GB Fastpitch Men heading for Europeans

Mon 18 Jun 2018


The GB Men’s Slowpitch Team has just come back from the Czech Republic with a European Championship gold medal, and later this week the GB Men’s Fastpitch Team will head for the same country aiming for World Championship qualification.

The largest-ever European Men’s Fastpitch Championship, with 12 teams competing, will take place in Havlickuv Brod, southeast of Prague, from 25-30 June, and only the top three teams will qualify for the 2019 WBSC Men’s Fastpitch World Championship.

If the GB Men can qualify, they won’t have far to go, since the 2019 Men’s World Championship will be played in Europe for the first time ever – in Havlickuv Brod and Prague!

But qualification will require the team to improve on their fifth-place finish at the last European Men’s Championship in 2016.

Aspirations

The 16 GB players plus staff members will arrive in the Czech Republic on Saturday 23 June, and will play two warm-up games on Sunday against the Czech Under-19 Men’s Team and Croatia.

When the tournament begins on Monday 25 June, GB will begin a six-team round-robin in Pool A, with games over the first three days against the Czech Republic, Belgium, Italy, Germany and Lithuania. 

The top three teams in the round-robin standings will advance to a Championship round-robin, from which four teams will advance to a Page Playoff that will decide the medals.

Teams in Pool B are Denmark, Netherlands, Israel, Croatia, Sweden and Slovakia.

Team Manager Wesley Knapp said, “We hope to achieve a top-three finish and are going to win the tournament.  If all of our bats are hot then we have every opportunity to qualify for the Worlds next year.  We have guys coming from as far away as New Zealand, Australia and Canada, and coming this far to not qualify is not an option.  So we will be going all out to take out our opposition, and with our very strong defensive game and our pitching staff, I have confidence we can keep the other teams to limited runs.”

Players and staff

The 2018 GB Men’s Fastpitch Team will consist of nine players based in the UK and seven from overseas.  The squad is:

Amit Aswani
James Darby
Neil Davies
Iuean Gale
Sam Grafton
Trent Nash
Richard Haldane
Wesley Knapp
Kyle Linton
Ryan Martin
Josh Peat
Luke Peters
Tom Priscott
Kevin Stockford
Nopera Stockford
Ben Tomlin

The staff is:

Head Coach:  Kevin Stockford
Pitching Coach:  John Brown
Manager Emeritus:  Mark Berman
Team Manager:  Wesley Knapp
Assistant Manager:  Moi Maree Brown
Physio:  Charlotte Page

BASU umpire David Hurley will be part of the ESF umpiring crew for the tournament.

Schedule

The GB Men will open the tournament at 4.00 pm Czech time (3.00 pm in the UK) on Monday 25 June with a game against Germany.

The team will then play two games each over the next two days, taking on Italy at 4.00 pm and the Czech Republic under the lights at 8.30 pm on Tuesday, and finishing the round-robin on Wednesday with games against Belgium at 9.00 am and Lithuania at 3.45 pm.

Games in the Championship and Consolation round-robins will begin on Thursday, and the final is scheduled for 6.00 pm on Saturday 30 June.

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