The GB Under-20 Men’s team finished the HandGaia 2019 tournament in Portugal with a creditable 5th place in the eight-team tournament.
The team played three pool games, losing their opening encounter 22-25 to Alto do Moinho. This was followed by a tough encounter against hosts Gaia, which GB lost 14-21, although playing well at times. The final pool game saw another close defeat as GB went down 22-23 to Mamede.
Their fourth place in the group stages put them on course for a quarter-final against hot favourites, and eventual winners, Porto. GB had been improving with every game and gave Porto a real run for their money, eventually going down 18-24.
GB’s first placement match was against Balenenses and they continued to show real fight as they held off their opponents for a narrow 24-22 win. Their final game, for the fifth place, was a re-match against Alto do Moinho and GB avenged the opening day defeat with a solid 29-23 win.
GB U20 Men’s Head Coach Chris Mc Dermott commented: “This week presented an amazing development opportunity for our players as they prepare for future EHF and IHF competition. It was the first time a lot of these players had competed together, so there was a steep learning curve at the start of the week. The fact that they adapted so quickly and forged such a strong bond on and off the court is a massive credit to the group of players we have.”
Goalkeeper Eion Neale was praised for his excellent performance throughout the tournament, while the presence of Aaron Bradley-Shankar and Jeremy Hirel, who were both representing GB for the first time, showed the fantastic depth of talent the team has in this age group.
McDermott went on to add “I would like to express our thanks to the organisers at HandGaia, who looked after us so well through our time in Portugal.”
GB v Alto Do Moinho 22-25
GB v Gaia 14-21
GB v Sao Mamede 21-23
GB v Porto 18-24
Placement matches (5-8)
GB v Balenenses 24-22
GB v Alto do Moinho 29-23
Eion Neale – Bucks Bullets
Euan Forbes – Tryst 77
Nate Green – Warrington Wolves
Ed Irving – Warrington Wolves
Josh Plumridge - Nottingham
Adam Latter – Carshalton Titans
Josh McDaid – NEM Hawks
Jeremy Hirel – Metropole Poissy (France)
Jack Lees – EK’82
Sebi Hesk – Warrington Wolves
Elliott Buckle – Bucks Bullets
Miguel Vega Harwood – Colegio Vetusta (Spain)
Charlie Fletcher – NEM Hawks
Derry Asante – Carshalton Titans
Tyler Gillborn – Carshalton Titans
Craig Yule – Tryst 77
Arron Bradley-Shankar – London GD
Head Coach: Chris McDermott
Team Manager: Charlie Clarke
Physio: Bob Bramah