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Fekete praises British progress in Athens

23 May 2011

Water polo head coach Szilveszter Fekete insists the British women have reached a new high after bringing a nail-biting World League campaign to an end in Athens.

Heading into the second round of matches, the British team, powered by British Gas, were in the hunt for a top two finish in their group and an unprecedented Super Final place having upset Greece the previous week.

In total, these two weekends have been the best performance from the GB team aginst the top level.

But while the British ultimately tasted defeat against Spain, Hungary and hosts Greece, in truth, all three matches could have swung either way.

And Fekete was adamant the team’s performance over the two weeks was the best he has seen from his charges against the world’s elite since taking over four years ago.

“In total, these two weekends have been the best performance from the GB team against the top level,” said Fekete.

“We won one game but we had the possibility to win them and finished nearly all of them strongly which is a good sign.

“We have to work on converting more of our man-ups but it has been two weeks of early mornings and hard matches and we have done well.”

The British took on Spain in their first match in Athens, looking to avenge defeats in their European Championship qualifier and last weekend’s round of matches in Barcelona.

After a slow start the British fought their way into the match but, despite a double from Frankie Snell, couldn’t overturn the scoreline and finished 11-8 down.

And while the team were disappointed with the result, the three goal deficit is the narrowest of margins from their three matches against the Spanish, boding well for their return European Championship qualifier in July.

Greece awaited on Saturday and while Fiona McCann, Angie Winstanley-Smith and Ciara Gibson-Byrne all struck twice for Great Britain, their hosts clung on to a 10-8 win.

Finally, Hungary punished a slow start from the British in their final match, racing to a 4-1 lead at the first quarter before eventually clinching a 15-7 victory.

World Class Performance Manager Joanna Wray admits the British women have come a long way since making their debut in the competition two years ago.

“Both legs of the World League have been exceptionally competitive this year,” said Wray.

“Thinking back to Greece two years ago when we first joined, we have come so far and every game could have gone either way.

“We have beaten some strong teams this year and last and I’m confident we will continue to get stronger with every match.”

World League second round

Great Britain 8 – 11 Spain (1-3, 3-5, 5-8, 8-11)

Goals: Frankie Snell (2), Chloe Wilcox, Aine Hoy, Hazel Musgrove, Angie Winstanley-Smith, Fran Clayton, Ciara Gibson-Byrne

Great Britain 8 – 10 Greece (2-5, 3-6, 5-9, 8-10)

Goals: Fiona McCann (2), Angie Winstanley-Smith (2), Ciara Gibson-Byrne (2), Frankie Snell, Aine Hoy

Great Britain 7 – 15 Hungary (1-4, 2-7, 5-11, 7-15)

Goals: Chloe Wilcox, Fiona McCann, Frankie Snell, Lisa Gibson, Ciara Gibson-Byrne, Angie Winstanley-Smith, Fran Leighton

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