Press Report - Season Preview 2014-15


Westfield A, the current Premier division champions of the Kettering and District Table Tennis League go into the new season as slight favourites to retain their title with their now established team of Kevin Bird, Roumen Stefanov and Steve Silk eager to take the honours for the third successive year.  However, they are likely to be pushed all the way with Higham and Burton Baptist A both gearing themselves up for an extended title challenge.  Higham, runners-up behind Westfield A for the last two seasons, once again will be making use of a large squad to enhance their prospects.  Richard Elliott, Mark Nannery, Andy Harrison, John Alsop, Andy Trott, Mick Allsopp and Richard Bashford are all registered to play and their strength in depth will ensure that they are in the mix at the end of the season.  Burton Baptist A are also certain to have a say in the title race with their squad from last season of Chris Ross, Alex Aston and Dariusz Gulbicki now also benefitting from David Przybysz's return to the game and they will be hopeful that they can regain the title that they last won three years ago.

The squads of Westfield B, Kettering Town A and Corby Town A all have the capability of upsetting the main title contenders and all three will be hoping of improving on last season's final placings.  A new look Westfield C squad of Sam Wildman, Dan Smalley, Matt Horrocks, Tom Wildman and Carl Leeson will also provide stiff opposition.  Arthingworth will be without Michael Edwards this season but have added Ray Kingston and Dan Appanna to their ranks and they should find themselves finishing in a safe, mid-table position.

The fight at the bottom looks to a battle of four teams.  Harborough Athletic, having been reprieved following last season's relegation,  will battle it out with Burton Baptist B, as well as the two promoted teams from Division one, Thrapston Eagles and Corby Town B.  With Corby Town B having a large squad that includes Kyle Murie, Nigel Hunt, Aaron Moore, Mickey Clarke, Aiden Smith and Guy Sparrow, they will be hopeful that they don't continue the yo-yo tradition of Division one runners-up getting relegated the following season.

Division one looks to be quite an open division but Rothborough Arrows and Harborough Rangers probably go into the season as slight favourites, although Arrow's chances of success will rely heavily on the availability of Julian Marlow.  The new Westfield D team of Scott Dixon, Paul Malpass, Nitin Patel and Chris Alder should also be in the fight at the top of the table.  At the bottom end of the table, Harborough Rovers and Thrapston Harriers are likely to be involved in a relegation scrap but in what will probably be the closest league this season, player availability could be the key to success or otherwise for all of the sides.

Division two, with just eight teams in it, will have a different format to the other division with teams playing each other three times over the course of the season but Rothborough Buccaneers look odds on favourites to take the title with a strong squad of Luke Saywood, David Steele, Tom Ravenscroft, Gareth Lewis, and Ray Harrison.  All five players are inside the top 200 on the latest County ranking list and they are the only team that features players in the top 200.  As always with this division, there is a mix of youth and experience and it is always entertaining to watch the clash of styles between the generations and whether the vast knowledge of the experienced players can outwit the much more energetic youngsters.  With new junior players representing Harborough Imps and Burton Baptist E and with those junior players that made their debuts last season  now a little bit older and wiser, a fascinating season no doubt awaits and it will be interesting to see the progress of the youngsters this season. 

With table tennis in England seemingly on the rise following some strong performances in the recent Commonwealth Games and the Men's team being promoted into the top tier of world table tennis, the recent rebranding of the sport's governing body and their move into their new headquarters in Milton Keynes, this season, both locally and nationally has the potential to be one of the most exciting seasons for many years. 

Author: via Kettering Table Tennis League
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