BRITISH GAS TEAM GET OFF TO GOOD START
07 Jul 2009
Spectators at the Manchester Aquatics Centre were treated to four exciting matches as the LEN Women’s European Nations Water Polo Trophy got underway today.
Eight of Europe’s most promising water polo nations contested the first of their three preliminary group matches as they began their campaigns to win the prestigious trophy.
The British Gas sponsored team put in a solid performance to open their European Nation’s campaign in front of a home crowd and opened the first half up with a 9-2 lead against their Belarusian opponents.
The match went well for the British Gas squad who played confidently throughout. Chloe Wilcox was the British Gas team’s highest scorer, netting seven goals during the team’s 20-4 win.
British Gas team captain Ros Griffiths was happy with the team’s performance: “It was a really, really good start for us. We haven’t played them for four years so we didn’t know what to expect.
“We’ve been training hard for the past six months building up to this and we were just feeling our way in this match.
“There are some things we have to work on but we managed to stay calm today and take our chances.
“The crowd were absolutely brilliant. We don’t normally get this much support so it was a great atmosphere to play in and gave us a good lift.”
In the Croatia versus Switzerland match spectators watched on as the highly tactical game was contested. Goals from Croatia’s Aida Sehic and Anamarija Reic-Kranjac opened up the scoring as their team took a 4-1 lead to end the first period.
Switzerland were closing down the space well towards the end of the match but Croatia were still finding ways through the Swiss defence.
Reic-Kranjac secured her hat trick with a nice shot around the defender from the top of the arc to extend Croatia’s lead, and went on to score one further goal during the match ending with a tally of four which was matched by her teammate Lucija Topic.
Switzerland stayed in the game with some accurate long shots but ultimately weren’t able to hold off a superior Croatian team who won the match with 22 goals to Switzerland’s 11.
Croatian captain Sehic said of the performance: “We didn’t expect anything coming into this match as it is our first time in this type of competition.
“We wanted to start with a win so we put everything we had into it.
“In the first period I think that both teams were nervous, but as the match progressed, especially in the third and fourth periods, we got better and had a strong finish.”
Portugal faced Slovakia in what was to be the closest match of the day. After going two goals down during the first half, a strong Portuguese team managed to take 6-5 lead to end the second period.
Slovakia’s ability to make use of the chances they had kept the match level right until the end as Portugal took the tie 14 goals to 11 with Mariana Sarmento their top scorer with nine goals.
Portugal’s Naida Mariani said: “I think it was a good match, but very difficult and very close. But I think that makes it more interesting for the crowd and definitely more exciting to win.
“We’ve been training for this for a long time so to win our first match is a good feeling.”
The final match saw Czech Republic take on Ukraine in the second Group A preliminary match.
In a hard-fought match Czech Republic showed consistent form to overcome tough opposition with a 13-4 scoreline, with Veronika Bartunkova and Lenka Vopalkova both scoring hat-tricks.
Czech Republic’s Aneta Hendrychova said: “We are excited with our performance today. We did well as it wasn’t an easy game.
“It shows that we are ready and that we have prepared well and hopefully it will be good enough to take us to the finals.”
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.
Wednesday 8 July
16.00 Switzerland Vs Czech Republic
17.20 Ukraine Vs Croatia
18.40 Great Britain Vs Portugal
20.00 Slovakia Vs Belarus
For more information please contact the ASA/British Swimming Media Assistant, Lauren Sanderson on 07795 251 917 or email email@example.com
British Swimming is the National Governing Body for Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Open Water in Great Britain. It is responsible internationally for the high performance representation of the sport. The members of British Swimming are the three Home Countries national governing bodies of England (ASA), Scotland (Scottish ASA) and Wales. (Welsh ASA) British Swimming seeks to enable its athletes to achieve gold medal success at the Olympics, Paralympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
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