudly celebrated in a Tesco’s…). Will Gregson returns from that nervy encounter and he is joined in 2018 by debutant, Matthew Davidson. Matthew finished second to Ross at the British Championships earlier this year to secure his place in the GB squad. What can our second team deliver in 2018? One thing is for sure, there won’t be a U16s national side taking them easy after their arrival in 2017!
Great Britain U21s – Best: Champions (2017 Euros) – 2016 Worlds: 2nd
Katie Birt (2), Patrick Middleton (Debut), Alistair Prades (11)
It is all change for the U21 side, with three new faces since the side played in Vienna, however with the exception of debutant, Patrick Middleton, Katie and Alistair are returning to the set up. Katie, having won the U16’s World Singles title in 2014 at the Surrey Sports Park was part of the U21 team in the 2014 World Championships in Wroclaw, coming home with a bronze medal, while Alistair, back from a year in San Francisco, brings bags of experience to this squad. Patrick’s inclusion in the squad means that we have the first of two Father-Son pairings in our 2018 squads, dad Richard is of course leading our O45s team. The U21s have always made the podium, and this squad will be keen to ensure that trend continues in 2018.
Great Britain O45’s – Best: Champions (2013 Worlds) – 2016 Worlds: 3rd
Richard Middleton (Captain) (13), Paul Doney (4), Jon Foulds (6), Ed Harvey (10), Jo Shelley (11) & Mark Steeden (7).
It is amazing that it is 5 years since the GB O45s last tasted international success, their solitary title won in 2013. However, they are always close, with a brace of second and thirds in past 4 seasons. Captain Richard is joined by Jon, Paul and Mark who were members of the 2017 squad in Vienna, whilst Ed returns to the squad. Jo Shelley, Ladies seniors world number 4, comes into the O45s team for the first time, having won her previous caps in the GB2’s and GB3’s.
Great Britain O55’s – Best: Champions (2013 Worlds, 2015 & 2017 Euros) – 2016 Worlds: 3rd
Rakesh Gupta (Captain) (20), Steve Kneller (8), Martyn Langston (3), Duncan Marlow (10) & Bruce Shepherd (7)
Like the GB O45s, the O55s are also 5 years since a last world title, however a victory in the 2017 Euros has reinvigorated belief in this side. Skipper Rakesh is joined by three members of that team, Steve, Martyn and Bruce, while Duncan Marlow returns to the squad, adding to their depth of experience. The O55s event is as ever, likely to be a brutal examination of Racketlon technique and physical stamina, one of the most competitive competitions, with three teams (GB, Germany and Hungary) often starting out as near-equal favourites for the event.
Great Britain O65’s – Team Debut
Geoff Jordan (Captain) (2), Peter Arbuthnot (Debut) & Alan Cornish (Debut)
The O65s represent our second debut team for the 2018 World Championships, as Team GB goes looking for further glory in the Vets categories! 11 years after he picked up a brace of England caps at the 2007 World Champions in Rotterdam, Geoff Jordan returns to the national set up and will captain our “newbies” while ensuring a second Father & Son set of squad pairings in this announcement. He is joined by international debutants Peter Arbuthnot and Alan Cornish. It speaks volumes for our sport in the UK, that we are debuting two teams in 2018, both at each end of the age spectrum.