Tait optimistic despite GB failure to achieve golden aim in Vilnius

Great Britain's Ashley Tait, inaction against Poland on Saturday.  Picture: Colin Lawson.
Great Britain's Ashley Tait, inaction against Poland on Saturday. Picture: Colin Lawson.
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ASHLEY TAIT admitted a bad start cost Great Britain dearly as they returned home from the World Championships without any kind of medal.

Doug Christiansen’s squad had gone out to the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius as the highest-ranked team and among the favourites to earn gold and with it promotion back to Division 1A at the first attempt.

But a surprise opening day 4-0 defeat to Croatia – followed by a 2-1 defeat to the hosts two days later – ultimately proved costly as they were eventually edged out of the medal placings, despite a final-day 4-2 win over Division 1B winners Poland, who had sealed promotion to the second tier after winning their opening four games.

Saturday’s win – courtesy of a Colin Shields hat-trick and a Robert Dowd strike – briefly lifted GB into third place, but Croatia – who surprised many by maintaining their form all week – beat Lithuania 3-2 in the final match of the tournament, to take the silver medal and leave GB with nothing.

Tait, who now heads the list of players with most appearances for GB with 102, admitted the squad had missed out on their main aim of gold and promotion.

But the former Sheffield Steelers forward – now enjoying a second spell at Coventry Blaze – insisted that there was still plenty to be positive about regarding the nation’s international future.

““We did not achieve our aim which is disappointing and we are well aware we missed out on that goal,” said Tait.

“We won three of our five matches and went very close in the one against Lithuania. It was only the opening game against Croatia where we really did not perform.

“But I believe there is a lot to be optimistic about after this week. There were positives and we have to build on this now. We have a great squad and some fantastic young players, so I am excited about the future for the team.”

In the opening game in Saturday’s final round of Division 1B games, a battle to avoid the wooden spoon saw the Netherlands come out on top against Romania, their 9-1 win giving them a first victory of the tournament.