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Water Polo men excel in Slovakia

15 July 2013

The British Gas GBR Men’s Water Polo team returned from the second round qualification tournament for the 2014 LEN European Championships with three wins, a draw and just one loss under their belts.

The Brits kicked off their campaign on Thursday (11 July) with a comfortable win against Switzerland, 18-6, creating a six goal lead in the first eight minutes of play.

"I am happy that we are in a good position to qualify for the next phase of the competition," - GB Head Coach Andrei IosepBy the time the buzzer went to signal the end of the first quarter the Brits were up 7-1 although by half time the score was 8-2.

Coming out strongly in the third, the Brits extended their lead to an unbeatable 16-5 and then held on in the final quarter to take the victory 18-6.

City of Manchester’s Olympian Joe O’Regan was the top scorer, hitting the target five times. Tom Curwen (Lancaster) and Sean King (Invicta) both scored four apiece. Callum Bailey (Invicta), who has returned to the squad, scored twice with Jack Waller (Invicta), Ciaran James (Lancaster) and Jake Vincent (Solihull) also making the scoresheet.

The team followed this with a strong performance against France on Friday.

Again the Brits came out strongly, taking an early lead with a long shot by Curwen then an impressive trio of deft hand flicks between James, Waller and O’Regan cumulated in a goal.

The Brits held onto the lead until the experienced French side, who went onto win the tournament, equalised in the latter stages and the game finished 8-8.

Curwen scored three goals, with O’Regan taking two and King, Waller and James one each.

In their second game of the day, the Brits put 18 goals past Moldova to win 18-7.

Playing their third game in two days, the Brits showed no signs of fatigue to dominate the game from start to finish.

Curwen scored his third hat trick of the tournament so far, with Chris Armstrong also claiming three goals.

King, Waller, Bailey and Scott Martin (making his GBR debut) all scored two goals each with O'Regan, Vincent, Jonny Kirk, who has made his return to the squad, and newcomer Joel Abbott adding their names to the scoresheet with one each.

Saturday's game against home side Slovakia was always going to be a tough challenge and the Slovaks had strengthened their squad since the Georgia qualification round in April where the team drew 5-5.

There was little between the sides in the first quarter (2-3) but the hosts pulled away before half time to extend their lead to 6-3 at the break.

The third and fourth quarters were evenly matched but the Brits couldn’t overcome their opponents and eventually lost 9-5 (2-3, 4-0, 1-0, 2–2) with James (2), Waller (1), O’Regan (1) and Curwen (1) on the scoresheet.

Finally, in their fifth match in four days, the Brits comfortably beat Denmark to finish third overall in the group behind France and Slovakia.

Ciaran James and Scott Martin both scored hat-tricks on their way to a 15-5 victory.

The Brits scored five unanswered goals in the first quarter, before Denmark started their comeback, scoring four goals in the second, for a scoreline of 6-4 at half time.

But the Brits, who have been consistently improving throughout the weekend, won the third quarter 3-0 and dominated in the fourth (6-1) to take a solid win.

King, O’Regan and Curwen scored two apiece with Abbott, Waller and Bailey scoring a goal each.

Coach Andrei Iosep said: “The squad is in great spirits and is responding well to a number of tactical plays in both attack and defence.

“The squad work very hard and it has been encouraging to see the tactical plays working.

“I am happy that we are in a good position to qualify for the next phase of the competition. We have shown the teams, officials and the Slovakian public and media that GB can play modern, innovative Water Polo.

“The squad is the youngest in recent years and we are well placed for the third round of qualification.”

Ed Scott, captain of the British Gas GBR Water Polo Men’s team, said: “I was honoured to be selected as captain for my country and I’m delighted and encouraged by the new tactical approach of our coaches.”

The third and final qualification round will be held in November.

The British Gas GBR Men’s Water Polo team comprises:

  • Ed Scott – City of Manchester/Mediterrani, SPA
  • Ciaran James – Lancaster/Catalunya, SPA
  • Jake Vincent – Solihull/Bayer Uerdingen, GER
  • Sean King – Invicta/Navarra, SPA
  • Tom Curwen – Lancaster
  • Scott Martin – Worthing/Invicta/ Lille, FRA
  • Jack Waller – Invicta/Nice, FRA
  • Chris Armstrong – Sheffield
  • Jonny Kirk – City of Manchester
  • Joel Abbott – Worthing/Sheffield
  • Callum Bailey – Invicta
  • Matt Holland – Sutton and Cheam/ Aix en Provence, FRA
  • Joe O’Regan – Manchester

Top scorers for the qualification tournament were:-

  • Tom Curwen 13
  • Joe O Regan  11
  • Sean King       9
  • Ciaran James  7
  • Jack Waller     7
  • Scott Martin    5
  • Callum Bailey  5
  • Chris Armstrong 3
  • Joel Abbott      2
  • Jake Vincent    2
  • Jonny Kirk       1

Top scorer, Tom Curwen led the squad in sending their condolences to the family of his colleague Stephen Hunt, the firefighter who tragically died, and his colleague who was injured, attending a fire in Manchester on Saturday.

Both Firefighters were from the same area as Curwen and underwent training at the same time.

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