Scotland will start as clear favourites as they defend their European Under-15 title in The Netherlands next week, but they will not be short of challengers in what promises to be a closely-contested tournament.

With six of last year's winning squad - new captain Christopher Cash, Lyle Hill, Gavin Main, Alexander Muir, Sebastian Stewart and Andrew Umeed - returning this time, the Scots will not be short of experience at this level, and they will go into the competition with a clear sense of what is required. Umeed, moreover, has in the meantime been to this year's European Centre of Excellence in La Manga.

Jersey only missed out on run rate on taking their first Division 1 title last year, and skipper Luke Gallichan - another alumnus of the Centre of Excellence - and the two other survivors from that side, Edward Fricker and Thomas Sutton, will be determined to go one better this time and topple Scotland from their throne.

Then there is, of course, Ireland, who have dominated European youth tournaments in recent seasons but had to be content with third place last time. Benn Hoey will skipper a comparatively new squad, with only Darren Nicol back from last season's side. Hoey and Lee Cole are two more who have gained valuable experience in La Manga.

Hosts The Netherlands, too, have a largely untested combination, with only Vivian Kingma having taken part last year. Captain Wessel Coster and his team will be hoping that home advantage will help them to improve on the fourth place they achieved in 2009, and again both Coster and Kingma were at the Centre of Excellence in April.

Guernsey had a very young side last time, and like Scotland they will again bring six of that squad: Tom Hutchinson, Joshua Kirk, Jason Martin, Oliver Nightingale, Harry Player and Matthew Stokes. That experience will no doubt stand them in good stead as they seek to improve on last season's fifth place.

Denmark, too, will be looking to do better, having finished last despite an encouraging final-day victory over Jersey. Mati Malik will lead a largely new squad, with Mads Nyeng the only other member of his side who played last year.

The round robin competition will be played at Salland's Schootsveld complex in Deventer and at Maarschalkerweerd, the Kampong club's ground in Utrecht.