UK Racketlon

Written by James Pope

In a sparkling reflection of the current strength of the Racketlon here in the UK and the success of the UK Tour, the GB Selection Panel (Dan Busby, Ray Jordan, Matilda Parslow & Duncan Stahl) are delighted to announce that a record 14 (fourteen) teams containing 57 players, will be heading to Leipzig for the 2019 World Team Championships (21st & 22nd November 2019).  In 2018, GB Teams won medals in 7 events, with a bronze medal in the O65s, silvers in the Elite and O45s and gold in the Amateur, U13s, U16s and O55s events, and in 2019 the GB teams will be eager to continue their previous successes.  (There were also a host of medals in the singles events too!).  For the selectors to feel confident to enter these teams, is a representation of their faith and belief in the strength of the sport in the UK; a strength that is especially apparent in our entering of an unprecedented four U16 teams and two U21 teams. 

 

Congratulations to all the players who have been selected.  Please note that this event will occur in parallel with the 2019 World Singles Championships (20th-24th November 2019) at the same venue and all players, irrespective of team selection or Racketlon experience are warmly invited to enter the World Singles Championships, entry is now open and event information can be found here.  Finally, all players are reminded that there are events on the UK Tour open for entry for players who want some last minute practise before the World Championships or a chance to test your mettle against our GB players.  All the entry information you require is here

 

Great Britain 1: - Elite – Best: 2nd (2018) – 2018 Worlds – 2nd

Team: Dan Busby (Captain – 13 caps), Hannah Boden (24), Izzy Bramhall (11), Leon Griffiths (28), Luke Griffiths (16), Ray Jordan (21), Calum Reid (5), and Duncan Stahl (23)

Ia thrilling Elite Teams final last year in Zurich, the Austrian’s came from behind to clinch a dramatic victory, leaving GB with silver, however that silver medal was still the best achievement by a GB Elite side at the World Team Championships.  Many of that side from Zurich return, Dan, Hannah, Leon, Ray, Calum and Duncan all playing a role in that search for gold.  Joining them in 2019 are Izzy Bramhall and Luke Griffiths.  Izzy is returning to a side she has played in before, having first played for the GB Elite side in 2011.  Luke is making his debut in this squad, but this is not based on family reputation.  Luke has picked up good wins in Men’s A events in Riga and London so far this year, and also a maiden Men’s A UK Tour title when he defeated Dan Busby to win the Cotswolds Open. 

 

Great Britain 2: - Amateur – Best: 1st (2018; 2016; 2013) – 2018 Worlds – 1st

Team: Alex Du Noyer (Captain – 16 caps), Luke Barnes (20), Will Coley (10), Matthew Davidson (4), James Langworthy (6), and Matilda Parslow (5)

Alex Du Noyer will captain a side chocked full of experience and talent.  Few words are needed to describe the abilities of Luke Barnes, a pedigree well established throughout the Racketlon community.  Meanwhile James Langworthy continues his climb up the GB teams, he played for GB 4 in 2017, GB 3 in 2018 and now debuts in the GB 2 team in 2019.  In comparison, Will Coley is a stalwart of this side, all 10 of his caps have come in this side and he was part of GB 2 winning side in 2016.  The developing stories in this side are its final two members.  Matilda Parslow has been the most consistent woman on the UK Tour over the past 2 years, making the final in every event she has entered, and in 2019 has won a brace of World Tour Women’s B events and debuted in the Women’s A at the London Open.  Finally, Matthew Davidson has erupted onto the scene, moving up from being a junior stalwart to being a threat to players in all grades on the UK Tour.  He claimed a maiden Men's B World Tour title in August at the London Open, having won the Men's C in Malta last year. 

 

Great Britain 3: - Amateur – Best: 4th (2017 Euros) – 2018 Worlds – 6th

Team:  Jack Bishop (Captain – 15 caps), Johnny Bispham (14), Peter Browning (3), Dave Edgar (Debut), Katheryn Schutterlin (Debut), and Jon Spinks (10)

As we reach the GB 3 side, we are still yet to depart from players who regularly feature in the Men’s A on the UK Tour, evidence of the growing strength of the sport in this country.  Captain Jack Bishop, Johnny Bispham and Jon Spinks again need little introduction, stalwarts of the UK Tour and very experienced on the World Tour.  Amazingly, Dave Edgar is the first ever GB player who has a surname starting with E! More pertinently, the Manchester man has only two defeats on the UK Tour this season, to Ray Jordan and Dan Busby.  Peter Browning returns to the squad he made his debut with in 2018, while Kathryn Schutterlin makes her debut, a reward for earning her maiden Women’s A title at the Northumberland Open in June and a third place finish at the British Championships in April. 

 

Great Britain 4: - Amateur – Best: 6th (2016) – 2018 Worlds – Not Entered

Team: James Pope (Captain- 10 caps), Joel Durston (5), Lindsay Farge (Debut), Alex McMillan (Debut), Stuart Rank (3), and David Soanes (Debut)

After a seasons respite last year, the GB 4 team returns in 2019 with James Pope taking charge of the side in Leipzig.  He is once again joined in the side by Joel Durston (and hopefully for 2019, Joel Durston’s kit), while Stuart Rank returns to the GB squads for the first time since 2016.  The remaining three members Lindsay Farge, Alex McMillan and David Soanes are all making their TeamGB debuts at this event, a wonderful opportunity for all three to show what they can do on the world stage in a GB vest.   

 

Great Britain U16s 1: Best: 1st (2018, 2016, & 2014 Worlds, 2017 & 15 Euros) – 2018 Worlds – 1st

Team: Matthew Davidson (4) and Luke Griffiths (16)

Another year, another partner for Luke Griffiths in the GB U16s 1s, this time Matthew Davidson joins Luke as the GB U16s look to continue their domination of this event, which stretches back to 2014.  Both of these players  know how to win, Matthew winning the U16s title and Luke the U21s title at the recent London Open FIR Challenger event in Roehampton, while Matthew is the current British U16s National Champion.  This confidence and winning ability will be important, the Racketlon world will be gunning for this side, due to its historic success, but both these boys will back themselves to be the boys to beat. 

 

Great Britain U16s 2: Best: 2nd (2017 Euros) – 2018 Worlds – 4th

Team: Will Gregson (7) and Will Taylor (Debut)

Will Gregson is a stalwart of the GB U16s 2s, having made his debut in 2017 amidst their famous run to the final and returning in 2018 in Zurich, when they finished a very credible 4th, defeat coming only to the talented Hungarian side who finished second.  For 2019, Will Gregson will be joined by Will Taylor who is making his TeamGB debut, and everyone will be hoping for success for Team Will and of course, some more of the legendary Dancing Lee Gregson!

 

Great Britain U16s 3: Team Debut

Team: Cameron Leighton (Debut) and Freddie Whitfield (Debut)

They may making their TeamGB debuts, but Cameron Leighton and Freddie Whitfield are no strangers to each other, whether facing each other over the net on the UK Tour or joining forces to be the part of the Yorkshire side in the County Championships.  On the UK Tour, the pair have won half of the U16 events so far this year (two each) while Freddie pipped Cameron to the Futures Super Series title.  Such performances have made it impossible for the selectors to not include this pairing in the sides for 2019, and while relatively unknown to the international Racketlon community, they will certainly pack a punch when they hit the ground in Leipzig. 

 

Great Britain U16s 4: Team Debut

Team: Claudia Vincent (Debut) and James Vincent (3)

UK Racketlon has always been something of a family affair at times, whether it is parent and child or siblings, and in 2019 it is “Team Vincent” who join this heritage.  The GB U16s 4s will be a debut in team events for Claudia Vincent, however she is familiar with the podium at World Championships, having claimed bronze in the Girls U16s singles in Zurich last year.  Brother James made his debut last year in the U13s side, winning Gold on that occasion.  This side is another great opportunity to highlight how good the UK Tour is for developing youngsters into the sport of Racketlon. 

 

Great Britain U21s: Best: 1st (2017 Euros) – 2018 Worlds – 4th

Team: Piers Boden (Captain – 7 caps), Hannah Boden (24), Leon Griffiths (28), Cherisse Lau (Debut) and Ross Wilson (8)

If we are talking brother and sisters in Racketlon it is hard to look past the Boden’s.  In 2019, brother Piers returns to the GB squads, 2 years on from his horrific knee dislocation in Vienna and will captain the U21s side on his return.  Piers has been easing himself back into Racketlon and the World Tour and has picked up two U21s World Tour titles in Latvia and Germany this season.  Sister Hannah is the reigning U21 Girls champion and along with Leon (who is reigning U21 Boys champion) this trio joined forces  to win the U21s European title in 2017.  In 2019 they are joined by Ross Wilson, who claimed the U21’s British National Title this season, and Cherisse Lau who is making her debut in the GB squads in 2019.  Last season was the first time this side has not made the podium, so in 2019, they will be keen to get themselves back on the steps!

 

Great Britain U21s 2: Team Debut

Team: David Bennett (Captain – 11 caps), Ryan Bezer (Debut), and Alexandra Ogram (Debut)

Our final junior team is a second U21s side calling on the experience of Captain David Bennett, a World and European Champion in the U16s team event, he now steps up to the U21s team.  He will be joined by two debutants in Leipzig, Ryan Bezer and Alexandra Ogram.  For Ryan, selection in this side is continuing evidence of his development over the past 12 months.  Having won a junior event at the 2018 Staffordshire Open, he has since gone on to win Men’s D, Men’s C and Men’s B events on the UK Tour!  For Alexandra, she has been used battling with the boys on the UK Tour, finishing second in the 2019 Futures Super Series event.  When released on the girls, she came home with the 2019 Girls U21s British National Title

 

Great Britain O45s: Best: 1st (2013) – 2018 Worlds – 2nd

Team: Richard Middleton (Captain – 16 caps), Izzy Bramhall (11), Paul Doney (8), Jon Foulds (6), Jeremy Krzystyniak (6), Simon Lau (3), and Jo Shelley (14)

Champions in 2013 and stalwarts of the podium, the GB O45s are always competitive.  Led by Richard Middleton, a personification of Racketlon in many ways, the side is able to call on some big hitters such as Izzy Bramhall and Jo Shelley, who like Richard have World titles to their names.  The side is rounded out by four men who ooze Racketlon experience, with wins on the UK and World Tours including British National Titles in the Men’s A (Jon), Men’s B (Paul), and Men’s O45s (Jeremy), while Simon has won titles in the Men’s B and Men’s O45s on the UK Tour.  As such, this side will arrive in Germany with an excellent balance and a range of options for all eventualities. 

 

Great Britain O55s 1: Best: 1st (2018 & 2013 Worlds, 2017 & 2015 Euros) – 2018 Worlds – 1st

Team:  Martyn Langston (Captain – 7 caps), Rakesh Gupta (23), Alan Plater (Debut), Neil Rayner (8), and Bruce Shepherd (10)

Four titles in the past six years, makes the O55s one of our most consistent TeamGB sides and they will return in 2019 looking to defend the title once again.  Martyn Langston will return to lead a side alongside Bruce and Rakesh who were with him in Zurich last summer, while the experienced Neil Rayner returns to the side for the first time since 2016.  Joining them is debutant Alan Plater, a relative newcomer to the sport Alan has impressed on the UK Tour with strong performances in the Men’s B to earn his first call up. 

 

Great Britain O55s 2: Team Debut

Team: Duncan Marlow (Captain – 12 caps), Nigel D’Arcy (3), Steve Hall (Debut), Graham Norton (4), and Andy Stenson (Debut)

As with our junior squads, we have a depth of talent in our Vets sides as well, enabling the team debut of a second O55s side, ensuring "double trouble" in this Vets event for their rival nations.  This new side will be led by the experienced Duncan Marlow, with Nigel D’Arcy (2013) and Graham Norton (2016) returning to the GB Teams after a few years away.  The squad is completed by debutants Steve Hall and Andy Stenson who finished fourth and fifth respectively in the Men’s O55s at the 2019 British Championships (Andy also bring experience from running and competing in the Massachusetts Racket Masters event over in the USA). 

 

Great Britain O65s: Best: 3rd (2018) – 2018 Worlds – 3rd

Team: Geoff Jordan (Captain – 8 caps), Peter Arbuthnot (6), and Malcolm Burr (Debut)

Geoff Jordan returns to captain the GB O65s, one of our favourite teams of 2018, and he is once again joined by Peter Arbuthnot.  The trio is completed by Malcolm Burr, who in keeping with the (near) cult status of this side, earned his cult status by accepting a last minute (3 days notice) spot in the 2018 Welwyn Garden City Open, Men’s D event and winning it, earning a place in our 21 point celebratory countdown at the end of 2018.  This much loved side earned a bronze medal in 2018 and will be keen to show the rest of the GB sides how it is done in 2019!

 

There you have it, our largest ever team heading out to what looks like being a sensational World Championships in Leipzig.  Good luck to all the teams and players.  In the lead up to the event we will have previews of all the teams and their divisions once the draws have been completed and you will be able to follow the TeamGB progress on the UK Racketlon Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.