EUROPEAN U17 CHAMPIONSHIPS - MIERES, SPAIN
Report by Debbie Read
As many of you are aware, there is a development plan in place at National training to prepare players for international competitions. Over previous years, Cottenham has been well represented and this summer Ed Rawlinson and Mark Read were chosen to play for England in the U17’s European championships held in Mieres, Spain.
Preparation started in earnest in the summer of 2015, and over the year the boys have attended many additional training sessions both in England and Portugal. Finally at the end of August, they went to Fiera for a last week of preparation. During this time, they had the opportunity to play not only against local teams, but also a friendly match was arranged against the U17’s Portuguese team. This was a tough match, but stood them in good stead for what was to follow.
A long scenic coach journey through the mountains brought the team to Spain and a warm up session on the rink. Next day saw the opening ceremony immediately followed by our first match against the host nation. This was certainly a baptism of fire and although playing well, Spain went on to beat us 15-1. This wasn’t unexpected and the boys remained in good spirits in preparation for the next match.
Our second group match against Switzerland we thought would be close. Indeed a goal from Mark towards the end of the first half took us into the break down by just one goal at 2-3. However, some unfortunate calls from the refs left Switzerland in a much stronger position and as the second half progressed, the goal difference increased.
We knew that our match against France the next day would be tough but it gave Ed his chance to get his name on the match sheet with a goal in the second half. Although we went on to lose this match 9-3 it was evident that the quality of the teams play was improving with every game. Our final group match against Israel gave the boys a much deserved win and left us in 4th place in our group.
In the final stages we had to play Italy. They had entered the competition aiming for third place and our boys gave them a run for their money. We were just one goal down at the end of the first half. In the second half Mark was blue carded giving Italy a two minute power play bonus. However, it was not Italy that took the advantage during this time, but England who scored. Apparently this is the first time that Carlos can remember England taking an advantage at this time. The match finished with Italy scoring an additional goal winning by 3-2.
This left us in a play off for 7th and 8th place having to play Switzerland once more. The progression in the boys play was evident since their first encounter and at full time the score remained 0-0. This meant the match had to go to golden goal. We survived the first half of extra time and it was impossible to choose between the two teams. However, the second half saw Switzerland score winning the match 1-0. England therefore finished in 8th place out of 10 teams. Spain were the overall winners beating Portugal in another match that ended up going to golden goal.
The experience for both the boys and the parents was amazing and not one to be missed. The cheering from the crowd created a great atmosphere and there was as much competition between the teams of supporters as there were between the teams of players. Cow bells, drums, stamping feet and other instruments could all be heard with each country displaying their flags. The closing ceremony was followed by many players exchanging shirts and lots of photos being taken.
All the matches are streamed live on www.cerh.eu and in October, we will be able to watch as Will Rawlinson and Will Foreman play in the U20’s European championships in Switzerland.