2019/CW44 EUROPEAN TOUCH CHALLENGE TROPHY ELCHE - WO01.11.2019
The following is a brief summary of the Swiss Women's Open (WO) side participation at the European Touch Challenge Trophy 2019 tournament held in Elche, Spain last week.
Marlies Jahn (c)
Results were as follows.
|POOL GAMES | DAY 1
0 - 7
3 - 4
|3 - 5
|POOL GAMES | DAY 2
6 - 4
|0 - 7
|POOL GAMES | DAY 3
4 - 6
2 - 4
|7 - 4
Another brilliant host location resulted in an escape from the grey skies of Switzerland to the warmth and sunshine of the Spanish coast. The limited nations participating meant that the Women's Open competition was structured into two pool rounds with no finals. The Swiss WO team had a disrupted preparation with no training session having all players present. Injuries in the lead up resulted in only 13 players travelling which was a risk for a three day tournament in warm 25 degree conditions.
It was a tough ask to face a well drilled and much quicker English team in the first game. The Swiss driving and sub-box patterns were sound but the speed difference between the teams meant the English side was quick to recover from errors and the Swiss execution wasn't sharp enough to take advantage. English coach was very complimentary on the Swiss defensive pattern and structure with a reduction in the defensive errors in the second half of each game. Notably and as a benchmark, the Swiss defence against the dominate side of the tournament ranked second, but not by many, with the English Touchdowns Against totals finishing with Ireland 11, Swiss 14, Spain 19 and Germany 22 after each playing 2 games.
The difference between the Swiss and German side was a matter of small margins and final execution. Both were even games (first game the teams were tied at 3-3, second game 4-4) and, except for a number of missed opportunities, both of these teams were closely matched. The Swiss ladies did benefit from realising that the structures and patterns were extremely effective when executed well. Ball control and composure coming off their own line after possession change consistently made the sub-box with fresh players driving deep into their own half on the final touches. Converting those missed chances will improve with application and practice but the ladies demonstrated they were very competitive against this side.
Deservedly the second best team at the tournament but the Swiss side wasn't far off with a 1-1 halftime score in the second game which rattled the composure of the Irish. Again, the ladies worked well in defence and were very composed when possession changed with final execution giving the opposition the edge. Acknowledging the wins against Spain, the second game against Ireland was thoroughly entertaining and, by my rating, the best performance of the side in the tournament. It showed that over the course of three days and with consistent application of the tools/skills available to the side, the Swiss WO team is a very exciting team to watch with a unrealised potential.
The games against Spain were where the Swiss side demonstrated its attacking flair with well structure patterns and execution that wasn't under the same defensive pressure. Player decisions were more precise and opportunities that didn't seem to be available against the other teams were more evident. This isn't to say they weren't evident previously; just the speed of thought was higher than the speed of the game. Finishing the tournament on a high against a mobile and passionate Spain team proved to be a great experience for the side who were weary and carrying many injuries by tournament end.
Pre-tournament review, I was quietly optimistic that the side playing to its full potential was capable of surprising Ireland and Germany. Even then, a belief in the structures and patterns would provide a challenge for the expected tournament champions England. What the tournament highlighted to me was that the Swiss WO side has the capability and potential but requires a commitment in numbers and training to take the next step. Final execution, both through fatigue and cohesion, was the theme for the tournament and this is easily remediated through a commitment by the WO community to collectively seek improvement in their game.
I'd like to thank the continued support from the TS community in ensuring these representative opportunities are taken. The Swiss MO side were ever present in games where their schedule allowed and cheered mightily for the WO side; for this I have many thanks. Diego Facco did a marvellous job as the team provided physio in keeping the injured mobile and available for games. And last but definitely not least, the greatest accolades go to Rin Okumura for being the best manager a coach could hope for…
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Proud Swiss WO Coach