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Junior updates from the Slowianka Cup

24th April 2013

Catch up with the British Gas GBR Under 17 Men’s Water Polo team as they take on European rivals at the Slowianka Cup in Gorzow, Poland.

DAY ONE - 18th April

Our GBR U17 team left Liverpool airport on Wednesday to compete in the annual Slowianka Cup in Gorzow, Poland.

The team, Coached by Csaba Rull arrived in the early hours of Thursday AM via Berlin airport. Thursday morning saw a light training session in the pool before the opening ceremony in the afternoon for the competing teams; Poland, Moldova, Belarus, Czech Republic, Ukraine and GBR.

The Czech coach complimented our coaching team on how well the team played.

Our first game was against the favourites Ukraine. GBR scored the first goal, matching their opponents in all departments ending the quarter 1-1. GBR took the lead again early in the second quarter only to be pegged back again and ended the second quarter 5-3 down.

The third saw GBR concede five goals to be 10-3 down. Despite the scoreline Ukraine knew they were in a match and conceded a ‘brutality’ which sparked a GBR comeback of four unanswered goals halfway through the last quarter. Each side then scored two more goals, giving the match to the Ukraine, 12-9.

Looking at the statistics the Ukrainians - known for their physicality - conceded 13 majors with GBR only committing three. GBR had six different scorers to their opponents three and we also missed a couple of penalties. A tough first match for our team but a great performance with the Czech coach complimenting our coaching team of Csaba, Doug Litt and Jill Trafford on how well the team played.

We have a training session on Friday morning before another tough game against Belarus, in the evening, who also are a tough physical side.

DAY TWO - 19th April

In the morning GB had a second training session which concentrated shooting and man up/down. Today’s game saw GB play Belarus who won convincingly on the first day against the Czech Republic. Belarus were a typically big team which helps our preparation for the European Qualifiers in May.

GB were looking to add a win to the good performance, but loss, on the first day. A good start was essential and GB made it with four first quarter goals to end it 4-0 up. Two further goals saw GB lead 6-0 half-way through the 2nd Qtr. GB’s goals were a mix of pit, counter and shots from the arc. But Belarus pulled two goals back at the end of the Qtr.

Like yesterday the third Qtr saw GB lose the momentum of the game conceding four and scoring only one. The score was 7-6 going into the final quarter and Belarus had their tails up, only to be destroyed in the last period with five unanswered goals.

Belarus had their tails up, only to be destroyed in the last period with five unanswered GB goals.

GB scored two goals early to wrestle back the momentum and, as Belarus chased the game, GB scored on the counter to win 12-6. Csaba Rull, Head Coach, had been urging his team to greater efforts but then to control the game as the GB goals went in. It was a great win played against a physical side. GB had seven different scorers and only conceded one major.

During the after-match celebrations Doug Litt, Assistant Coach, slipped on the poolside. In great pain, he was taken off to hospital where a dislocated elbow was diagnosed and re-set. He spent the night in hospital with his arm in plaster. Best wishes for Doug with this very painful injury.

Tomorrow sees a day with two games. First up is the hosts Poland buoyed by their win 10-4 against the Czech Republic. A dangerous team that GB will need to beat. Later in the day is Moldova who narrowly lost 7-9 to the Ukraine today.

The team, and coaching staff, are in high spirits after today's performance and win. A few niggles is keeping Jill Trafford, Team Manager, busy.  A good night's rest now needed for tomorrows two games.

Day Three - 20th April

Saturday was an important day with two games for all teams. First up was the hosts Poland. Backed by a large crowd the first competition was the singing of the National Anthems.

If it was a singing contest these two teams would have won gold and silver! Both sang with volume, pride and passion.

This continued for both teams into the game with Poland taking the lead but GB fought back, taking the first quarter 2-1. GB scored the first two goals in the second to lead 4-1 before Poland pulled one back just before half time.

Most teams would expect to win most games when only conceding seven goals, but not today.

Both teams attacked well in the third but GB looked more assured in defense, leading at the end of the third quarter 7-4. GB eased into a 10-5 lead in the final quarter before Poland pulled one back just before the final whistle. GB won this game 10-6 with six different scorers. It was a hard-fought win as Poland tried up to the final whistle to their credit.

Later the same day was the encounter with the Moldovans. This was going to be the match likely to determine the second and third place finishers in the tournament.

It was a tough physical game from the first to last whistle with not much between the teams. The first quarter was a 1-1 draw but GB lost the second to trail 3-1 at half time. Defenses were on top in this game backed by great goalkeeping on both sides. In fact, the Moldovan goalie was awarded ‘best goalkeeper’ of the tournament.

GB lost both the third and fourth quarters 2-1 to be defeated 7-3. The GB boys gave their all with Csaba Rull (Head Coach) trying different tactics to break the differing defense down.

Most teams would expect to win most games when only conceding seven goals, but not today. The match programme favored the Moldovans as they played the weak Czech Republic in the morning enabling their important players to be rested.

By going to this tournament the aim was to play well and learn – this match was a hard but good lesson on how to play against a well-organised defense and tournament play with two games in one day.

Day Four - 21st April

Sunday’s opponents were the Czech Republic and it was an easy game against a young side. GB again showed the array of attacking talent with seven different scorers, winning the quarters 4-0, 4-0, 1-0 & 5-0 to win the match 14-0.

All of the opposing team's coaches complimented Csaba and the GB team on the way they played as a team. This was the "best GB junior team he had seen" was the comment from one coach.

The results of the tournament were Ukraine (15pts), Moldova (12pts), GB (9pts), Belarus (6pts), Poland (3pts) and Czech Republic (0pts).

The achievement was announced to passengers on the flight home to a cheer by all on board!

Tom Grieve was awarded most valuable player of the tournament for Great Britain. The team were presented with a trophy that they proudly showed off in the airport and the achievement was announced to the passengers on the flight home to a cheer by all on board!

The team learned many lessons including that these Europeans can be beaten but it takes a united team as well as individual effort. Bring on the European Qualifiers in May over in Istanbul, Turkey!

We would like to thank the organisation by our hosts of the competition together with Csaba, Doug and Jill for their determined leadership and support of the team preparing them mentally and physically for the Slowianka Cup 2013!

GB Team at Slowianka Cup 2013

  • Dylan Green (GK)
  • Tom Grieve
  • Tom Whiting
  • Jordan Elliot
  • Sam Routledge (captain)
  • Andy Robinson
  • Lewis Daly
  • Lewis Jones
  • Joshua Inwood
  • James Salt
  • Will Rayson
  • Joel Leighton
  • Stephen Williams (GK)
  • Adam Toone
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