British men bow out of Games against Montenegro
6th August 2012
The British Men brought their London 2012 Olympic Games Water Polo campaign to a close with a tricky encounter against in-form Montenegro.
The Montenegrins needed a win to progress second in the group and took the game to the Brits, racing to an 8-3 lead at half-time.
And while the Brits tightened up at the back during the second half, Montenegro held strong for an 13-4 victory.
All the matches, all the defeats, all the hard work, they were worth it to live this moment.
With only the top four progressing to ranking matches in the men’s tournament, it was the end of the road for the Brits who finished sixth in their group in their first Olympic Games for 56 years.
But, with the youngest squad in the tournament and having impressed against much higher ranked teams – particulary European champions Serbia and defending silver medallists USA – Team GB head coach Cristian Iordache insisted his men could leave London with their heads held high.
"All the matches, all the defeats, all the hard work, they were worth it to live this moment," said Iordache.
"We tried to be on the same level of the European silver medallists and I think we did the best we could, just as we did in every other game.
"This is a major experience for the players which they can bring with themselves to future competitions.
"We've been waiting 56 years to have a team in the Olympics and we'd better take care of this team in the future as I'm not sure that building another one later would be the best solution."
Montenegro drew first blood, scoring three goals before Adam Scholefield battled for space and put home a bounce shot underneath the goalkeeper’s arm.
A Montenegro backhanded shot put them Eastern Europeans 4-1 up and the score remained that way at the end of the first quarter after British keeper Ed Scott saved a one-on-one.
The Brits had no time to settle in the second quarter as Montenegro added two early goals.
But after Scholefield had earned an exclusion, Glen Robinson put home the Brits’ second goal of the game with a cross-cage finish.
Rob Parker fired home a trademark outside shot for the Brits as the half-time beckoned but Montenegro added two more to their tally to take control of the game, leading 8-3 at the interval.
The Brits set their stall out in the third quarter and made life difficult for the Montegrins with substitute goalkeeper Matt Holland saving smartly on to the post to deny their only early chance.
We've shown we can match these teams and with more experience and training, slowly we can creep up on these dudes.
Captain Craig Figes scored the goal of the match mid-way through the quarter, catching the ball on the 5m and firing home a delicious backhander into the corner to make it 8-4.
But a Montenegro penalty and another goal just before the break saw them reach double figures before the fourth quarter.
And while Team GB pushed to score one more in their final quarter of the tournament, Montenegro held strong, adding three more of their own to tie up the match.
"We know we are still far off these guys," said Parker. "We never dreamt of ever competing in any quarterfinals.
"But we've shown we can match these teams and with more experience and training, slowly we can creep up on these dudes."
"We'll chill out now for the rest of the Games, get water polo off our minds and enjoy watching GB compete."