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British juniors finish ninth in Madrid showpiece

6th September 2011

At the end of August, the British Gas GBR Junior Women’s Water Polo team competed at the European Junior Championships in Madrid, finishing ninth overall.

The British girls had been in good form this summer, going into the competition with a silver medal and a gold medal under their belts from warm-up tournaments in Angers and Prague respectively.

And after finishing seventh in last year’s European Junior Championships, they hoped to do just as well.

We had set our goals higher but overall I'm confident the players have learnt from the experience and will come back stronger next year.

In the group stages the GBR team lost their opening match to the Group D first seeds Italy 19 -4 (Goalscorers: K Hesketh 3, C Smith 1) with some great goalkeeping from vice-captain Kate Thompson.

The second match was a closely fought game against the Czech Republic - a game the Brits had hoped to win but unfortunately lost out 12-10 (T Birmingham 4, K Routledge 1, L Shears 2, C Smith 1, S Gilbert 1, C Dean 1).

The final match of the group was against Turkey in which the GB girls were victorious winning 24-3 (C Smith 4, L Aspinall 1, S Gilbert 1, G Morley 1, L Shears 1, K Hesketh 7, K Routledge 2, M Kendall 1, T Birmingham 1, L Tasker 1).

As a result of coming third in their group, the junior women were faced with a tough draw against the seeded team of Greece and, despite a hard fought battle, the GBR team lost 20-4 (K Hesketh 2, T Birmingham 1, C Dean 1)

The GBR team then went on to win their remaining matches to finish ninth overall:

GBR v Sweden  14-7 (scorers C Smith 3, K Hesketh 3, K Routledge 3, C Dean 2,  T Birmingham 1, S Gilbert 1, L Shears 1)

GBR v Slovakia 20-6 (scorers C Dean 4, K Hesketh 4, G Morley 3, L Shears 3, S Gilbert 3, L Tasker 2, L Aspinall 1)

GBR v France 14-3 (scorers K Hesketh 7, C Smith 3, S Gilbert 1, G Morley 1, K Routledge 1, L Tasker 1)

GBR captain Katie Hesketh finished top British goalscorer with 26 goals and finished fourth top goalscorer of the tournament.

Head coach Nick Hume said: "Finishing ninth was disappointing as we had set our goals higher.

"In the lead up to the competition we were playing really good water polo and had some excellent results, unfortunately a combination of injuries to key players and a lack of experience at crucial times hurt us.

"The girls rallied and finished with several excellent wins, in particularly victory over our old adversaries France 14-3.

"Congratulations to Katie Hesketh who finished fourth top goalscorer in the whole competition. Overall I'm sure the players will learn from the experience and come back stronger next year".

The British Gas GBR Junior Women's Water Polo Team at the 2011 European Junior Championships in Madrid

Name Club
Kate Thompson City of Liverpool
Casey Smith City of Manchester
Laura Shears Newton Abbot / Bristol
Tuesday Birmingham Cheltenham / City of Manchester
Katie Hesketh City Of Liverpool / Lancaster City
Sophie Gilbert City of Liverpool
Courtney Dean City of Manchester
Kathryn Routledge City of Liverpool / Lancaster City
Maria Kendall City of Liverpool
Grace Morley Tyldsley / City of Manchester
Lauren Tasker City of Liverpool
Lucy Aspinall Tyldsley / City of Manchester
Jordan Kelly-Linden City of Manchester


The squad was coached by Nick Hume, Sue Webb and Nick Buller. Team Manager: Eileen Selvey.

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