We’ve passed the half-way point of all the qualifying stages so this is a good time to reflect of the progress of all our teams.
We couldn’t really hope for a much better start, all of our teams are occupying their respective qualifying positions, and two of them, the Women and the Under 28’s are currently leading their events. Lets look at the teams one by one.
The Open team have had a great start, and are currently lying 3rd in their group. They had a reasonably good draw, not too many strong teams in their group, but with only four teams qualifying nothing can be taken for granted, the team will have to keep performing well to get through to the knockout stages. Who are the main threats? Well USA, many times world champions are one, they must be favourites to win the group. The other obvious strong teams must be Germany, who are currently leading the group, Indonesia & Turkey. These four teams, plus England, are currently occupying the top five spots, and I’d say it’s likely that the qualifiers will come from these five teams. Of the other four teams mentioned, England have lost 8 - 22 to USA but have beaten Turkey 24 – 6, witnessed on BBO by many of you this morning. They still have to play Germany and Indonesia. If the team can get good results against these two, and a few big wins against some of the weaker teams, they will be well placed to qualify. Ideally they would like to finish 1st or 2nd in the group, as this will allow them to have some choice of opposition in the first knockout round.
The Women’s team have had a fantastic start, they lead their group by 21vps. They’ve had a good draw and have capitalised on it with eight wins out of nine, most of them by large margins. The main threats in their group would appear to be USA and Italy, currently lying 2nd & 3rd in the group. They still have to play these two teams, so these two matches will clearly be key. The team is very well placed to qualify, but would ideally like to hold onto the top spot, as this as this would allow them to have some choice of opposition in the first knockout round.
The Senior’s team are currently lying 4th in their group, with eight qualifying for the knockout stages, so they too are well place to make it through. The’ve been handicapped by the loss of one of their players, through illness, but have shown much resilience to remain in contention despite this setback. They’ve already played the team who most would reckon are the group favourites, USA, and has already been stated were particularly unlucky to lose that match when a 2% grand slam bid by the opposition very fortunately made. Ideally the team would like to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the group, as this will allow them to have some choice of opposition in the first knockout round.
The Under 28’s couldn’t really hope for much more at this stage, after 9 of their 17 rounds they lead their field of 74 teams in the Swiss. Poland have been leading for most of the way, and the England team beat them in round 7, they then beat hosts China (currently lying 3rd) in round 8 and took over top spot from Poland in round 9 by getting a maximum win against India. There are still some good teams working their way up through the field, as is likely to happen in a Swiss event, but with wins against all the top teams they have played so far, the team will be able to take on these other teams with confidence. Also, since this is a Swiss and there are no rematches, it is comforting for the team to know they won’t have to play Poland or China in any of the later rounds. Ideally the team would like to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the group, as this will allow them to have some choice of opposition in the first knockout round.
The Under 21’s are currently lying 2nd in their group, and with eight team qualifying look very well placed to make it through to the knockout stage. It’s not at all clear who the major threats are, but clearly one if them is France, the current leaders, and England have already played them. Ideally the team would like to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the round robin, as this will allow them to have some choice of opposition in the first knockout round.
Other Home Nations
A very brief round up of the other home nations:-
Ireland are 7th in Group A, Scotland are 13th in Group B, Wales did not enter a team.
Scotland are 10th in Group F, Ireland are 14th in Group G, Wales did not enter a team.
Wales are 10th in Group K, Ireland are 13th in Group L, Scotland did not enter a team.
Wales are 46th, Scotland are 49th, Ireland are 61st.