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Brits denied memorable victory in World League thriller

11th January 2012

Russia scored five goals in the final quarter to deny the British Gas GBR Men’s Water Polo team a memorable victory in their World League qualifier in Kirishi.

After slipping to an early deficit, the British men had the bit between their teeth and outscored their opponents in both the second and third quarters to tie the match at 7-7 with eight minutes remaining.

The progress of the team was very obvious from tonight's performance.

An impressive last quarter from the home team saw them secure the points with a 12-8 victory (4-1, 2-3, 1-3, 5-1) but the Brits left Russia with their heads held high after a competitive performance.

And having beaten Georgia and impressed against world champions Italy at the end of 2011, head coach Cristian Iordache admitted the team were improving with each game.

"The progress of the team was very obvious from tonight's performance," said Iordache. "We need to build on this by continuing to play top teams and to get experience of playing a balanced game for the whole match.

"I'm pleased with the performance and we'll look forward to the return match when they come to Manchester in March."

We will take a lot of positives from the game but we know we need to continue the hard work we've been putting in

Captain Craig Figes added: "The performance was really good for most of the game but unfortunately the Russians took advantage of some of our mistakes.

"We will take a lot of positives from the game but we know we need to continue the hard work we've been putting in."

The Russians started strongly and while Figes - voted British man-of-the-match by the FINA delegates - scored an early penalty, the home team held a 4-1 advantage at the end of the first period.

But the Brits fought back resolutely in the second period as Figes added another two to complete his hat-trick and Rob Parker got in on the act with a bounce shot.

Momentum was with the away side as they started the third quarter and Parker scored his second before the home side responded to extend their lead to 7-5.

Quick thinking from goalkeeper Matt Holland saw him release Alex Parsonage on the counter, who held his nerve after swimming clear to pull the British within a goal of their opponents.

Minutes later, Joe O'Regan levelled the tie with an unstoppable outside shot into the roof of the net.

The atmosphere was electric at the final quarter swim-off with the match hanging on a knife-edge. Russia drew first blood, taking their time to convert a man-up and the home team extended their lead shortly after as another effort crept into the corner.

An outside shot and two more goals on the man-up followed as the Russians put the result beyond doubt, before Parsonage scored a late consolation from a tight angle.

The Brits travel to world champions Italy for their next World League qualifier on 6th March before they get the chance for revenge as they host Russia in their final fixture at Manchester Aquatics Centre on Tuesday 20th March.

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British Gas GBR Men’s Water Polo team vs Russia

Name (hometown) Club European Club
Ed Scott (Bolton) City of Manchester Club Mediterrani
Sean King (Farnborough) Invicta SV Weiden
Jake Vincent (Solihull) Solihull SV Bayer Uerdingen
Richard Lawlor (Wigan) City of Manchester CD Turia
Craig Figes (Bristol) Bristol Central Simply Sport Pescara
Joe O'Regan (Oldham) City of Manchester PVSK-Fuszert
Alex Parsonage (Dudley) Lancaster UZSC Utrecht
Sean Ryder (Nottingham) City of Manchester SV Weiden
Rob Parker (Cheltenham) Cheltenham CN Terrassa
Adam Scholefield (Leeds) Rotherham Metro PVSK-Fuszert
Jack Waller (Enfield) Invicta Sant Andreu
Mike Bourne (Birmingham) City of Manchester CD Turia
Matt Holland (Carshalton) Sutton and Cheam Aix en Provence

 

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