2015 Senior World Championship Group A
La Roche-sur-Yon, France
20th – 27th June 2015
After winning promotion to the World A’s at last year’s World B Championship in Uruguay, our team for this competition included four members of this year’s Under 20 Final Squad.
Their selection was due to player availability, but would also benefit us for the development and experience of these younger players.
Again as in previous years it was very difficult to find the time when we could get all the players together for the preparation. Although we had preparation sessions during National Training Weekends and two further sessions in Herne Bay immediately before departing for France, the first real training session where all the players participated was on Monday in France after our first two matches.
Taking all this in consideration we used the group stage to continue our preparation with the knowledge that the first game of real importance was on the Thursday when the knock out phase started.
Our first two group matches were against Mozambique and Argentina (both top six countries) and although we lost both they were our best performances during the week.
In our first group match, we lost 6 – 3 to Mozambique. We conceded two quick goals but managed to draw level during the next seven minutes. We managed to maintain this scoreline until just before half time when unfortunately we conceded an own goal.
Although we lost the game we had good ball possession and created many good scoring opportunities which was very encouraging and all the players had time on the rink.
We lost our second group match 8 – 1 to Argentina, who went on to win these World A Championships. Although we had good position in defence the experience of the Argentinians was reflected in the 6 – 1 half-time score. Then we had a great second half. Considering the pressure that Argentina put on our team, our defence was incredible, our goalkeepers outstanding in both halves and we still managed to create goal scoring opportunities.
In the press conferences which took place after each match, our first team was complimented by both the relevant team coaches and our players were invited to attend the press conference.
Although Monday was a rest day, we still suffered in our next two matches due to the intensity of our first two matches. The fitness and competitiveness levels were shown to be lacking and we were not able to maintain the level of performance in the first two matches.
We lost our last group stage game 7 – 1 to Switzerland and we then lost our first knockout stage match 12 – 0 to Angola.
So, we went to the last two days in the same position as we had done in the last Six World A Championships, trying to finish in 13th place.
We played Colombia on Friday and we started the game very well with a lot of ball possession and good goal scoring opportunities during the first seven minutes. However to win games we have to score goals and Colombia were 3 – 0 up with due to three defensive errors.
The final score of 7 – 0 is a reflection of our inability to put the ball in the net.
We were now playing South Africa for the 15th / 16th places.
We managed our first win of the Championships, beating South Africa 6 – 5. We had a great first half going into the break 5 – 0 ahead. This was due to the decision of pressuring the South Africans full rink which culminated in three goals in the first ten minutes.
Then in the second half South Africa pressured us full rink causing a lot of problems to our defence, This was reflected in the score because for the last eight minutes of the match the score stood at 6 – 4, only a two goal difference and then South Africa scored their fifth goal with less than a minute to go.
Considering that we attended this competition with a mixed age team that included young players and with limited preparation we are disappointed with our final position. The team did show that if we could have had a perfect preparation we could have achieved far more.
Now let us start working towards the World Roller Sports Games in 2017 in Barcelona.
A project will be presented soon to the players to ensure that England can be represented in this competition by a team fully prepared for the first competition of this type which is the equivalent of the Olympic Games for roller sports.
Photos from some of the matches can be seen in the gallery