Revamped Home Countries International

Post date: Dec 05, 2015 6:33:8 PM

GUERNSEY look set to be the inaugural hosts of a new-look revamped Home Countries International Championship in November 2017

Guernsey look set to be the inaugural hosts of a new-look revamped Home Countries International Championship in November 2017.

After a meeting in Ireland last month, it was agreed to merge two current tournaments - the Senior Six Nations and Cadet equivalent - into one combined biennial seven-nation event.

England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are the seven who will compete in six different team events across three age categories. Up until now, Jersey had competed only in the senior event and the Isle of Man only in the junior equivalent, while the other five were full members. After describing the move as 'an incredibly exciting one for all involved',

Guernsey Table Tennis Association president Derek Webb confirmed that his organisation is on course to host it. 'At the meeting we had I volunteered Guernsey to be the first hosts and that is now something that needs to be confirmed by our GTTA committee,'

he said. 'I am extremely confident it will be agreed, there shouldn't be any problems in that regard, but until it is confirmed, I can't say for definite it will be here. 'But assuming it is, we want Guernsey to set the benchmark for other countries to aspire to when they host it because we are renowned for hosting top-quality events.'

The seven nations will each compete in a round-robin format in the six team events, namely a male and female competition in each of the senior, junior (under-18) and cadet (under-15) categories.

It will mean the tournament starting a day earlier than it used to, on a Friday, with the team event taking all of Friday and Saturday to complete. A change to the rules will be that each country must enter two players per event and there is no scope for any team rotation throughout the competition, although a reserve may be named in the event of injury.

Another development will see the rankings and seedings for the singles tournaments - played on the concluding Sunday - decided solely

from performances in the team events. Also, there will be country protection in those straight knockout singles and the only way that teammates will be able to face each other is if they both reach the final.

Upon confirming the changes, Table Tennis England chief executive Sara Sutcliffe said she believes the fresh format will bring added excitement. 'The hope is that this will revitalise the competition and make it more special for the nation whose turn it is to host the event, and also enhance the athletes' experience,' she said. 'Bringing the age groups together will also add a new dimension and give the Home Countries International Championship a higher profile.

Report courtesy of The Guernsey Press Co