Back for a 39th season, Premier British League prepares to take a greater limelight than ever.
With an expanded competition, 28 matches will now take place across Great Britain, and for the first time, Northern Ireland will host Premier British League fixtures, further aiding the expansion and increased profile of a thriving competition.
Over the years, Premier British League has ensured we can expect certain things – incredible shocks, unwriteable drama and unforgettable moments are among the traits we have learned to prepare for.
But one thing is undeniable every year. High-quality table tennis will be on the agenda.
For a second year, the pulsating action of the competition will be on the road up and down Britain. Some of the best players the game has to offer are set to hit halls across the five-month season, with bigger crowds expected after positive reviews last season.
Six months have passed since Drumchapel Glasgow became the first club to win the competition in the new era. But things have changed that will make a defence of the title more problematic than could have been envisaged.
There are new teams, new opponents, new challenges. Following a successful first season under the home and away concept this year’s competition has a new-look, with an additional team included to make the Premier Division an eight-team competition.
Among those is newly promoted Urban, who have earned their passage to the top table following promotion from the Championship.
The quartet of Alim Hirji, Daniel Schaffer, Gergely Urban and Mateusz Mikosz will fly the flag for Urban, whose fight to stay in the top flight has inevitably been damaged by the loss of last year’s key performer, Attila Koszo.
The second new entry in this year’s competition is Belfast-based club Ormeau.
Spearheaded by the talents of former British League winner Paul McCreery, the club from Northern Ireland will prove to be an unknown quantity in a competition that has historically proved so unpredictable in the first place.
Whichever way you look at it, it’s going to be quite a year.
Written by Matt Shaw