GB Men hold successful trial in Milton Keynes

Tue 20 Mar 2018

Just under 20 UK-based players attended a combined GB Men’s Fastpitch Team trial and training session on Saturday 17 March at John Radcliffe School in Wolverton, Milton Keynes – the first of several training and competition events that will lead up to the European Men’s Fastpitch Championship in June in the Czech Republic.

The day was run by an expert trio consisting of GB Men’s Team Head Coach Kevin Stockford, who is based in Denmark; the Head Coach of the Swedish National Team, Israel Nukunuku; and GB-based former New Zealand pitcher John Brown.

The trial and training session gave the GB coaching staff a chance to see what they have to work with this year in terms of GB-based players.  The aim is to build a core group of players that can be selected for competition events each year and developed to play at the highest possible level.


Preparation

The GB coaches intend to use a pre-season tournament in Belgium at the end of March, the Easter Cup, and then the Vikings Tournament in Denmark on the weekend of 6-8 April, to see potential GB players in game situations.  Training drills will be conducted between games to ensure the players get the most out of their time away.

Other training sessions in the UK are planned for both before and after the European Championship to keep momentum going, with dates to be advised by Team Manager Wesley during the Great Britain Fastpitch League season.

Final selections for the team that will contest the 2018 European Men’s Fastpitch Championship will be announced on 15 April.  This will allow the selected players to get more European competition experience and more skill sessions with the coaches before the European Championship begins.


European Championship

The 2018 European Men’s Championship will be played from 25-30 June in Havlickuv Brod in the Czech Republic.  The team will travel from the UK on 23 June, and will play two pre-tournament warm-up games against the Czech Under-19 Men’s Team on 24 June, the day before the tournament begins.

The GB Team will enter the 12-team tournament – the largest-ever entry for a European Men’s Championship – as the fifth seed, reflecting their finish when the tournament was last held in 2016. 

But with all WBSC World Championships now requiring qualification, GB will have to finish in a medal position to earn a place in the 16th WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship, to be played in Prague and Havlickuv Brod in June 2019, the first time the Men’s World Championship will have been played in Europe.

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