GB at the Beach - ECBU 2013

The European Championships of Beach Ultimate took place in Calafell, Spain in late June, with GB represented in all seven divisions. It was a mixed bag of results, given GB’s current high standards in the grass form of the game, with the only Gold medal brought home by the Open Masters Team. The Open, Mixed Masters and Women’s Masters teams all came in second best, with a token Bronze for the Grand Masters. GB Women just missed out in 4th place, but still managed to play a key role in most of the Finals. GB Mixed finished 7th in what was probably the most competitive Division.

GB Open Masters was a star-studded team, basically the old Catch 22 outfit that had so many close misses at Rimini over the years. A solid O-line revolved around Captain Si Hill, Stu Mitchell, Rick Shipley and Sion Thaysen throwing to Si Weeks, who finished top scorer in the Division with 24 goals. Si and the ever-green D-Machine, Rob McGowan, had been a key part of GB Mixed Masters’ Gold at the World Championships two years back, making them the only European double-gold-holders. With the likes of Daves Barnard, Grayson, Bixler and Moore (DJ) and consistent performances throughout the squad, this team showed themselves to be true Masters of the game and never looked in trouble, the 13-8 crushing of France in the Final being their closest match of the tournament. Could these guys have won the Open Division? Maybe, or perhaps 3rd place?!

GB Open can be proud of their Silver Medal after a very tough final against an impressive Swiss team. Jaimie Cross and Dave Ford had put together a strong mix of youth and experience, with Harry Geller and Paul Sarjeant the stand-out goal-scorers. Despite an early scare in losing to Latvia early on, GB Open stayed focused and improved throughout the tournament, with impressive QF and SF wins against Belgium and the strong Germany team. The Final began with a shaky start in the face of intense Swiss D, and despite a plucky come-back the Swiss held on to win 12-9. 

GB Mixed Masters were close to emulating their glory at Worlds two years ago, but unfortunately lost the final against Germany 11-10 having been 10-7 ahead! Despite this choke, the team was delighted to win the Spirit of the Game Award, a fitting reward for Captain Lucy Byrne and the Bristol core with London reinforcements plus MVP Jon Aaron. Al Harding and Maria Cahill were also stand-out newcomers to the team, while Steve Balls had a great final, scoring at least 3 goals.
GB Women, under the experienced leadership of the GB World Games Captain Bex Forth, were disappointed to finish outside the medals. A very tough sudden death semi-final loss to the Swiss, which could easily have gone the Brits’ way, was followed by another closely-fought loss to Germany. Alize ‘Bob’ Clough, Becci Haigh (also on the World Games Roster) and Liza Bowe stood out in the stats as providing strong support to Bex herself. However, Spirits on the team appeared to remained high throughout the weekend, with their big-mime antics stealing the show on finals day.

The Womens Masters and Grand Masters would probably have p