The best of British table tennis rolls into Halton as the second weekend of Premier British League gets underway.
After a gruelling and pulsating first weekend, all eight sides have a big opportunity to assert themselves in the division as a host of encounters and sub-plots look set to unravel in front of an expectant Cheshire crowd.
Inevitably, shocks and drama will be in abundance as the thrills and spills that have become accustomed with the British League get ready to deliver once more.
A glance at the table shows the league divided into two after the first four rounds of fixtures. However, with changes to personnel amidst, the fortunes of any outfit could change drastically.
Just one point separates the top four sides. Sycamore perch at the top of the league on sets difference, with one of the first weekend’s surprise packages, Greenhouse, hot on their heels. Star-studded Sycamore will welcome back England number five Chris Doran following a return from injury, and he will be joined by the likes of Paul McCreery and Matt Ware in what is a formidable looking lineup for the rest.
As for Greenhouse, they are expected to be without their top player Po Huang Chen for the weekend, meaning Jason Sugrue will be given the burden of representing his side at number one.
Following a flirt with relegation last year, Fusion enjoyed a blistering start to the season, remaining unbeaten in their first four outings and surging up the table into third. The acquisition of Michael O’Driscoll has, so far, proved to be inspirational, and with the impressive trio of Kazeem Adeleke, Lorestas Trumpauskas and Matthew Dodds also in his corner, Fusion will be difficult to overcome once again.
Urban TTC will be confident of consolidating their position in the Premier Division ahead of the weekend. They enjoyed a successful berth in the Premier, and with Hungarian Daniel Schaffer racking in the victories, they look likely to be a tricky opponent for any side.
Barrow quietly went about their business, opening the season with two wins, one of which came over hotly tipped Ormesby. Despite four tough fixtures, the Cumbrian outfit will be confident of picking up more than one victory over the weekend.
The major shock of the first weekend was the performances of Ormesby, who struggled to find form throughout. After amassing just one victory, their chances of claiming the title have somewhat faded. But with Ryan Jenkins leading the lineup, their ability to beat anyone remains unquestioned.
It was a weekend to forget for both Wymondham and Drumchapel Glasgow in Essex, with neither side recording a victory. Something has to give when the two face off on Saturday afternoon, but both will need to amass a number of victories to move away from the threat of relegation.
Written by Matthew Shaw (November 28, 2013)