2003 European Championships - Assen, Netherlands
TWIF Open Club Competition
Thursdays open competition started off with the men's 560 kilos competition. There were 8 groups where the top two teams from each went through. A total of 26 teams entered the event; with defending champions Sandhurst entered along with last years world open winners Oxney, both of England. Both of these teams made it out of their respective groups along with Tonbridge and the Veenseboys from Holland. These teams won their respective quarter finals, where Tonbridge made their first ever semi final at International level. The semi finals saw Oxney draw the Veenseboys where the Veenseboys won by two pulls to nil to reach the open final. Sandhurst went on to defeat Tonbridge by the same score. Before the final took place the pull off for bronze took place with Oxney defeating a brave Tonbridge team by 2 pulls to 0 to win the bronze medal leaving Tonbridge with creditable 4th place. Next to take place was the final where defending champions Sandhurst looked to retain their title against the very strong Veenseboys team, however over the two ends the Dutch team proved very powerful, and they pulled Sandhurst over the line on both ends to win the first gold medal of the championships.
The next event to take place was the women's 560. This was split into 2 groups of 10. Group 1 was won by Asunda of Sweden with TTV Teerns from Holland in 2nd place. Group 2 was won by Kilroe ladies of England with Vechtlust of Holland in 2nd place. In the cross over Kilroe met Teerns where the Dutch team made it through to the final by 2 pulls to nil and Asunda beat Vechtlust by the same score line. The bronze pull off was won by Kilroe Ladies who beat Vechtlust by 2 pulls to 0. The final then took place between Asunda and Teerns where Asunda won the gold medal by 2 pulls to 0.
The next weight was the 18-23 junior 560 class, a new weight class for TWIF competitions. There were 6 teams entered with Stans-oberdorf (Switzerland), Nekar-Bergstrasse (Germany), Oele (Holland) and Ydre/Bjorke (Sweden) making it to the semi-finals. The German side defeated Stans in their semi final whilst Ydre/Bjorke defeated Oele to reach the final. Oele defeated Stans in the bronze pull off before Nekar-Bergstrasse won the gold medal defeating the Swedish side by 2 pulls to nil.
The final weight of the first day was the 680 with 64 teams entered. The two English sides to make it through their group were St Pats and Congleton. In the second round Congleton defeated a Belgian team (sorry can’t remember the name!) and St Pats also made it through. In the quarter finals Congleton went on to defeat TTV Valliertrekkers from Holland by 2 pulls to 1 and St Pats went out to Kagiswil of Switzerland. Boley went on to defeat Okia and Sins went on to defeat TTV Veenseboys. In the semis Sins of Switzerland went on to defeat Congleton by two pulls to nil whilst Kagiswil went on to defeat Boley by the same score. Congleton were left to fight it out with Boley for the bronze medal in which they took the first end but lost the next two leaving Boley with the bronze medal. The final saw Sins defeat Kagiswil 2-0.
The Friday started off with the men 720 with Lincoln being the only English side in this event. They failed to make it out of a very strong group with eventual winners Velkonis from Latvia, who were last year’s world open champions, in the group along with Heure from Holland. In the semi finals Boley went on to defeat TTV Valliertrekkers and Velkonis defeated Heure. Heure went on to win the bronze medal against the Valliertrekkers, and Velkonis and Boley then met in the final. The big Latvian side were very strong and were able to muscle out the Irishmen and win the 720 gold medal.
The next weight was the Ladies 520 kilos. The only English involvement was the Bedford ladies team who unfortunately failed to make it out of their group. The bronze medal was won by Asunda from Sweden who defeated Engelberg of Switzerland and the gold medal was won by Viking, another Swedish team who defeated Wa-Ka Lieli 2-0
The final open weight of the day was the 640. English teams Felton Eccles and Sandhurst made it through to the quarter finals where Sandhurst met Mosnang of Switzerland and Felton met the defending champions TTV Veenseboys, two teams who have become very familiar with each other over the last few years. This time the Veenseboys got the better of Felton, beating them by two pulls to nil, and Sandhurst defeated Mosnang by two pulls to one. The semi finals saw Sandhurst meet Goldscheuer from Germany and TTV Veenseboys meet Engelberg. Engelberg and the German side both won through the semis by two pulls to nil, leaving Sandhurst and the Veenseboys to meet again to pull off for bronze, and once again Veenseboys came through to win the bronze medal. The final saw Goldscheuer meet Engelberg, in what proved to be one of the best finals in the open. Goldscheuer won the first end with their powerful lifts but Engelberg then made use of the substitute and pulled it back to make it one end a piece. The German team then made a substitution and also won the toss, and once again their lifts proved too strong for Engelberg leaving Goldscheuer the gold medal and Engelberg the silver.
European Championships – closed
Saturday and Sunday 20th and 21st September 2003
England representatives at the European Championships opening ceremony (image credit: Eddie Van Raamsdonk, Netherlands)
The closed events started with the men's 560 kilos competition. England’s representing team was Norton, winners of this weight at the Nationals. They were this year hoping to knock the defending champions, Switzerland, off the top who beat them in the last European championship final. England made it through the group only dropping one end against the Swiss, but finished in 2nd place in the group as they picked up more cautions than the Swiss. England and Switzerland as well as the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland made it through to the semi finals. England were drawn against the Republic of Ireland, and the Swiss were drawn against Northern Ireland. England defeated the Republic of Ireland by 2 pulls to 0 to make it to the final, however the Swiss did not have it easy against Northern Ireland, but they still managed to pull through with a 2 – 0 win to set up and England – Switzerland final. The two Irish teams were left to fight it out for the bronze medal with the republic of Ireland team winning in two straight ends, repeating their bronze medal success of 2001. Next up was the final where both teams fancied their chances. The Swiss started off strong and tried to take out England but England defended their holes well and gave an answer to everything thrown at them. After a long few minutes England managed to drive out the Swiss to take the first end. In the second end England decided to attack first and started to take the Swiss, and although the Swiss did everything they could to stop the English the center mark went over the line to bring England the gold medal at 560.
Photo: England Men 560kg (represented by Norton) team talk between ends (image credit: Eddie Van Raamsdonk, Netherlands)
The next weight was the ladies 560 kilos with England’s representative team, Belvoir Vale. In a six team competition the ladies, who are only in their first season, made it through to the last 4 after overcoming the Welsh girls and Italy. In the semi finals they met the Swedish team, who had won the open competition two days previously. The Swedish girls managed to take out the England girls by 2 pulls to 0 to meet Switzerland in the final. England for the bronze pull off met the home team Holland who had lost their semi final to Switzerland. Although the England girls gave all they had got they could not take out the experienced Dutch team, leaving the Dutch with the bronze medal and the England girls with a creditable 4th place. The final was between defending champions Sweden and Switzerland. The Swiss had a very powerful team in this event and managed to take out Sweden by 2 pulls to 0 to win the gold medal.
Photo: England Ladies 560kg team represented by Belvoir Vale (Image credit: Eddie Van Raamsdonk, Netherlands)
The next weights of the day was the men's 680 and the under 23 560. In the men's 680, England were represented by St Pats. They started off with Belgium, who on fresh ground took the first end off England, but England pulled through well to take the second end. England then went on to lose to Sweden, Holland, Switzerland and Ireland, but got a good win against the big German team. England then went on to finish in 6th place, and did not manage to get into the semi finals. In the semi finals the Republic of Ireland comfortably beat Switzerland by 2 pulls to 0, and they went on to meet Holland who defeated Sweden. In the bronze pull off Sweden defeated Switzerland by 2 pulls to 0. In the final Ireland went on to challenge defending champions, and world champions Holland. Many people thought that the Irish would cause and upset, but the defending champions had other ideas, and although the experienced Irish side gave everything, the Dutch managed to pull through to a 2 – 0 victory to retain their title.
In the under 23 weight the last 4 consisted of Switzerland vs. Sweden and Germany vs. Holland. Switzerland defeated Sweden in 2 straight ends, as well as the Germans who defeated Holland. In the bronze pull off, Sweden saw off the challenge of the home nation to take their second bronze of the day. In the final Switzerland, who won the youth weight at the last championships (which was then under 19’s) repeated that success with a 2 – 0 win against the Germans.
The first weight of the Sunday competition was the 720 kilos competition. In this weight of England was represented by Congleton. England had a tough draw at first with Switzerland, Ireland and then Latvia. England managed to get a 1-1 draw with all three of these teams and went through to the last 4, only losing to Holland. England went through in 3rd place, but it was down to the very last pulls of the competition to decide whether Sweden, Switzerland or Latvia would get the 4th and final place. The 4th place spot eventually went to Sweden who defeated Ireland, whilst Switzerland and Latvia met in their last pull and ended up drawing at 1 end a piece, so neither had a chance to go through. In the semi finals England met Ireland and Holland met Sweden. England pulled a good style to beat Ireland by two pulls to nil whilst Sweden gave everything they had against Holland, but Holland, the defending world and European champions went through. In the bronze pull off Ireland who had already made their substitution dropped to 7 men, and Sweden sportingly dropped a man, however, the Swedish team managed to push the Irish out to win the bronze medal. In the final England met Holland. England then went into the final against the Dutch team, with nothing to lose as they were pulling the defending champions and current world champions at this weight. Congleton, representing England put up a good fight, but unfortunately it was not enough to beat the Dutch champions and they lost by two pulls to nil. Congleton came away with the silver medal for England, which was a delight for the team members as they had seen a dip in form in the second half of the season.
Photo: England 720kg (represented by Congleton) taking on the Netherlands (image credit Eddie Van Raamsdonk, Netherlands)
The next weight was the ladies 520. England’s representatives were Kilroe ladies who gained 4th place at this weight at last years world championships. They started off against ladies 560 champions Switzerland, (and are also the defending champions of this weight) and managed to beat them by 2 pulls to nil. They then went through in 4th place to the semi finals after beating Wales, Belgium and Italy. In the semi finals England lost by 2 pulls to nil to Sweden. Sweden went on to meet the home nation, Holland, in the final, who had a tough three ender against Switzerland, which resulted in an injury for the Swiss team. In the bronze pull off Switzerland only fielded 7 women as they could not replace their injured puller, as they had already made a substitution. England, however, decided that they were not going to throw away a bronze medal and fielded eight girls, and managed to win the bronze medal by 2 pulls to 0. In the final Sweden met the Netherlands who seemed rather drained after their tough semi final, and Sweden won in two straight ends to take home the gold medal.
Photo: England ladies 520kg team (represented by Kilroe Ladies) celebrating winning the bronze medal against Switzerland (image credit Eddie Van Raamsdonk, Netherlands)
The final weight of the championships was the men's 640, where there was no clear winner visible at the start of the competition. England’s representative team was Felton Eccles. They started off with a tough opener against the defending champions Holland, who were represented by TTV Okia. England pulled through to win by 2 pulls to 0. England made it through to the semis with Germany, Ireland and defending champions Switzerland. Switzerland were drawn against the always difficult Irish, and the Irish managed to pull off a 2 – 0 win, to knock out Switzerland. In the other semi final England were drawn against the very strong German team who were represented by Golsheuer who had won the open 2 days previously. Although England put up a good battle, the Germans proved to be too strong and set up a Germany Ireland final. In the bronze pull off Switzerland took out England by 2 pulls to 0. In the final Germany and Ireland met with many people favoring the Irish to take this weight, but it was not to be as in both ends Ireland used pressure pulling to start and move the Germans but the Germans managed to use their strong lifts to unsettle the Irish, and to take them on both ends, resulting in the first gold medal for Germany ever at a world or European championships.
In the evening the medal ceremonies took place where the winning teams were presented with their medals, along with the flag raising ceremony and the playing of the gold medal winner’s national anthem. Teams then had the opportunity to celebrate with each other after the closing ceremony. An enjoyable weekend was had by all teams and credit must go to the Dutch organisers who did a great job and created a great atmosphere for the teams and supporters.