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Tough start for British Juniors in Serbia

Great Britain’s junior women suffered a narrow defeat to Greece in their opening match of the LEN Women’s European Junior Water Polo Championships in Novi Sad, Serbia.

The British girls drew the first and fourth quarters but one-goal deficits in the middle quarters led to a 13-11 (2-2, 4-3, 4-3, 3-3) loss.

There were plenty of positives to take for the British U17s, holding their own against a country whose U19s finished third in last year’s European Junior Championships.

While the British girls finished ninth at the same tournament, five of the squad have returned to the European Junior stage this year.

And it was two of last year’s European squad – captain Annie Clapperton and Lily Turner – leading the charge in Serbia as they both scored hat-tricks.

Match action from Greece v Great Britain at the 2017 European Junior Water Polo Championships.

Whittaker and Clapperton keep score level in first quarter

Clapperton scored late in the first quarter to keep the scores level after Greece had twice taken the lead, Steph Whittaker having earlier scored GB’s first goal of the tournament on man-up.

Clapperton completed her hat-trick in the second quarter while Turner bagged her first of the game with the Brits recovering from 6-3 down to 6-5 at half-time.

Greece turned the screw at the start of the third quarter, winning and converting three penalties to establish a four-goal advantage. But the British girls stuck to their task and reduced the deficit to two with goals from Turner, Robyn Greenslade and Milly Wordley.

British team huddle against Greece in the European Junior Water Polo Championships 2017

Brits dare to dream in fourth quarter

The Brits dared to dream about a remarkable turnaround early in the fourth quarter as Turner completed her hat-trick with six minutes left on the clock, leaving the score 10-9 to the Greeks.

Two goals in the space of 90 seconds took the sting out of the Brits’ tail and saw Greece secure the win despite further British goals from Katy Cutler and Emmie-Rose Eastwood.

The Brits will fancy their chances against Romania in tomorrow’s second group game before another tough task against last year’s European U19 champions the Netherlands on Tuesday.

  • Click here to view full results from the European Junior Water Polo Championships 2017.

British team at the 2017 European Junior Water Polo Championships

  • Sophie Jackson (City of Leeds)
  • Annie Clapperton (City of Manchester)
  • Emily Pyper (Woolton SC)
  • Lily Turner (Crawley SC)
  • Steph Whittaker (City of Manchester)
  • Molly Boniface-Ashton (City of Liverpool)
  • Katy Cutler (Salisbury Stingrays ASC)
  • Amy Potter (City of Bristol SC)
  • Emmie-Rose Eastwood (City of Manchester)
  • Robyn Greenslade (Paignton SC)
  • Lauren Dundee (Stirling)
  • Milly Wordley (Exeter Water Polo)
  • Niamh Campbell-O’Donnell (City of Manchester)