ANOTHER VICTORY FOR BRITISH GAS TEAM
08 Jul 2009
Day two of the LEN Women’s European Nations Trophy promised to provide exciting matches and it did not disappoint with a number of closely fought battles.
The British Gas team were looking to build on a successful start to their campaign yesterday where they beat Belarus but today faced a tougher challenge as they took on a strong Portugal side.
Nineteen-year-old Fran Clayton opened up the scoring for the British Gas team and didn’t waste any time firing her first two goals in the back of the net.
The team showed great strength in getting forward but were at times held back by the Portuguese defence who weren’t giving much away.
After Portugal’s Mariana Saramento levelled the game at three all with a penalty, the British Gas team’s defence worked well and didn’t let the Portuguese side score again.
Both teams were very quick off the mark at the start of the second half and were able to get around the pool well, but the British Gas team had the edge in the tight match that saw them win 8-3. They now lead Group B with 6 points after winning both of their preliminary matches.
At the end of the match British Gas team captain Ros Griffiths said: “Two wins out of two is great. It was a very tight match, a lot different to yesterday [against Belarus] and definitely a more physical match.
“There’s a really great atmosphere amongst the girls and we’re looking forward to playing tomorrow.”
The Czech Republic were able to maintain their winning ways in today’s match by taking a win over Switzerland.
The team showed that they were in charge of the encounter from the start with a 6-2 lead before the first period was up. Switzerland’s Erika Brunner was able to peg a couple of goals back after finding the back of the net but it was not enough to hold off a superior Czech squad.
Czech team player Veronika Bartunkova secured a double hat-trick early in the third period before the team finished strongly with a 23-10 score line.
Czech high-scorer Bartunkova said after the match: “I think it was a really good game for us. We were able to use a lot of the younger girls and rest some others.
“We’re looking forward to tomorrow’s match; hopefully we’ll win and come top of our group so that we can rest on Friday.”
Group A’s Ukraine and Croatia contested the closest match of the day with the winning goal coming in the last seconds.
After a low-scoring first period the two teams battled hard for the points with neither side willing to give in.
In the final quarter Ukraine took the lead for the first time with a goal from the top of the arc by Kseniya Kurvicheva. Ultimately they were unable to hold the more determined Croatian side off as Maja Kalauz found the back of the net with one second remaining on the clock.
After the match an elated Mia Simunic of Croatia said: “We were so happy when the last goal went in. It was a very difficult match for us. Our coach said that we were very successful in both offence and defence but we were making mistakes, and that is why the match was so close.”
The final match of the day saw Slovakia take on Belarus. Both teams lost their matches yesterday so a win was vital if either team wanted to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Another close match ensued as the teams fought to find their first victory of the competition with Slovakia pushing forward on the counter-attack leaving players up front.
Despite a close score line most of the way through the match Slovakia pulled away for a 13-11 victory.
Slovakian player Martina Kunikova commented after match: “It was very important for us to win this match so we’re really happy with today.
“They were very good in defence and really physical so it was a tough match.”
The Slovakian team will be facing the British Gas squad tomorrow but Slovakian player Lucy Valocka was more excited about the impending royal visit:
“We’re looking forward to seeing Prince William tomorrow; everyone is hoping to meet him!”
The British Gas team will be given an added boost tomorrow when Prince William shows his support for British Water Polo by watching their final preliminary round match agains Slovakia.
Tickets for the event are still available from the Manchester Aquatics Centre and cost as little as £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.
The LEN Women's European Nations Trophy is an eight team tournament for female, European national teams. The event takes place from the 7th to the 12th of July 2009 and consists of a preliminary round, quarter finals, semi finals and the final. Each team usually plays one match per day and the winner is declared on the final day of competition.
Thursday 9 July
16.00 Czech Republic Vs Croatia
17.20 Belarus Vs Portugal
18.40 Switzerland Vs Ukraine
20.00 Slovakia Vs Great Britain
For more information please contact the ASA/British Swimming Media Assistant, Lauren Sanderson on 07795 251 917 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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