A UK veterans polocrosse team beat the national sides of the continental, European Nations but Holland were winners of the actual European Challenge (which the UK veterans team weren’t eligible for) for the first time, at a recent tournament in Germany.
The European Challenge is played between the European countries who do not take part in the World Cup, meaning that the UK and Ireland do not send competitive sides to compete it in but the UK sent a veterans team this year to take part in a friendly competition and to help further development of the continental countries, by increasing the level of opposition that the continental sides are playing against.
In the European Challenge there were teams from the Netherlands, Germany, France and a combined Finland/ Norway team, as the two Nordic countries combined to form one team. All the countries travelled to near Hannover in Germany to take part in a 2 days competition over the weekend of the 14th and 15th of May and there were some close results throughout.
The UK team won all their games but it wasn’t plain sailing for them. They won by 3 goals against Germany, 6 goals against the Netherlands and then the French team, which contained a number of their younger, upcoming players, also weren’t that far away as they lost 17-10 to the UK.
The Dutch team overcame all their other neighbours to be crowned winners of the European Challenge but only just beat the German team by 10 goals to 8 initially. Then they managed a strong win against the Norway/ Finland team and then beat the French by 15 goals to 12 in the Final on Sunday. France had beaten Germany by 17 goals to 10 on the Sunday morning.
France have won the European Challenge five times but Holland have never lifted the title before now, finishing as runners ups to France on a few occasions so there was obviously delight amongst the Netherlands team that they have finally achieved the top spot that had previously evaded them.
It was a tough weekend for the Norwegian/ Finnish team, who were mainly on borrowed horses (unlike the other countries who took their own horses) and also don’t have the number of experienced players that the other countries do, indeed for a number of their players it was their international debut. However, they fought hard throughout, scored goals in every match and will have gained a great deal of experience for the future.
Germany 8 : Netherlands 10
UK 17: France 10
Norway/Finland 2 : Netherlands 24
Germany 9 : UK 12
Norway/Finland 4 : France 21
Netherlands 8 : UK 14
Germany 10 : France 17
Norway/ Finland 2 : UK 13
Netherlands 15 : France 12
Germany 20 :Norway/ Finland 5