Bittersweet bronze for England Lions’ men’s squad at European Dodgeball Championships
It was a ‘bittersweet’ bronze medal for Samuel Ward Academy teacher Ed Pickerin at the European Dodgeball Championships at the weekend, as he was part of the first ever England Lions men’s squad to miss out on gold.
The 28-year-old from Clare said it was still ‘great to walk away with a medal’ from the tournament held in Newcastle, but it was also ‘gutting’ to be the first team unable to continue the golden run.
The men’s team had won every incarnation of the annual competition held since 2010, but were halted this year at the semi-final stage by Northern Ireland.
England fell to a 17-9 defeat on Saturday to miss out on contesting their 10th consecutive final, which Austria went on to win 14-10.
“It’s a disappointing result really,” Pickerin said. “We went out looking to achieve a gold medal so it’s disappointing to only come back with a bronze.
“I suppose it’s great to walk away with a medal, as it is something to show for all the hard work and commitment put in, but it’s the wrong colour so it’s a little gutting.
“No one wants to be responsible for ending such an incredible winning run but it can’t go on for ever.
“It’s a very bittersweet feeling.”
Although Austria, ranked second in Europe, did not cause any serious shocks by claiming the title, Pickerin pointed out how far the game has developed in that decade since the inaugural championships – which saw England claim both gold and silver.
“There’s more and more teams and countries involved now,” he said. “We probably had a bit of a head start with a great national set-up early on, but everyone else is catching up.
“So it’s great to see more teams being competitive, you want to be pushed and play to the best of your abilities and a stronger world game provides more challenges.
“But it still hurts to lose.”
England won all four of their Group A encounters – against Italy, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Croatia – to set up a home quarter-final against Wales. Pickerin’s team comfortably came through by a 23-1 scoreline, while Northern Ireland beat Sweden 22-6.
But the semi-final proved a tougher meeting for the team ranked first in Europe as they failed to progress for the first ever time. Austria remain second while Northern Ireland are fourth.