UK Racketlon

Written by James Pope

Earlier this week, we released our Junior and our Senior teams who will be competing in Vienna in the Junior & Senior leg of the 2022 World Team Championships.  The final leg of the 2022 World Championships will see the event head to Graz, and it is here that our Open teams will compete.  As a reminder, all selected players will be contacted by the UK Racketlon Selection Committee in the coming days via e-mail with updates regarding kit and other requirements.  But now let us turn our attention to the Open Squads, GB 1-4 who will compete in the World Cup, Nations Cup and Challenge Cup on the 25th & 26th August.

 

 
The Challenge Cup (left), Nations Cup (right) and World Cup (centre), two of these are ours!

Great Britain 1: Best - WORLD CHAMPIONS (2019), 2019 Worlds - WORLD CHAMPIONS
Team: Leon Griffiths (Captain - 32 Caps), Dan Busby (17), Luke Griffiths (23), Calum Reid (5), Duncan Stahl (27), Izzy Bramhall (17)

Fishcher (Ger) serves, Bramhall (GB) returns deep, Fischer keeps in it, see's an opening to come to the net, Bramhall takes her chance, backhand down the line, Great Britain are World Team Champions for the first time! GB have entered every World Team Championships, from finishing 4th and last (as England in 2002, defeated by Judy Murray & Scotland), but despite a podium appearance in 2004 (Bronze) we rarely threatened the big guns in the big matches.  However that started to change in 2017 (European Championships), agonising defeat in the semi-finals to Denmark who were inspired on the tennis court. 2018 was more heartbreak, more inspired tennis, this time from the Austrian's saw GB finish 2nd, losing a maiden final.  In the 2019 final, there were those fears again, the Germans had been inspired on the tennis court to win their semi-final.  However, the team remained calm, cool and composed and our first World Team title was claimed. 

Five of that team return, Izzy, Duncan and Dan need no real introduction, while Calum is looking for a World Team title to complete the set of World Titles (and put him into the rarefied air of a winner of four World Titles (Singles, Doubles, Mixed Doubles and Teams).  Core of this team is likely to be our specialised Racketlon TeamGB (Griffiths Brothers).  Luke and Leon have developed at pace, Luke holds the Men's Doubles (with Leon) and Mixed Doubles British National Titles while Leon is the singles British National Champion and will be taking on the Captaincy for the first time.  Can this team achieve a second piece of history, and become the first GB team to defend the World Team Title? 

 

Great Britain 2: Best - Nations Cup 1st (2013, 2016, 2018, 2019), 2019 Worlds - Nations Cup 1st
Team: Alex Du Noyer (Captain - 19), Matthew Davidson (9), Matthew Haynes (Debut), James Langworthy (8)

Comfortably our most successful Open team, the GB2's have won the second tier title on four previous occasions and in Graz will be looking for title number 5, and three on the spin in Graz.  As they look to achieve this world first in the Nations Cup, they will be captained by Alex Du Noyer, a stalwart of this team (17 of his 19 caps coming for GB2).  He is joined by Matthew Davidson a product of our junior development conveyor belt, these days causing grief to our established Men's A players! James Langworthy brings his energy and vibrancy to the side, while Matthew Haynes comes into the squad and will make his TeamGB debut in Graz.  

 

Great Britain 3: Best - Nations Cups 2nd (2019), 2019 Worlds - Nations Cup 2nd
Team: Johnny Bispham (Captain - 17), Sam Barker (Debut), David Bennett (15), Jack Bishop (19), Jon Spinks (13)

Perhaps the finest testament to our strength in depth came in Leipzig, when having won the World Cup, our GB 2s and GB 3s faced off in the final the second tier Nations Cup.  The 2022 side is chocked full of experience, with captain Johnny Bispham probably already working out every statistical probability for the tournament ahead.  Johnny is joined by David Bennett, Jack Bishop and Jon Spinks who know their way around the GB 3 side having all previously represented this team.  In fact Jon is should know his way anywhere, having recently completed a cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats.  Sam Barker comes in to make his Team GB Debut, probably one of the hardest fought for debuts in Racketlon history.  Having overcome a dire period of injury (including playing left handed to be able to stay involved), Sam has returned to fitness and been in stellar form with titles on the UK Tour and an Elite Mixed Doubles title at the IWT London Open in 2021.  

Great Britain 4: Best - Challenge Cup (5th), 2019 Worlds - Challenge Cup 5th
Team: Joel Durston (Captain - 8), Peter Barton (Debut), James Trueman (Debut), Will Gregson (9), Cameron Leighton (3)

Joel Durston has featured in all 3 previous outings of the GB4 side (although his kit hasn't always made it); and ascends to the captaincy in 2022.  Joel will be joined by two TeamGB debutants in Peter Barton and James Trueman, both rewarded for strong and consistent UK Tour performances since the return from the Covid break.  Meanwhile Will and Cameron come in to make their Open team debuts, having previous represented TeamGB in the Junior ranks.  Of course, should GB4 seal the title we may get to see some more of this from Will's dad, the infamous Dancing Lee Gregson

GB Ladies - Matilda Parslow (8), Susie Dilloway (Debut), Kim Hay (Debut)
Each of our GB2, 3 and 4 sides will have one of the above ladies as part of their sides, however a final decision will be made later in the summer. Matilda has 8 caps already from her appearances in the 2018 and 2019 Nations Cup winning GB 2's team.  Both Kim and Susie are making their Team GB debuts in Graz, but both ladies bring bags of experience with them.  Kim of course faced top squash player Alison Waters in the 2019 London Open semi-finals, while Susie has won 2 titles on the UK Tour this year (and 5 in total) and won the Women's Doubles British National Title back in April this year; as a result neither lady is likely to be phased by the experience!

GB Reserves - Oliver Barton (Debut), Cherisse Lau (2), Alexandra Ogram (4)
While each squad contains some injury redundancy within them, we are also naming some travelling reserves who will be available to fill in should we pick up a late injury near the event.  All three of Oliver, Cherisse and Lexi will have played in Vienna so will be more than ready to step in, if required.