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Brits push Canada all the way in Worlds opener

21 July 2013

The British Gas GBR Women’s Water Polo team gave 2009 silver medallists Canada a scare in their opening match of the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.

A far cry from their 14-1 defeat the last time they played Canada in a World Championships in 2003, the Brits stood toe-to-toe with their experienced opponents, eventually going down 14-9 (3-2, 4-3, 4-3, 3-1).

Ciara Gibson-Byrne (4), Hazel Musgrove (3) and Chloe Wilcox (2) scored for the Brits, who led at 5-4 mid-way through the second quarter of a tense encounter.

"We came out feeling a bit disappointed as we made a few mistakes but we know we've got three more to keep improving," - GB captain Rosie MorrisThe Brits’ starting line-up featured eight London 2012 Olympians and while one of them, Wilcox, won the first swim off for GB, it was Canada opened the scoring through captain Krystina Alogbo.

Great Britain were quick to counter with Musgrove converting a man-up to draw the game level.

Emma Wright put the Canadians ahead again and while Wilcox scored a lob to equalise for the Brits, a goal on the buzzer saw Canada win the first quarter 3-2.

Again it took two minutes for either team to score in the second quarter but eventually Christine Robinson who put the Canadians 4-2 up with a goal from two metres out.

GB's Gibson-Byrne scored the first of her four goals to put the Brits back in it before Wilcox scored again to level up.

Gibson-Byrne then put the Brits in front for the first time as they nudged 5-4 up with two minutes remaining in the half.

But the Canadians stepped up to take the game back to level through Stephanie Valin before Alogbo put a lob shot into the left corner to take the game to 7-5 at half time.

At the start of the third Canada again won the swim off but the British defence earned a quick turnover.

There was little between the teams with another three minutes of play before either team scored in the third quarter, Alogbo breaking the deadlock for Canada before Musgrove responded for GB with a lob from distance.

It took another two minutes of attacks from both teams before Joelle Bekhazi scored a penalty to extend the Canadian lead to 9-6.

The Brits took a time out and followed up with Gibson-Byrne's third before Musgrove again converted a man-up to draw within one goal of the Canadians at 9-8.

But Canada were not for relinquishing their lead and scored straight back via Sophie Baron Le Salle before another Bekhazi goal put them 11-8 at the buzzer.

A determined Wilcox won the swim off but it was Robinson who scored first on the counter attack for Canada, extending their lead to 12-8.

Captain Rosie Morris make some impressive saves in the British goal to deny the Canadians but Wright eventually found the back of the net after two minutes of play.

Gibson-Byrne scored her fourth, another outside shot, to put the Brits back in the game with less than five minutes remaining but the experience of Canada showed as they pulled away, Alogbo putting the game just out of the British reach for a final score of 14-9.

“We came out feeling a bit disappointed as we made a few mistakes,” said Morris. “We know it is our first game and we’ve got three more to keep improving.

“The important game is our crossover group game on Saturday so we need to keep making improvements for then.”

Paul Metz, the Interim Head Coach for Great Britain said: “We go into every game to win, we didn’t win so that’s a disappointment. We were very competitive until one and a half quarters to go.

“We are a moving team, and in attack if we move more we will improve. There were two or three goals which were basic errors and we can improve on those.”

The British women will take on defending champions Greece in their second match on Tuesday, the Greeks having lost out to Olympic champions USA 12-8 in their first match.

European Champs 2016