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Hockey: Gibraltar to host the U21 European Nations trophy.

Gibraltar will be, once again, hosting a major European Hockey tournament. On this occasion Gibraltar will be hosting the European, mens', under 21, Trophy tournament.

The Trophy tournament is Europe's second, major, under 21 competition, after the European Championship, which sees Europe's elite nations such as Holland, Germany and England doing battle. Gibraltar have earned their right to compete at this level due to their historic perfomance in the 2004 Challenge competition, which meant that they won themselves the opportunity to compete at Europe's 2nd tier competition. Gibraltar will be hosting some very good teams, such as Scotland, Switzerland, Italy, France and the Welsh, who are, apparently, aiming for a strong performance that will gain them promotion to the Championship in 2008. (Read here)

The tournament will certainly be a challenging one for our upcoming players. Gibraltar however, does have a strong team that will certainly be able to compete at this level. The added bonus of playing on home ground will certainly spur on Gibraltar's players.

The fact Gibraltar has, yet again, been chosen to host such a major event, reflects the confidence and support, the European Hockey Federation has in Gibraltarian hockey. The new fascilities at the Victoria Stadium, are certainly amongst the most modern around. We are certain that the stands will be full of Gibraltarian support, with plenty of Gibraltarian flags and supporters willing the Gibraltarians to victory.

Scotland, one of the strong favourites to win the competition have recently played a match against Portugal: They clinched an emphatic 7-1 victory over Portugal's juniors, in preparation for the European Under-21 Championships in Gibraltar in July 23-29. The Scots, who had previously drawn 3-3 with the Portuguese seniors, needed to defeat the hosts' younger side by six clear goals to win the triangular torunament, and doubles from Menzieshill's Gavin Byers and Willie Marshall of Kelburne helped them reach their target with seven minutes left of the under 21s game.

The groups for the competition are as follows:

Pool A Pool B
Scotland France
Wales Switzerland
Italy Austria
Portugal Gibraltar

Gibraltar's first game will be against the French, on July 23 at 18:00. Make sure you write this date down in your diary and lend your support.

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