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Hungary for success: women’s GB team FINA Super Cup blog - final day

The 16-strong British women’s water polo team are battling for a place in the Super Final of the FINA Women’s Water Polo World League in Budapest, Hungary between 9th to 13th June. Blogging from the event is Water Polo World Class Programmes Manager Joanna Wray. On the final day they face Russia.

The grudge match was upon us. The fight for third place in the group.  Germany have beaten us twice recently but the last game only a few weeks ago in Russia finished 12-13 so we were up for beating them this time.

Q1

We started with some great defensive work by Fiona McCann in the pit and all the Germans could try was to lob the goal which Rosie easily saved. They stole the ball again and attacked but Rosie was there to keep the score at 0-0.  We then received a man up but was not able to use it to take the lead and the Germans also couldn’t use their man up.

I am so impressed with the girls throughout this tournament and I hope they go into the next round in Sicily with great confidence.

Six minutes in and the game was still 0-0, with neither team managing to finish their attacks.  Finally we did it, Angie got an exclusion and played a quick one-two with Fan L to score our first goal.  GB were 1-0 up, but the quarter wasn’t finished yet.

Hazel was kicked out to give the Germans a man up which they subsequently scored.  Again attacks for both teams came to nothing and in the last minute of the quarter Hazel got excluded from the pit to give the Germans a chance. This was followed quickly by another exclusion for Frankie meaning we were two down. 

Our defence was strong and three times they hit the post, but on the 4th attempt they managed to get the ball in the net.  End of quarter 2-1 to Germany.

Q2

Both teams were very even with attacks each way but shots were saved or hit the posts.  The Germans again managed to break the goal drought with a goal from the top.  However on our next attack a great ball into the pit led to an excellent backhand goal from Angie.  We were not going to let the Germans escape!  Another steal in the pit by Fran L led to an excellent shot from Alex Rutlidge, but with no goal the score finished at half time 4-2 to Germany.

Q3

The third quarter started with an exclusion for Fran L, however, we managed to steal the ball in their man up and went on the counter.  The very low scoring game continued with so many chances for both, Rosie helping GB to keep the score low with some great saves.  Somehow a save by Rosie managed to trickle over towards the line and the linesman gave it as a goal. 

The GB girls continued with such a good organised defence during man downs and 6-on-6, and when we pressed in the last 10 seconds we created some great counterattacks.  With the seconds counting down for this quarter we were in attack and just before the buzzer went Alex shot the ball into the back of the net.  Score for the quarter 1-2 to GB, but total score was 5-4 to Germany.

Q4

Final quarter and we were determined to win the game.  The GB team were fighting but we just couldn’t use our man ups to even up the score and go ahead.  On a German attack they shot from the top and scored. In defence shots were blocked throughout the quarter by Chloe and steals in the pit by Rosie who remained a strong goalkeeper throughout the match.

In attack we kept putting the ball in the pit but not quite managing to take full control of the ball before the defenders were all over us.  Shots by Chloe and Alex and the rest of the team continued but the game finished with a low score of 6-4 to Germany. 

Captain Fran Leighton said after the match: “I think we had a good strong game in defence and this was shown in our man down conceded. We got a good number of kicks out and the plays were good but we couldn’t just manage to finish them.  We’ve got them next week and we’ll sort it out for them!”

The match against the Germans was so nail biting, it was so close throughout the match with a goal here and a goal there.  The girls showed great teamwork in defence and have really improved working together in this way.  Even in the last few months since last going away with the girls in March I can see such an improvement in their play. 

I am so impressed with the girls throughout this tournament and I hope they go into the next round in Sicily with great confidence.  The girls are now playing at this top level with Russia, Germany, Hungary and Italy, and although some of the scores didn’t look so good on paper, the matches were excellent and we were always in the games.

Statistics

Scorers: Angie 2, Fiona 1, Alex 1
Man up converted: 1/11
Man down conceded: 2/10
Saves: 15

GB Team

Rosemary Morris (City of Liverpool), Robyn Nicholls (City of Manchester), Frances Leighton (City of Sheffield), Chloe Wilcox (City of Manchester), Hazel Musgrove (City of Liverpool), Francesca Clayton (City of Liverpool), Lisa Gibson (City of Manchester), Angela Winstanley-Smith (City of Manchester), Fiona McCann  (City of Liverpool), Alexandra Rutlidge (City of Manchester), Rachel Drabble (City of Liverpool), Rebecca Kershaw (City of Manchester), Francesca Snell (West London Penguins), Victoria Bowen (City of Sheffield), Jade Smith (City of Manchester), Aine Hoy (City of Manchester)

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