Great Britain’s senior men’s goalball team secured a sixth-place finish at the Pajulahti Games in Finland, the first major competition of 2020 on the road to the European B Championships later this year.
Great Britain got the tournament underway on Friday against Finland, the eventual winners. The host nation took an early lead which ultimately proved too much as Great Britain were defeated 9-5.
Later that day, Great Britain put on an incredible second-half display to comeback to draw against Spain after trailing by four goals at the interval, in what was one of the standout moments of the entire tournament. The remarkable 12-12 match saw Fen Tiger centre Dan Roper find the net 10 times.
Great Britain then came up against one of the early tournament favourites, USA White. The Americans resisted Britain’s high tempo attack to win 8-4.
In the final group game, Great Britain managed to get the result that their performances merited. They beat Belgium 6-3 in an enthralling encounter that secured third spot in the group on goal difference over the Spanish.
This set up a fifth/sixth place play-off against USA Blue. With the result finely poised at 7-7 at the final whistle, the game went into extra-time. Unfortunately, Great Britain were unable to capitalise on their sustained periods of pressure and lost out to a late goal.
Coach Faye Dale said after the tournament: “While we had hoped to finish higher overall, there were so many positives to take from the Pajulahti Games.
“We implemented new tactics and introduced new players for this tournament. This can sometimes take time to deliver results, but the early signs were extremely encouraging as the guys worked so well together and adapted to new the game we want to play.
“There’s still much work for us to do to get back to the top, but we believe we are on track for an incredibly successful year. The European B Championships in October is firmly in our sights and we are determined to be in the best shape possible for when that comes around.”