British League Round 1 Preview
Post date: Sep 07, 2019 3:56:11 PM
Ravenscroft Senior British National League Preview 2019/20 Season
The local table tennis season does not officially kick-off until Wednesday 25th September for the Island’s leading players, where the first fixtures from the top flight of the Doric Insurance sponsored leagues will take place. Despite this fact, competitive action commences this weekend when the opening round of fixtures in the Senior British National League will be taking place.
With the backing of Ravenscroft, the Island’s top players have flourished in this competition and the first team compete in the National A1 Division this season. Following the overhaul in structure a few seasons ago into a pyramid system, National A is the third highest behind only the Premier and Championship Divisions, the latter in which the Sarnian team were narrowly relegated from last season. The high standard of competition gives great opportunity for the Guernsey players to test themselves against some high quality players in Britain. Meanwhile the second team is competing in National C1.
For the first time in 3 seasons both teams will be competing in the same venue, the Halton Table Tennis Centre located in Widnes.
The Island’s leading side is missing the best player in the Channel Islands, Garry Dodd, as the UK based Sarnian is taking the opportunity to compete in the higher Championship Division for Nottingham Sycamore I. Despite the absence of Dodd, the majority of the squad is formed from the remaining 3 players from the male quartet that were part of the team that won Island Games Gold in Gibraltar earlier this summer. This is headed up by current Island Men’s Singles champion Lawrence Stacey and also contains twin Josh Stacey and Ben Foss. The final spot is occupied by the Gibraltar Island Games coach Alex Robinson, who himself is a leading Island player that has also been part of Island Games gold medal winning teams in the past.
Ravenscroft I will be competing against 7 other teams in National A1 and it’s impossible to gauge the strength of the other teams prior to the commencement of the season due to the unknown registrations that each club has made. One such team that is in their Division however are venue hosts Halton I, who will likely be strong contenders.
Ravenscroft II are a much changed side this campaign and are led by Ryan Bichard, who is joined by Matthew Casey, Jamie Ferbrache and Ryan Gilson. The youthful side have all competed in the local 1st Division and British League previously and will be keen to impress and earn some strong results.
The side will also be competing against 7 other teams in their Division and it’s also difficult to know the strengths of each team. One familiar team is Isle of Man however and the Guernsey side are used to competing against them in various different competitions, including British League, in the past.