Autumn Qualifier for GB U-18 Men’s Fastpitch Team

Mon 16 Sep 2019

Following recent changes in age groups for international softball, the first European Under-18 Men’s Fastpitch Qualifier will take place in Gezer, near Tel Aviv in Israel, from 16-20 October, and GB’s first-ever Under-18 Men’s Team will compete.

Only four teams – Denmark, the Czech Republic, GB and Israel – will contest the tournament, and the top two teams will qualify for the WBSC Under-18 Men’s World Cup in 2020.

There will also be a first-ever Under-18 Men’s European Championship in July 2020, in Sezimovo Usti in the Czech Republic.


Recruitment drive

GB Under-18 Men’s Head Coach Ian Tomlin said, “The age group change from Under-19 to Under-18 has created some issues, as the vast majority of our experienced players have now aged out of the Under-18s and we have had to mount an active recruitment drive to boost the younger squad.”

Most of the recruitment took place during the Great Britain Fastpitch League (GBFL) season earlier in the year, and the team has recruited new players from around the country, some of them new to fastpitch softball.

Ian Tomlin said, “The recruiting process has identified some exciting new talent with a lot of potential.  Additionally, we are pleased to announce the involvement of two dual-nationality players from New South Wales, Australia, who are joining up with the squad.  These players will offer the team valuable experience and will boost our pitching and catching options.”


Preparation

Preparation for the new young team before its first international trip will include regional training days in Manchester, Chichester and Stroud plus competing in the Nottingham Single-Sex Tournament in September and the GBFL Cup Day at Farnham Park on 12 October, two days before the team flies out to Israel for the Qualifier.

Additionally, five members of the squad competed in the Chichester International Mixed Fastpitch Tournament in August.

A final training event, with the participation of the GB Under-23 Men’s Team, will take place at Farnham Park on Sunday 13 October, and the GB Under-18s will have a warm-up game on Tuesday 15 October in Israel to help the team adjust to the local conditions.


The squad

The task ahead of the team is a tough one, as only the top two teams from the Qualifier will advance to the World Cup and the coaching staff knows that to qualify, the GB Team will have to get the better of one or both of the Czech and Danish teams that have dominated men’s fastpitch softball in Europe for many years.

The squad for the Qualifiers is:

Bruce Candlish
Hayden Dabelstein
Bryn Davies
Daniel Downes
Jack Dyer-Slade
Matthew Eder
Matthew Green 
Finley Macknay
Owen Randall
Harvey Robinson
Joshua Stanley (captain)
Oliver Thornhill
Samuel Whatmore
Joseph Wright

They will be supported by the following staff:

Head Coach:  Ian Tomlin
Assistant/Pitching Coach:  John Brown
Team Manager:  Jill Russell

Reports from games at the European Under-18 Men’s Qualifier will be posted during the tournament on the BSF website.

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