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Dedicated team bid to reach European Junior Water Polo Championships

Great Britain’s dedicated U17s water polo team are ready to test the value of their hard work as they begin their bid to qualify for the Men’s European Junior Water Polo Championships.

Fifteen players are in the squad that have travelled to Maribor, Slovenia, for matches against Russia, Romania, Slovenia and Austria between 24-27 June.

The prize on offer is a spot at the rescheduled European Championships in Malta in September.

Skipper George Glover said the team were proud to be given the chance to represent their country and show what they could do in the qualifying matches.

He added: “Despite the difficult circumstances our squad has had to deal with over the last 18 months, we are all eager to showcase the hard work we have all had to commit to inside and outside the pool. 

“I am very excited to be leading the squad in Slovenia and know that the squad are proud to be representing GB.”

The squad prepared for their matches by taking part in a week-long training camp in Walsall, where they worked on defensive and attacking play.

Deserve praise

Claudio Palumbo, head coach, said: “I am very satisfied with the work done by the guys who deserve praise for their dedication in this difficult moment. 

“Splitting effort between high-level sports and school commitments after bearing the brunt of the lockdown was not easy, and now the most difficult challenge awaits us.

“In the upcoming tournament we play opponents that are historically very strong at the youth level but we will not be caught unprepared and will go out to play with the spirit of the outsider. 

“It will be nice to test the value of our work in the Maribor tournament.”

Terri Halstead, team manager, added: “After all of the squad’s hard work in lockdown, I am delighted that we will have the opportunity to compete in Slovenia. 

“I am so proud of all of the squad’s dedication, discipline and motivation in this incredibly difficult period.”

All games are streamed live on YouTube and can be viewed by clicking on the fixtures below.

The Great Britain U17s team competing in the European Championships qualifying tournament:

  • Joe Ashworth (Bristol)
  • Harry Bentham (Manchester)
  • James Blenkinship (Manchester)
  • Jamie Bond (Worthing)
  • Corran Bradley (South Derbyshire, Sheffield)
  • Frankie Docking-Smith (Bridgefield)
  • Aarav Ganguli (Beckenham)
  • George Glover (Worcester, Cheltenham)
  • Max Hubrich (Beckenham, Penguin)
  • Charles Kingsmill (Penguin)
  • Josh Luff (Penguin)
  • Theo Pliner (Penguin)
  • Reuben Powell (Exeter)
  • Andre Savic (Penguin)
  • Ben Urquhart (Sheffield)

Supporting staff

  • Head coach: Claudio Palumbo
  • Assistant coaches: John Halstead, Steve Bond and Dariusz Kadziak
  • S&C: Callum Benson
  • Sports psychologists:  Lucy Ballinger and Laura Kiemle-Gabbay