Impressive Brits cruelly denied by Russia

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30th July 2012

Team GB’s women water polo team were denied a memorable result by Russia in their opening match at London 2012.

Competing at the Olympic Games for the first time in history, the British women stood toe-to-toe with their higher ranked opponents before a single goal in the final quarter saw them lose 7-6.

Today we proved we were ready for these Games and I expect even better performances in the upcoming matches.

Angie Winstanley-Smith bagged a hat-trick for the Brits while Rosie Morris starred in goal and saved a penalty.

And Team GB head coach Szileveszter Fekete admitted it was a frustrating result, having lost out by a single goal to the Russians in a World League preliminary earlier in the season.

“We had a similar match in the World League where we were leading by a goal towards the end,” said Fekete.

“Today we proved we were ready for these Games and I expect even better performances in the upcoming matches.”

Morris added: “I’m a bit gutted to have come so close but we have loads of positives we can take from the game.

“The crowd were so noisy and incredible. Every time they cheer it really spurs you on.”

Frankie Snell scored the Brits first goal after Winstanley-Smith had earned the home side a penalty while Morris’ penalty save and Chloe Wilcox’s unstoppable cross-cage goal put Team GB into a 2-1 lead.

The Russians pulled 4-2 ahead but their advantage didn’t last long as captain Fran Leighton’s quick thinking on a man-up saw her pass to Winstanley-Smith to fire home.

Fiona McCann got in on the act shortly after, powering an outside shot into the top corner to make it 4-4.

The crowd were so noisy and incredible - every time they cheer it really spurs you on.

Russia scored again on the man-up but Winstanley-Smith converted from Snell’s pass to keep the match tied 5-5 at half-time.

Morris pulled off numerous saves in a tense third quarter to keep the Brits in it and while Russia snuck in a sixth goal, the match was hanging in the balance at 6-5 going into the final quarter.

Winstanley-Smith completed her hat-trick early in the final quarter and a desperate fourth quarter ensued with both teams hitting the woodwork.

Russia finally sealed it with a well-taken goal on the counter attack but while the Brits felt aggrieved not to leave with a point, their performance bode well for the rest of the Games.

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