England’s u16’s will face their toughest test so far this season as they play Slovenia away from home soil. Coach Burton will be very familiar with her opponents, two years ago she lead a talented group of English players through to the final stages of the u16 B division championship, many of whom are now playing for GB in the u20’s tournament in Bulgaria. That group lost in a thrilling game to Slovenia 62-60. As I watched that game in Arad I was proud of the performance of some of the most promising England players we had seen in a while, Monakana and Joseph have since signed with top Division 1 NCAA schools, Green and Harriott are hotly recruited and so will McDerment be. But the real poignant feature of that game was Slovenia was virtually an under 14 team. A generation of even more promising ’97 born kids.
Two years later England will be tested by many of those same players tomorrow, admittedly Lisec has since moved on an age group the impressive centre signed a pro contract at an early age and which of the others may follow this summer. However credit to Slovenia for being brave enough to go with a younger generation, the success of the experiment will not be the result of these friendly games vs England, Promotion to Division A this summer in the B Championship games held in Matosinhos will be the prize.
Already this summer’s u16B division championship looks to be a great spectacle just like the thrilling games of last year in Tallinn. Germany look strong having defeated Netherlands twice last week, the demoted Serbians are desperate to return to Division A, Hosts Portugal Return some impact players from last year’s campaign… the story will continue!