Tony Strong blogs from the Men’s match against Georgia
The British Men’s Water Polo Team, powered by British Gas, arrived in Tblisi, Georgia, in good spirits after a successful friendly against a select Dutch team.
The team trained in the new Olympic pool knowing that it was important to start well in their first round match against Georgia especially as a big crowd and TV were expected.
The game started at 20.30 local time with a large crowd cheering the local team on, and the Georgians quickly showed their strength and experience as they took a 3-0 lead.
The Brits took advantage of a man-up situation and Scott Carpenter scored but the Georgians struck back almost straight away with a penalty and a five meter shot to finish the quarter 5-1.
Almost cruising, the Georgians were passing the ball around with ease and although they didn't score they were looking a lot sharper than the British men. Only a moment of brilliance from goalkeeper Matt Holland, saving another Georgian penalty, prevented the local team from extending their lead further.
Half time saw the score still at 5-1 to Georgia. The home crowd were really getting behind their team and they came out for the third quarter and scored another penalty. This was matched with another man-up goal scored by Scott Carpenter and the team were starting to pick up with noticeable performances from team captain Craig Figes, who tirelessly tried to pick the team up and work the game plan that had served so well in Zeist, Netherlands.
At the start of the fourth quarter the score stood at 6-2 and a win was still in reach of the team, especially as they had scored four unanswered goals against the Georgians in Lugano the last time they met.
Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be on this occasion and the Georgian team, clearly inspired by their home advantage, scored twice quickly.
Britain did manage to pull a goal back from a five metre shot by the skipper Craig Figes but in the last minute the Georgians scored one more to finish the game 9-3.
After the game the team were devastated to have not come away with the result, especially having looked so sharp in Holland.
Head coach Cristian Iordache said this result does not mean we won't qualify for the next round but it will make life very difficult to progress.
British goal scorers; Scott Carpenter 2 Craig Figes 1.
The team assemble again on Nov 15th to prepare for the next group match against Greece at Manchester Aquatics Centre on Nov 20th.
For details on tickets and timings of the match, click here.