Sunday, 12 October 2008

Thoughts of a Selector (3)

Hearty congratulations to all our teams for reaching the knockout stages of their events. They have surpassed expectations, a fantastic achievement. Well done from everyone back home to our players, captains and coaches, and good luck in the knockouts.

The importance of attaining a high finishing position in the group stages has become truly evident. Not only does it give the team a choice of opposition in the first knockout round, it also give the team a high seeding, which means if they reach the later stages, they will be kept apart from the stronger oppositions. This certainly appears to be the case for those of our teams that won or came 2nd in their groups.

Open team

The Open team finished 2nd in Group D are were drawn against Bulgaria in the Round of 16. They were quite happy with this draw, there were many more difficult teams they could have been pitched against. It wasn’t easy, no match is at this stage, but in the end they won by a fairly comfortable margin of 45 Imps. They won’t be unhappy with their next draw either, in the Quarter-final they meet Romania, with the prospect of Germany or Netherlands in the Semi-final if they win. Had they not finished 2nd they would have had a much tougher draw. USA, Poland, Italy, Brazil, China, Norway are all in the other half of the draw, I’m sure England will be pleased to have avoided them.

Women’s team

The Women’s team won their group with the 2nd highest VP score, only Germany scored more. They were able to choose their opponents in the round of 16 and were very happy to pick Singapore. It was not a walkover, but the final margin of 53 Imps was comfortable enough. They, like the Open team, won’t be unhappy with their next draw, in the Quarter-final they meet France, with the prospect of Russia or Finland in the Semi-final if they win. Germany, China, USA & the Netherlands are all in the other half of the draw, I’m sure England will be pleased to have avoided them.

Senior’s team

The Senior’s team finished 6th in their group and were picked by Poland in the round of 16. The match was a struggle for a long time but they emerged as winners in the by a comfortable margin of 50 Imps. In the Quarter-final they play Japan, and if they win that they will face Indonesia or the Netherlands in the semi-final.

Under 28’s

The Under 28’s finished 6th in the qualifying Swiss and were picked by France in the Quarter-final. France started the match with a carry-over of 12 Imps. They were unable to overturn this and eventually lost by 50 Imps. Well done to them nevertheless for getting this far, in a field of 74 teams this was no mean achievement. The players will now move into the pairs and the individual events where they have a further chance of glory.

Under 21’s

The Under 21’s won the qualifying group and as a result were allowed to pick their opponents for both the Quarter and Semi-final, a huge advantage. In the Quarter-final they chose the Netherlands. They started with a carry-over of 12 Imps and won the macth in comfort, ny a margin on 74 Imps. They have chosen China for their semi-final opponents who they beat comfortably in the group stages, and again start the match with a 12 Imp carry-over. The other Semi-final is between France & Bulgaria.

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