Iona Dryden and Jamie Powell offer us their insider day-by-day view on the EuroSixes tournament.
Friday morning started early with a women’s rehab club led by Rich (Strength & Conditioning) and Andrew (Physio). Our two women’s teams, GB Red and GB Blue, then headed over to the tournament venue. After a squad meeting, mobility, and a walk-through in the sun we had our first group games.
GB Red were up first against England U23. After a slow first quarter, the team kicked into gear and were hustling hard for turnovers and burying shots at speed, coming away with a 20-8 win. Over on pitch 2, GB Blue took on Spain. They played with speed, discipline, and plenty of assisted goals. GB won 24-3.
The sun came out for us in the afternoon which called for a beach trip and a recovery swim. Then a game of Spike-ball fiesta created some healthy competition. Following a team meeting and dinner we were ready for sleep ahead of a big Saturday of games.
After an early wake up call, both teams met for a pairs stretching session led by GB White captain Tom Bracegirdle. After a quick breakfast we headed out for the first day of games.
GB Red were up first competing against Germany. The boys were ready and put on a clinical performance to win 27-10. GB White were up next and were keen to also put on a good show. They played Belgium with a display of speed and discipline that took them into an early lead. They didn’t let up and with break after break won convincingly 35-0.
GB Red returned to the hotel for some recovery in the outdoor pool while GB White played their second game against the newly formed European Team. Riding high off their previous game and after a dominant performance, with a star turn from Hal, GB White won 23-2.
GB Red organised an exhibition game against U23 England. GB Blue put on a strong performance against Germany in their opening game of the day, executing plays and rides finishing on 26-6. GB Red produced a slick performance against Belgium with plenty of crowd-pleasing finishes. GB Blue’s final group game was against Team Europe. They finished with a strong 17-1 win. By this stage our teams were really starting to deliver on our key areas of focus: working hard for each other, moving the ball fast, looking for assists and utilising the Sixes rules to great effect.
After a busy morning it was time for feet up, re-fuel and recovery swims ahead of the evening semi-finals.
GB Red performed well against Germany in their semi-final. They showed impressive defensive moves and won 26-2 with some beautifully creative goals. GB Blue were up against England U23 who played with speed, aggressive turnovers and efficient finishes. However, GB Blue pulled through when they needed it most to win 23-7.
The result? An all-GB final for the women!
It was a brilliant day. We finished up with a much deserved team dinner on the beach and celebrated Chess Gray’s 25th birthday.
We were early again for our separate morning stretch sessions. GB Red tucked into a big breakfast to set them up for the three games ahead!
GB Red displayed great teamwork in their first game against Portugal. Portugal struggled to break down the defence and GB Red won 25-5.
Next up Switzerland. This was the biggest test so far in the tournament. With Switzerland’s average player height of 6ft 5in GB Red needed to come out fast and strong. After exhibition of ball movement, speed in the attack and strong one on one defence, GB Red won 21-5.
GB White team played an exhibition game against Germany at a blinding pace and won. They started to utilise new tactics in both the defence and attack.
GB Red played the European Team next in the semi- finals and finished the day on a high with a score of 24-7 and a place in the final. The team headed back to the hotel for some recovery and food. GB White faced Switzerland in the other semi-final and had a slow start in the first quarter. However, they lifted their game and showed some fantastic creative and efficient goal scoring to win 18-5 and secure a place in the final against GB Red.
Our teams woke with some serious energy for what was about to be a great day ahead. After a pre-breakfast swim at the beach for our early birds, we enjoyed our final feast at Hotel
Energize (can we come back soon?!) The tone of the day across the squad was set during a relaxing pool-side mobility session, thanks to Rich. The GB Blue vs. GB Red final was at 1pm. We caught the final half of men’s final which was full of elite skill, speed and passion for the Sixes game that we’re all truly loving. Congrats GB White on a hard-fought win!
Our warm-ups were looking sharp and both teams were pumped and ready to perform. GB Red came out fast from the first whistle scoring three in quick succession. GB Blue stayed calm and quickly put points on the board through work-rate on the ride and calm possession, really utilising the 30-second clock. Penalties came fast in the 2nd quarter and at one point saw a 3 v 3 situation. The pace of the game was fast. Both teams continued to show moments of pure magic; proving just how exciting this sport is to watch, let alone play. GB Blue entered the final quarter a couple goals up forcing a few wide shots to turn over the ball and maintain their lead and take gold with a tight 14-11 win!
The final really showcased elite Sixes lacrosse from both GB Red and GB Blue – congratulations to all and thank you to our coaches and to British Lacrosse for giving us this opportunity to compete together.
For now, all eyes on are The World Games – here we go Team GB!
Although both teams stretched out together there was excitement rather than hostility.
Both teams had a game plan that needed to be executed. The first quarter began and Pomfret was first on the board. GB White performed with exceptional speed in transition and were precise with their shooting. Scarpello brought GB Red team back into the game with some incredible dodging and shooting but GB Red struggled to find the net. The fast pace of the game showed just how exciting this new format is.
GB White pushed transition and found a good rhythm in the attacking end utilising the full 30 second shot clock. Hunns looked incredibly strong assisting multiple goals and creating some amazing goal scoring opportunities. After a hard-fought game, GB White team capitalised on their athleticism and game management ultimately taking home gold 21-11. Congratulations to GB Red and GB White for a great performance.
The journey so far as a British Lacrosse athlete has been extremely exciting with both teams working exceptionally hard. A massive thank you to Resilient Nutrition for keeping us fuelled throughout the tournament. Thank you also to the organisers of the tournament. We enjoyed every minute and would love to return in coming years!
All eyes are now set on The World Games 2022!