After some excellent results in Poland the boys went back to school for a week before re-assembling for the main event. With Adam Toone’s injury given the thumbs up, the team was at full strength for the campaign.
The draw gave the team a mouth-watering encounter against hot favourites Russia, a daunting second day of two games in eight hours against fancied Bulgaria and inexperienced Switzerland, and a final game plus possible qualification decider against hosts Turkey.
Csaba (Rull, head coach) was keen for the boys to prove to the referees that we were serious contenders in the tournament, so a good performance was vital. The plan was to defend the first play and hit the Russians on the counter, which surprised some of the players.
However, despite a sending out with the very first whistle of the game the tactic worked. There was only one goal in the quarter to Russia and GB were unlucky not to get a decision from the refs.
The game opened up in the second period with the team earning some penalties and extra mans and half time came with the score 5-4 in Russia’s favour. The boys indulged in jelly babies while listening to Csaba’s machine gun instructions at the break.
The third quarter, the key to any game, was Russia’s as they crept ahead and we began to chase the game too hard. The last quarter began 9-4 to the opposition and they continued to dominate the exchanges.
However, GB were not going to lie down and the last five minutes were all ours and we managed to square the quarter 2-2.
11-6 to Russia was not a demoralising defeat and there were so many positives to take from the game. All aspects of our tactics were on song, with solid defensive positioning and good variations of man up.
Dylan Greene was probably man of the match in goal with Jordan Elliot (2), Tom Whiting, Sam Routledge, Adam Toone and James Salt the goal scorers. Special thanks to a large and partisan bunch of parents whose support has been fantastic throughout.