Impressive Greeks hold off Great Britain in Manchester
20 November 2010
A sell-out crowd filled the Manchester Aquatics Centre as the British Men’s Water Polo Team, powered by British Gas, took on the Greeks in what was an exciting European qualifier.
The 13-strong team, led by Craig Figes, battled against the more experienced nation and despite a valiant effort weren’t able to come away with the win that they wanted. Instead falling to a 13-2 defeat to the 2005 World Championship bronze medallists.
Britain got the game off to a good start gaining possession early on and looking confident, but strong defence from the Greeks left the Brits fighting to keep the ball.
With bursts of brilliance from goalkeeper Ed Scott interspersed with clever play from the Greeks, Britain soon found themselves 4-0 down at the end of the first quarter and unable to respond.
After a short break the team returned to the pool and Britain soon found themselves with man-up situations, but good play from the team went unrecognised as shots from Craig Figes and Alex Parsonage sailed over the crossbar.
A further two goals to the visitors took the score line to 6-0 at the halftime whistle.
Britain began finding their feet down the Greek end and a number of narrow misses finally made their mark as the Brits wore down the opposition's defence and Jack Waller netted Britain’s first goal to the eruption of cheers from the home support.
With the third quarter ending 9-1 the Brits were left with lots to do coming into the final eight minutes.
Team Captain Craig Figes stepped up to show his team how it should be done with Britain’s second goal coming early in the final quarter. Strong set plays showed the promise Britain has but they were met with a wall of Greek defence each time.
With the match finishing 13-2 the Brits still have European qualification within their grasp.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the score but I think that the team performance, as a whole, was really good,” said team captain Figes after the match.
“The crowd support was amazing and it’s not often they get to watch such a high level of Water Polo in Britain.
“All the team will go back to their clubs where they get consistent high-level competition and hopefully when we come back to play Greece next year we’ll see a different result.”
The team now face a long wait as they prepare to face Greece in an away match next June followed by a home game against Georgia to complete the qualification round.
The 13-strong squad that represented Great Britain include:
Craig Figes (c)