The GB Women’s team took silver at the EliteSport tournament in Hungary, their first competition in two years.
The team under new coaches Paul Dempsey and Zoran Lukac, and goalkeeper coach Radek Kozaczuk, included many players who have come through the GB age group programme. However some familiar faces were still present, including Swiss-based back player Kathryn Fudge, a 2012 Olympian.
After three days preparation in Baltonfured, the team took part in the EliteSport Cup, an eight team round-robin competition.
Storm Judge and Athalia Ibanga each scored five in GB’s comfortable opening 30-11 win against Dunakeszi. On day two GB had to battle hard in a low-scoring game to beat BVSC Zuglo 16-13, with Kathryn Fudge scoring seven. This was followed by an easier 30-14 win against Ukrainian side Donetsk, where the damage was done in an 18-6 first half. Kate Heginbottom scored an impressive six goals.
GB continued their winning run on day three with a 23-15 victory over Austrian side Dornbirn Schoren, after trailing 8-9 at half-time. Lydia Edgar led the way with five goals, while Gabbi Howarth added four. It was an easier run in the afternoon when GB beat Athienou of Cyprus 28-10, Becky Barnes top scored with five, while ten other players also scored.
Day four saw the deciding matches as GB first took on the only other team with a 100% record. XVI Reuleti made the better start, racing into an 11-8 half-time lead, and although GB battled hard in the second half, they could not turn the score round and went down 15-19, despite an impressive 9 goals from Kathryn Fudge.
GB’s final match was played without Kathryn Fudge who had to return to her club in Switzerland. GB needed at least a draw to take second place, but struggled early on against Miskolci VSC who took a 10-6 lead at the break. GB showed great character to battle back and win 15-14, with Gabbi Howarth scoring five goals.
GB finished the tournament with the best defence, conceding just 96 goals in seven matches. GB’s Aniko Hommonai was named the tournament’s best goalkeeper, while Kathryn Fudge was seventh top scorer with 28 goals, despite missing the last match.
Coach Paul Dempsey commented “We are really pleased with the players’ performance in this first competition together and see plenty of good things to build on. I wold also like to thank kinesiologist Ray Thompson who had a busy time, but kept the players going through the gruelling schedule”.
GB v Dunakeszi 30-11
GB v BVSC Zuglo 16-13
GB v Donetsk (UKR) 30-14
GB v Dornbirn Schoren (AUT) 23-15
GB v Athienou (CYP) 28-10
GB v XVI.ker KMSE (HUN) 15-19
GB v Miskolci VSC (HUN) 15-14
Becky Barnes – NEM Hawks
Ellie Thompson - Stroud
Storm Tkai Judge - Cambridge
Kathryn Fudge - LC Brühl (Switzerland)
Beth Wilbraham - NEM Hawks
Lydia Edgar - NEM Hawks
Charlie Lillie - Somerset
Gabrielle Leese - Zrinjski Mostar (Bosnia Herzegovina)
Aniko Homonnai - London Angels
Maddie Edwards - West London Eagles
Leonah Ellis - NEM Hawks
Gabbi Howarth - Peninsula
Jermaine Knott- Peninsula
Annaleigh Knott - Olympia
Megan Johnson - NEM Hawks
Kate Heginbottom - NEM Hawks
Camilla Jessen Salter - Saeby HK (Denmark)
Athalia Ibanga - NEM Hawks
Coach: Paul Dempsey
Coach: Zoran Lukac
Goalkeeper coach: Radek Kozaczuk
Team Manager: Paula Newnes
Physio/Kine: Ray Thompson