The England u16’s Girls travel to France today for what could be their toughest encounter yet. The host Nation have consistently finished in the top 8 of the European Championships ( Div A) for the past 2 decades. The last time England had a team in Division A they lost all nine games. However there is hope… This team is arguably one of the most balanced and experienced teams EB have assembled for a u16 Campaign, since the promotion queens of the 95 born generation that are currently battling away in the u20’s,
Four players return from last summer, Savannah Wilkinson is back for her 3rd consecutive outing at the Cadet level stated ” Camps have been going well, we have been able to execute well and seen each others individual strengths, I believe if we can put everything we have been practising together we will get the performances we want ” Not far of an average double double last year she is well supported by team mates Gabby Nikitinaite and Jenelle Grant. Gabby by her own standards had a poor tournament last year ” Last year in Porto was a shock to me, the intensity of the crowd and competition got the better of me, but it was a great experience and now I am back to not only show my improvements as an Individual but to help the team” She has been doing just that in the regular season and has shown significant progress, she is one the most deceptive and skilled PG’s England has on the roster. Jenelle has the long term potential to be a great player, this European campaign is an opportunity for her to show what she is capable of having gained valuable experience last summer. Then there is the French import! Abby Lowe, English through and through but living and studying in France for a long time. Abby has shown she can knock down shots but how will that be on ‘home turf’ ? “For me there is no better feeling than playing for my country, the fact that these games are taking place on the same court I had my first regional competitions only makes it more exciting. Playing France is just like playing any other team, it helps the team prepare for the European championships, and we’re only growing stronger.” And there’s more… The new kids on the block are ready to prove they are as important as the returnees and on the block is the impressive Ire Ozzy-Momodu. The commentators in Tallinn better get ready because she is a name they will be calling out.
The team showed great promise with impressive wins over Sweden recently, and in my own opinion demonstrated some of the most fluent offence we have seen in a long time from an EB team. Coach Lee Davie is keenly aware of the challenge ahead “Preparations are going well ahead of our euro championships at the end of the month. Two games against one of the top teams in the world will allow us to continue in our selection process while further developing our style of play”
But the French are ready.
They have been in this camp from July 1st Total preparation from team building, fitness, tactics and skill these girls are ready for their first summer test game, six of the team attend CCFB the National training academy so they know each other inside out, however the challenge is slightly lessened by the absence of 3 key 98 players who have just returned from the u17 World Championship team, Tadic the promising 6’4 Centre, the impressive 6’3 Chartereau and the Athletic Djaldi Tabdi are all taking a brief rest before final preparations take place.
Games are scheduled for 6pm local time on July 9th and 10th.
England’s European Championship games start on the 31st July in Group B. Israel, Norway and the Dutch are the obstacles in the way of a promotion campaign.