Road to Worlds - GB U23 Open
The GB U23s Open squads’ road to Toronto 2013 started in mid-October 2012 with invitational trials followed by several rounds of call-backs over the following months culminating in the 26 man strong squad being announced mid-March. The squad is incredibly experienced with a lot of the gents coming up through the GB U20 and U17 programs, alongside playing at the highest levels with their club teams for many years.
The squad has been enjoying monthly training weekends where we have been bonding as a team both on, and just as importantly, off the pitch. This has been accompanied by a demanding fitness regime to be followed outside of training.
Most recently to the time of writing the squad entered the Fog Lane Cup, a club team invitational tournament run as a warm up for the Tour season. The weekend was invaluable experience for the squad and was topped off by beating the second ranked club team in Europe; Chevron in the semis and Fire of London in the finals to take home the trophy. Next up on the schedule is Tour 1 “London’s Calling” being held in St Albans where a host of strong domestic and foreign teams await the squad, including several who will be looking to get their own back after losses at Fog Lane.
Looking towards July and Toronto, the squads’ mentality has always been that anything less than gold will be a disappointment. After the GB open squad enjoyed their highest ever finish in Japan last year with a Silver medal, the squad is keen to prove that this was not a one off and that Great Britain can represent at all levels.
Pinpointing one or two players to look out for on the squad would be impossible with well over half the team playing for one of the two top club teams in the UK: Clapham Ultimate and Chevron Action Flash with the rest of the teams’ club representation limited more in geography than in talent. However three members of our team represented Great Britain in Japan at the WUGC last year with Callum Smith and Alex Brookes bringing home Silver medals with the Open squad and our Captain Sam Bowen playing for the mixed squad and bringing home 5th.
We have a host of experienced coaches guiding us towards Toronto headed by Liam Kelly who represented GB last year in Japan and has brought a strong work ethic and years of experience to the table. The whole squad is incredibly excited by the chance to represent their country and can’t wait for July to show Toronto what GB’s capable of. To hear more about our progress find us on Twitter - @GBOpenU23.