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GB U-18s Test Their Mettle at the European Championships

Photos: Luis Arrevillagas/Vladimír Kouba/WBSC Europe with permission

MSL talks to fifteen-year-old GB player Luis Allan Arrevillagas about his recent trip to the Czech Republic with the GB U-18s for the fastpitch European Championships.

So your first tournament. How were you feeling going out there?

Nervous. Very nervous.

Tell us about the journey.

I travelled to Prague Airport from London Heathrow on Saturday the 1st of July. We went as a team and wore our navy shorts and red GB hoodies. As soon as we arrived we got on a coach and had an hour and a half trip through the countryside to a town called Tabor and a smaller town called Sezimovo Ústí, where the pitch was located. We dropped off the Under 16s team at their hotel and carried on to ours. Once we arrived we walked to see the pitch for the first time as a team. The location of Tabor was spectacular, the towns and shops were so clean and every view you got was so unique. The pitch was in a mini valley and had a swimming pool about 100 metres away. During our week the weather was fantastic, which made the experience a lot better.

GB u-18s
Singing the national anthem

Your first game on the Monday was against the hosts Czechia, which was a tough one!

It was a very tough one. They just sort of went together. Everything they do is perfect. They play well together as a team. They were really good.

How did it feel stepping out onto the diamond for the first time?

I was nervous, obviously. Really nice pitch, everything was kept perfectly. Obviously, nerves everywhere, but yeah, as a team I think it was nervous but exciting at the same time.

GB were mercy’d 15-0 by the hosts but this did not deter them for the following day for their two games against Israel and Denmark.

And your next game was against Israel?

They’re still really, really good. Their pitcher wasn’t that fast, but he had a lot of movement when he was pitching. Yeah a good strong team. They batted well against us. Yeah they were tough.

We watched your streamed games back here in Manchester and saw your team mate Danny Casey-Wright get a grand slam.

Yeah, when he came in everyone was like, so happy. Everyone was buzzing because it was one of the first ones. So, everyone was so happy for him, ‘cause obviously he started off quite low, getting nervous, as all of us were really. And then when he hit that he was just so happy, he was smiling all day after that.

GB men's U-18s
The GB Men’s U-18s team celebrate Danny Casey-Wright’s Grand Slam
Source: WBSC Europe/YouTube:
Luis Allan Arrevillagas
GB u-18S step out onto the diamond

And your next game was against Denmark.

All those guys are huge from Denmark. They were really big, big batters. They weren’t so strong in the infield. I think we beat them on that side.

Team GB’s third day of the tournament pitted them against Croatia with a brilliant 20-9 result.

We beat Croatia. Croatia were one of the lowest teams there. They didn’t have an under 16s team so it was mixed. They had some weaker players and some stronger players. Yeah, they had some good batters. Their pitchers… They had a lot of different ones. They had to move them around. We liked to bat against them because their pitches weren’t great. So we could hit a lot. Also quite an inexperienced team Croatia. They went home early. 

On the Saturday you got to the Bronze final against Demark.

Bronze medal, yeah. Very nervous. Glad we won against Croatia, you know. Um, and then we got to the bronze medal game. Really happy that we got there. But then, obviously, nerves just, so… 

Luis Allan and Luis Arrevillagas
Luis Allan and a proud dad

You think nerves got the better of everyone?

I think so, yeah. Um, obviously Denmark, just the second time around were still a really strong team. It was close. I think if we had a little bit more luck we should have won that really. But, it was tough. Yeah, it was close. It was very close.

The U-18s finished fourth out of five. A great start for a first tournament for many of the team members.

I think for, you know, breaking records like youth teams for GB and winning games and we put one run on the Czechs and then, um, getting so close to beating Denmark, it was a really good experience.

How do you feel your performance was overall?

My batting and fielding was good. I wasn’t supposed to play the Denmark game but, uh, I played an outfield, centre field. I caught, I think, two or three. And yeah, I played well in outfield. I think I could have done better batting. I had fun batting, but I think I need to be a bit stronger next time.

Luis would like to thank his team and the people involved.

I can’t thank enough the coaches and managers for organising this and supplying kits and equipment for the whole trip. Every single one of my teammates were so amazing and I loved spending the week with them. A special shout out to the Buxtons who flew over from Australia to play with us. Two of the funniest people I’ve ever met.  We met lots of people from other nations and made friends with them, and hoping to see them in the future. Thank you so much to all the GB squad (Ian, Alan, Beccy and Kila).

The next championship is not for another two years and in the meantime our GB U-18s and U-16s of Luis Arrevillagas, Danny Casey-Wright, Rory Casey-Wright and Ben Acton will be continuing to train, playing the GB Fastpitch League at Farnham Park.

GB u-18s Results

From Manchester:
– Luis Allan Arrevillagas (Thunder III)
– Danny Casey-Wright (Stingers)

Monday 3rd July
Great Britain 0 – 15 Czechia
Tuesday 4th July
Israel 12 – 1 Great Britain
Denmark 22 – 12 Great Britain
Wednesday 5th July
Great Britain 20 – 9 Croatia
Thursday 6th July
Great Britain 6 – 14 Israel
Czechia 21 – 1 Great Britain
Friday 7th July
Croatia 2 – 9 Great Britain
Great Britain 2 – 17 Denmark
Saturday 8th July Bronze Medal
Great Britain 1- 4 Denmark

Full results ->

GB u-16s Results

From Manchester:
– Rory Casey-Wright (Stingers)
– Ben Acton (Thunder IV)

Monday 3rd July
Czechia 18 – 0 Great Britain
Tuesday 4th July
Great Britain 1 – 16 Israel
Wednesday 5th July
Denmark 14 – 1 Great Britain
Great Britain 16 – 0 Czechia
Thursday 6th July
Great Britain 1 – 16 Denmark
Friday 7th July
Israel 30 – 3 Great Britain
Saturday 8th July Bronze Medal
Great Britain 2- 12 Israel

Full results ->