"After a week of hard work, Team GB returned from Oviedo in the north of Spain on Tuesday. Throughout the week they took part in some of the most competitive and exhilarating horseball games ever seen, with the difference in standard between the countries becomingly less noticeable in recent years and making the competition even fiercer.
With a smart new kit provided by Polypads, the team set about the task ahead and were drawn in a group against Spain and Belgium, who are ranked second and third behind France, which made their qualifying games extremely difficult. The team played really well in both games and were narrowly being beaten 10-7 by the Belgians and then beaten again on the second day by the strongest Spanish side ever.
The third day of the competition saw the team playing Germany and a very convincing win of 15-2 to Team GB, which gave all the players a great boost in confidence going into the final day which saw them playing Germany for a second time to decide on their final position in the tournament. After another win against Germany on the final day, Team GB finished fifth overall.
This year also saw the introduction of a Chinese team. Their coach has visited the GB coach Dave Pettifor several times in the last year to gain qualifications and training methods in order to set up his own team in China. The Chinese team played mix and match games with players from the other countries and were a huge success with all those taking part saying it was a great experience. The new Chinese players showed lots of potential and are definitely going to be great competitors in the sport in the future. They have also invited GB over to China next year to play some games and develop the sport further, which will be a great experience for the players.
France remained unbeaten champions after narrowly beating Portugal by just one goal in the qualifying games. They then went on to beat Spain in the final game of the tournament with Belgium taking the bronze medal and Portugal a close fourth. At the end of the competition, captain Matthew Worthington received a trophy on behalf of the GB team for being the fairest team throughout the competition with the least penalties given against them. This is a great achievement and all our players were very proud to have been awarded with a trophy to show that their determination to play a fair game is paying off. A big well done to all the players and coach Dave Pettifor and thanks to everyone who travelled with the team and made it all possible.
Arkenfield stables in Nottingham are holding an under 16’s “have a go day” in the Ocober half-term holidays so anyone interested in having a go at horseball get in touch on the email address below for more details. With the final competition of the season fast approaching the training schedule for the teams is not letting up. Next weekend is the National Open Championships at Arena UK Grantham and there are over 30 teams taking part so it is set to be a very busy competition. The games are held all day Saturday and Sunday 10th and 11th October and entry is free, so anyone who is interested in coming along to watch the event or to learn more about playing or starting their own club please contact me at [email protected]. So whether you want to learn a new discipline or simply cheer along your favourite, everyone is welcome and I hope to see you there! Don’t forget to cheer for South Causey if you do come along - we would love the support."