Tournament Summary

Group A and the Swedish football association welcomed the arrival of the GB Lions with open arms. 

GB were scheduled to play the Germans on Thursday 29th with the winners going on to play the Gold Final on the Saturday and the losers meeting for the Bronze award. 

The week started with the Coaches meeting at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on Saturday 23rd with the 45 players arriving on the Sunday.  Preparations went well for the GB squad as players settled in and game plans were drawn up and practiced. 

The staff was completed by the early arrival of new physiotherapists Matt Taylor and Alison Latham.  Throughout the week the medical staff were to prove an excellent addition to the team as the Lions did not lose a single player to injury until late in the 4th quarter of the second game. “I am indebted to the skill and professionalism of Matt and Alison” said Head Coach Tariq Ayub. “My heartfelt thanks go to them”. 

Wednesday was travelling day as the team bussed to Heathrow and flew to Copenhagen.  A short bus trip later and the team was installed in their hotel in central Malmö.

Training was held on Wednesday afternoon as final preparations were realised.  The GB team went into Thursday, game day, confident and ready for the old enemy  match report

After the game the squad was understandably disappointed but the truth was that the Germans were faster and better drilled.  The squad was determined to pull together and make a better showing of things in the Bronze match against the Finland, who had lost their first game to Sweden 23-19.  

With only one day of rest between the two games readjustments were vital and the GB coaching squad re-established Special Teams to bring in lesser used players from the first game. match report

BAFRA Officials Mike Wylde and Steve Tomkinson represented Great Britain in the final. Mike was officiating his last game after serving football for nearly 20 years.  

Having lost both games the Lions will now face the prospect of defending their Group B title in 2007.  

The tournament was a positive experience for all those involved and the GB team can hold their heads high. It is true that on the field they were outplayed but they also realised the British game is not too far behind the Group A elite.  Offensive coordinator Jim Messenger observed that both teams were very strong in their first string but that the talent was not held out in their depth list. “The success of the tour will only reinforce our determination to do better, improve the game overall and push the National Programme forward” stated Coach Ayub. .


Mike Wylde

Steve Tomkinson

Steve Tomkinson

Many players played above themselves during both games and those expected to do well did not disappoint. “What was gratifying for us was the fact that we have youth in our squad who have now seen the top flight, and they were not daunted” said Coach Ayub, “indeed they seem more determined. Players such as Ryan Hunter, Dale Powell, Brian Long and Robert Beveridge are the future of the British game”.

The next senior camp will be held at the end of 2005.  Head Coaches and players are asked to contact Communications Officer Warren Smart to recommend players for the camp. Coach Smart will send out referral packs to any who apply.

Attention for the National Programme now turns to the youth section in preparation for the European Junior Championships (16 –19 Year Olds)