welcome from Liverpool
You will have read the welcome note from ETTA Chairman Alex Murdoch so, may I most sincerely endorse those remarks on behalf of the Liverpool league management committee.
Just four weeks have passed since the final Grand Prix of the 2010/11 season was staged and here we are opening the new campaign in Liverpool. Few things change in Grand Prix world - we have the same referee, the same top two men's seeds from a year ago (and from the Barnsley GP) while many who travelled here twelve months ago, have again entered together with others, who loyally and enthusiastically support the event are hoping to kick off their season in a positive manner. For the leading players this is the most important in their career for it's imperative they impress selectors and show they are worthy of representing Great Britain in the most prestigious sporting event in the world. Opening the season with a Grand Prix success is what they'll be striving for and although prize money is important, it counts for little compared to the honour and thrill of appearing in the Olympic Games.
Ryan Jenkins opened his account last August in Liverpool, overcoming Gavin Rumgay - the champion here in each of the previous four years - beating the Scotland number one in the final. The Pontypridd man, crowned as the overall GP champion for 2010/11, for a record fifth time, is seeded to meet Gavin in the final with Damien Nicholls (Shropshire) and former Liverpool league player Michael Marsden, now living in Wales, listed at three and four respectively. Eight times Liverpool league champion, Kevin Dolder, a semi-final victim to Jenkins a year ago, is at five. Disappointingly, England's leading men are again conspicuous by their absence although Darius Knight, a recent visitor to the event, did play in the Barnsley GP where he was beaten 3-2 by Jenkins in the final after being 2-0 down. Just four weeks ago, Michael Marsden, playing in his first tournament since his move to the Principality, was beaten by Ryan in the Wales' top 12 final in Cardiff, the Welshman though, will be disappointed to be omitted from the 'Long List1 of players for the Olympic Games squad, having been to most knowledgeable onlookers', the most consistent player in GB, in terms of Grand Prix competition over the last few years whilst claiming impressive victories over a number of top England players in recent times. A regular British League player for Drumchapel, Glasgow and for BTK Warta, Sweden and as the men's reigning champion of this famous tournament first staged in 1929, he'll be out to chalk up another success.
Ladies' singles champion Naomi Owen, was unable to defend her Liverpool crown due to a coaching engagement in Ireland which means a new champion will be crowned and leaves the door open for any one of three players to take the title. Charlotte Carey takes over the mantle as top seed just weeks after being added to the list of players for the 2012 Olympic Games squad, although, like the men's team, she will have to wait until February when the announcement is made.
On behalf of the Liverpool League management committee may I say we are extremely grateful to all, whether player, umpire, official or spectator, for supporting this event, now in its 82nd year and I sincerely hope you enjoy the weekend and after enjoying a successful tournament, have a safe journey home.
Don Davies Chairman L&DTTL