Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Thoughts from a Beijing NPC: Michael Byrne (U21s)

There are 18 teams in the U21's and England will start amongst the favourites.

The teams play a complete round robin, and the key is to score consistently well — plenty of 19's and 20's, rather than 25-4 wins interspersed with 7-23 losses. Of course you have to get maximums against the weak teams as well, but a healthy winning record does a lot for confidence and team morale, especially if you have to play a team in the knock outs you have already beaten in the round robin.

Once we reach the knock out stages it is only a short sprint to the final, and the team must aim to keep their nerve, especially if lucks goes against them or they have a few unlucky boards.

England have a talented and able team, and they have put tremendous amounts of work in over the two years I have been in charge. Let's hope it finally pays off.

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