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Rob Parker blog - June

Follow Rob Parker’s journey as he competes for club and country playing Water Polo around the world. One of the members of the British Team, powered by British Gas, Rob shares his experiences of life on tour.

After returning from Oz I went straight back up to training in Manchester for a week before we headed to a pre-tournament warm up in Turkey. After returning from Oz I went straight back up to training in Manchester for a week before we headed to a pre-tournament warm up in Turkey.

In this friendly tournament we played Belarus and Ukraine which were both fairly good wins for us. The final game was against Turkey who had won the European B's where we had finished 4th so we knew it was going to be tough. The game started well and the first half was closely contested, but we let a couple of easy goals in and they snuck a win.
Three days later we had the European A qualifiers and we were in a tough group with Romania, Russia and the Dutch! Our first game was against the Romanians and we suffered a heavy loss. We simply weren't there and all the team was very down and disappointed.
Our game was a lot better on day when we played Russia the next day. We stayed with them and although they edged the win we felt we had definitely made an improvement from the day before.
The final game was against the Dutch, previously we had won and lost one against them in the European B's. Scott Carpenter had returned back to Oz and as one of our attacking threats we knew things would be hard. The game was very close as expected but due to missing some important chances, and them scoring, we ended up losing by two goals. After the last game we drove to Budapest airport and I flew straight back to Oz to play in the finals of the league.
I arrived at 6am and went straight to bed for a few hours before our first game at 1pm. We were playing against Freemantle, the winners of the league, so we knew we were in for a hard game. We played very well and all the systems we had worked on came off and we won by two goals. The second game was at 6pm so we had some rest before coming back together. Winning this game would mean we were straight in to the semis and would have two days off - exactly what I needed after so much traveling!
We dominated the game and were easy winners. We played Drummoyne in the semi-finals: our closest rivals. We started very well and were 4-1 up first quarter but from there things got worse. They strung a few goals together and we didn't reply, it ended in loss everyone was gutted.
We went through to the bronze medal match where we had to play Freemantle again. We beat them for the second time to claim the bronze medal which seemed very irrelevant after the loss in the semi.  After the finals I stayed a few more days then I had to return to England as we had a tournament in Georgia which I was selected for.
The British team travelled to Georgia two days before the tournament started but we were missing our captain Craig Figes and centre back Thomas Curwen. We had to play Ukraine on the first day and we took a comfortable win in the end although they did put up a fight in the last quarter.
We then had to play Belarus the next day and we had lost another player from the team due to illness: Scott Carpenter. We played well and I had one of those games where you can't miss and bagged eight. The last game was against the Georgians. It was very physical and close for its entirety but a few controversial calls from the refs gave Georgia the advantage. We lost in the last quarter by two goals and Georgia won the tournament as a result. I got awarded Most Valuable Player of the tournament along with Top Goal Scorer.

I’m now back in Manchester for more hard training and looking for clubs to go and play professionally abroad next year.

European Champs 2016