Six women’s teams lined up at Northampton, where three places were up for grabs in Division 3 at the beginning of the new campaign. Of those obliged to go through the qualification process after finishing in the bottom three earlier in the 2018/19 competition, Manchester Comets made the most emphatic impact, winning all their three matches.
In the men’s competition at Walsall (five teams battling for three places), Bedford’s long playing membership of the British League – and, before that, in the former men’s National League – is in danger of ending after losing on day one to new applicants Chester, 9-5, and City of Newport, 10-4.
Newport, whose line-up includes such accomplished players as Chris Taylor, Carl Wyatt (Photo: Trevor Hyde) and James Farror – all with BWPL experience in top divisions – also defeated Northampton 15-9. Chelmsford were the other team to win twice – 6-3 against Chester and 9-6 against Northampton.