The British League bandwagon heads to Tipton as the 2014/15 Women’s British League campaign gets underway.
Six divisions consisting of 36 teams start the season hopeful they can reign supreme in one of the most exciting seasons to date.
Following an utterly dominant title campaign, Ormesby go in search of a third consecutive title in the Premier Division. The trio of Karina Le Fevre, Maria Tsaptsinos and Chloe Whyte were untouchable last campaign, and they have been further strengthened by the signing of Sarah Berge.
Berge, a strong defensive player, reached the semi-finals in the French National Championships in both the singles and doubles earlier this year and has represented France in major competitions in both Europe and Asia.
Their biggest challenge is set to come in the shape of last year’s runners up, Draycott East Midlands. The signing of top talent Abbie Milwain is a major sign of intent, and with her joining forces with Alice Loveridge and Emma Vickers, they have a trio ready to go toe to toe with Ormesby.
The departure of Milwain will undoubtedly be felt by Burton Uxbridge, who go into the season with the remaining three players of last year’s squad, Sophie Neil, Isobel Ashley and Kate Hughes. Nevertheless, they have the ability to make an impact and will be keen to cause upsets on their way.
Halton are another team that has strengthened their ranks with the signing of Jasmine Ould from Byng Hall. Having performed admirably as their number one last year, Ould’s move to the Cheshire club shall see her play predominantly at No 3, a role where she will undoubtedly be a major force. Alongside Commonwealth Games star Gillian Edwards, Nicole Hall and Janay Gibson, they are another side that will be tough to beat.
Meanwhile, promoted sides YHL and Knighton Park head into the season full of optimism having earned their status in the Premier Division. YHL in particular will be hopeful of a successful year having wiped the floor in Division One last time around.
Division One looks set to be one of the tightest leagues with a siege of talent across every team. Following relegation, Byng Hall will be one of the lead contenders to make the jump back to the Premier Division at the first attempt; however Fusion Wags and British League icons Thorntons Table Tennis shall provide a formidable challenge among the others.
Formby’s attempts to surge through the divisions will continue in Division Two. They have yet to be stopped on their road to the top, but will inevitably face their toughest challenge yet going up against the likes of Leeds Ladies, who will be keen to bounce straight back to Division One following relegation last year.
Elsewhere, Sycamore will be hopeful on replicating their men’s team in going for glory in Division Three, while a new-look Division Four side, featuring no teams that embraced the league last season, makes it a difficult one to predict.
Finally, two Halton sides will go head to head in Division Five, with their third and fourth teams locking horns in their attempts to gain promotion.
As always, the Press and Publicity Team will be on hand to provide full coverage of the event. Keep an eye on our YouTube and Audioboom pages, follow us on Twitter @BritishLeague and keep up to date with our website.
Click here to see the WBL programme.Matthew Shaw