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Great Britain 'worked hard as a team' in narrow defeat to Olympic-bound China

A much improved Great Britain fell to a 15-10 defeat by China in the semi-finals of the 9-12 place playoffs at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha.

After pushing world champions the Netherlands to the limit in the round of 16, China were favourites for the victory but Great Britain worked hard and defended strongly to make it into a close contest at the Aspire Dome.

The Asian Games champions started the game strongly, punishing Great Britain by converting three man-up opportunities inside the opening quarter.

The British team stood firm however and defended as a team, blocking numerous shots to stop the Chinese from putting the game beyond reach.

At the other end GB converted 40% of their shots across the match-up with a backhand strike from Annie Clapperton and a long range effort from captain Kathy Rogers kept the game to within two goals at 4-2 after the opening quarter.

Lily Turner was the star of the British attack, netting four times, with her first goal coming right at the start of the second quarter. Her strike and quick-fire double from Katy Cutler helped to keep the GB attack rolling as they continued to put pressure on the experienced Chinese side.

China’s patience eventually paid off however as they managed to extend the advantage to four by the end of the first half with three unanswered goals to close out the first half.

“A great experience”

Great Britain were not going to give up however with Turner responding at the start of a low scoring third period where China were able to further their lead by one to five.

Turner then completed her hat trick after her long range effort cannoned off the crossbar and dropped to the Chinese defence. The Ethnikos Piraeus athlete reacted quickly however and stole the ball straight back and made no mistake with the second attempt as she found the top left hand corner.

In an even final period, a smart pass inside allowed Clapperton to get her second after Brooke Tafazolli continued her run of scoring in each match at the World Championships so far. Turner rounded out the British scoring with her fourth from the penalty spot to bring the gap to just three with just over two minutes left to play.

It could have meant for a nervy end to the game but China kept their composure, converting a penalty at the other end before Jing Zhang completed her hat trick in the final second to give her team a 15-10 victory.

Speaking after the match, Turner told World Aquatics: “I’m happy that we worked really hard today as a team. We came into this game knowing that we could push them and we really wanted to get a good result today heading into the next game.

“We talked about being controlled and patient in our offence. Winning is always the objective but their six on five was great today and they have some really good shooters.

“This tournament is a great experience, a lot of us have never been to a World Championships before so we’re all just loving the journey. We’re gonna try take this physicality, intensity and the focus we had today and really take it to Kazakhstan.”

Great Britain’s final match will be the 11-12th place match with Kazakhstan which will take place at 6:00am UK time on Wednesday 14 February while China will take on New Zealand in the battle for ninth place.

All the details of how to watch and follow the remainder of Great Britain’s fixtures in Doha can be found here.

Images: World Aquatics