Today started off a bit later for me than the previous two mornings, when I’d gone along to the IKF Congress. While it was fantastic to see behind the curtain so to speak, it was nice to be able to spend today with the team. It also means I missed all the excitement of the last couple of days, so it was good to be able to debrief with the team and work out exactly what had happened.
After a lateish breakfast, where bacon thankfully returned to the menu, we headed back upstairs to play a few games to kill some time. I’m not sure if its because he’s a teacher or not, but Zac seems to have an inexhaustible list of games to play. The mid-afternoon game was unusual for us, we’d gotten into a bit of a routine with the late games, so getting ready just after lunch was a bit different.
Then it was onto our game against Slovakia, chasing 13th spot. The game certainly didn’t go our way early, being down by 6 at half time. The team fought back well, as we have all tournament, before ultimately going down by a goal. We’ve had a few tight games this tournament, and they don’t really get any less stressful. The result means we finished 14th, a credible effort, and a platform we can build on in the coming years.
Post game was time for shower beers and generally letting of a bit of steam after a long preparation and tournament. As much as I tried to resist, I was dragged under the shower fully clothed, and just managed to kick the socks off before they got soaked as well. In the end, even Tim, Sharyn and Krissy ended up dripping wet too. After heading back to the hotel for dinner, the post-tournament celebrations kicked off in earnest for some, and without going into details, Australia’s reputation was done no harm, international relations are as strong as ever, and the Poles and Slovaks know how to drink.
Today is the end of our tournament, and it’s a bit bittersweet. While it’s felt like a long trip at times, looking back on the last week and a half, the time has flown past. As much as it would have been amazing to be playing on the last day, to even compete at a World Championships is a good effort, and to win the games we did, with a relatively inexperienced team, is a fantastic achievement. The support we’ve had from home (as well as the travelling fans) has been amazing, and as far as I can tell the matches have been more watched than any before. Thank you to everyone who’s watched a game, sent us a message, posted a photo or anything else you’ve done, it certainly is appreciated by everyone in the team.