Clapperton winner seals dramatic win over Slovakia

Annie Clapperton’s last gasp winner handed Great Britain’s women a crucial win over Slovakia at the European U19 Water Polo Championships in The Hague.

The 16-year old Stretford SC player fired home with less than 10 seconds left on the clock to secure a 7-6 (1-3, 1-2, 1-1, 4-0) win.

Victory ensures the British women finish second in their group behind title contenders Italy, and face a playoff with Serbia for a spot in Friday’s quarter finals.

It was also sweet revenge for the British team, 10 of whom played in a 10-9 defeat to Slovakia’s senior squad at June’s EU Nations Cup in Prague.

The Brits came into the game off a morale-boosting 27-6 defeat of Bulgaria, but were slow out of the blocks, with City of Manchester’s Isobel Howe the only British goalscorer in the opening quarter.

Slovakia moved further ahead in the second quarter, establishing a 5-2 lead with Otter’s Hannah Patchett finding net for GB.

Brits wrestle momentum in the second half

The Brits began to wrestle momentum in the third period, with Patchett notching her second of the match from long range.

With the score at 6-3 heading into the final quarter, the British women still had plenty to do to recover the deficit.

Clapperton began the comeback early in the quarter before Howe claimed her second of the game.

With 90 seconds left, Otter player Izzy Dean found home with a bounce shot to leave the match hanging in the balance in the final minute.

And Clapperton completed the comeback in the final seconds, finding space in front of goal and firing home emphatically.

Great Britain face Serbia on Thursday 15 September. The winners will take on Group D winners Greece on Friday.

British team for the European Women’s U19 Water Polo Championships 2016

Image credit: England Water Polo Flickr