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Mike Ashley and Team GB Win Gold
On Tuesday the 28th July Team GB Slowpitch Softball headed to Dupanitsa Bulgaria to defend their title in the 10th European Championship. Despite Softball being a lesser known sport in Britain, they’ve won every European Championship since its inception in 1998. With them this time, like the first was Access Point’s own Mike Ashley.
Mike has been helping coach the team since 2008, helping them retain their top spot internationally, including winning silver at the 2014 World Cup. Needless to say, they had quite a large target on their backs by the time they came back to the European Championships this year.
Despite their impressive record, there were many who said that this year’s team was not going to have the same success as they had in the past, with a lot of new faces on the British team, and the German and Czech teams being nationally selected for the first time.
The first day was a taste of things to come however as Team GB roundly beat the Irish and Lithuanian teams, bringing the mercy rule into effect for both of them. The mercy rule, common in North American sports means that once one team has an insurmountable lead it ends the match early.
Day two was little different with three more big victories against the German, Czech and Bulgarian teams. The GB team was praised throughout for its depth of talent and aggressive batting, scoring plenty of home runs.
Days 3 and 4 brought more wins with Team GB’s tally by the final day being 10-0 a fitting score for their 10th Gold at the 10th European Championship. In second place was the Czech Republic with 6-4 and in third, Ireland narrowly beating the German team with 5-5. It was a great win for the British team and Mike said how very honoured he felt “to have played in the first championship in 1998 to be helping coach the team to their 10th consecutive win 17 years later.”