40 days to go – GB Forties journey

With just 40 days to go until the XII FIMBA European Championships in Pesaro, Italy, we take a look at the World Cup Silver medalist, +40 Women.

Head Coach, Tony Harrison, took over the FIMBA GB +40 Women just before the 2023 World Cup, which brought the curtain down on the first 12 month cycle of the FIMBA GB team. As such, straight after the tournament, a reset button was pressed as players from across the FIMBA GB family too stock of the best way to prepare for the 2024 European Championships. Some of the +40 Women decided to move to the +50 Women and a few decided to leave due to injuries or personal commitments. Coach Harrison recruited +40 Men’s player, Bruce Lauder, who was rehabbing from knee surgery to support him in the rebuilding process and the recruitment push started quickly, bringing a truly Great British squad together with several new faces turning up from England, Scotland and Wales to the monthly sessions as well as a few +35 Women stepping up to their new age category.

Having followed the +40 Women in Malaga and Croatia, I was delighted to be asked to help out. The opportunity kept me involved with this great sport and organisation whilst working through my recovery. It became very clear, very quickly that there was an exciting dynamic to this new group of players and great spirit on and off the court. Month after month, the standard improved both individually and as a group as they really bought in to Coach Harrison’s ethos of “making each other better”, which made selecting the final team very difficult. Pleasingly, some of those not selected still continued to come to the camps to help make the team better, which is lovely to see from this special group.

Bruce Lauder – Assistant Coach

The team transitioned off court too, with a new Team Manager taking over and a new partnership deal with Spectrum Physio to support the players’ individual development between the camps. 12 months later, they are two camps away from their second European Championships, where they go with renewed confidence after returning from the recent World Cup in Croatia with a Silver Medal.

We have now set ourselves a high bar after the success in Croatia, and the near miss has refocused the team to work harder to maintain progress to give ourselves the best chance to succeed again. There can be no doubt about the challenge but we recognise the belief continuing to grow in the group collectively who by being committed to each other as a team will rise to it.

Tony Harrison – Head Coach

The World Cup not only proved this teams potential on court, but was also an opportunity for them to show their vibrant off court dynamic and team spirit to the World – one thing is for sure that wherever this team goes, they are going to have fun. There are the highest number of women’s teams registered from across Europe for the tournament and some familiar, experienced and very talented teams standing in the way, but the GB Forties have a new belief in themselves and their system and will be ready for anything that is thrown their way.

We’ve been building this team for over a year, and each training session has felt like adding one more piece to the puzzle. The World Cup in Croatia was our first real test and chance to put everything we have learned into practice.
Losing out on the gold by such small margins has set a fire within us and a new determination to improve and progress. We’ve all worked hard to be in this position and with Italy just around the corner, it feels great to be heading into the European Championships with confidence and pride in what we’ve achieved so far.

Michelle Fellerdale – Vice Captain

Next up is the final two day camp at their “home” court in Leicester where they will go through some situationals and work on the team and player learnings from the World Cup before a final 1 day informal, closed session to fine tune any individual needs and put the final touches to the plan before flying off to Italy.

The World Cup in Croatia proved how far we have come as a team. Everyone works hard for each other on court, but where we come into our own is off court. This is such a special group of individuals, and we have so much fun together and are so supportive of each other, which is why we gel on court. Iā€™m excited to lead this team to another big tournament and cannot wait to build on our success of Croatia, but more importantly continue to enjoy this privileged experience together.

Charlie Lauder – Captain

The team are highly supported off court and would like to take this opportunity to thank all the partners who have made this journey possible: Care DaysCastings Services; Global Travel WorldwideLangley Mechanical ServicesOcorianPPESpectrumTrelleborg Tyres and White Trees Group. For more details on the FIMBA GB +40 Women click here or to keep up to date with the their journey to the European Championships in Italy, follow gbforties on Instagram and Facebook.

If you are interested in partnering the +40 Women and support their journey in 2024, you can find all the relevant details on our partners page or you can support their journey with a personal donation by clicking here.