Great Britain’s U19 men faced Greece, Ukraine and Lithuania as Manchester hosted Group C of the LEN European U19 Water Polo Championships Qualifying Tournaments 2018.
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Game 1 GBR v Lithuania
Great Britain’s U19s opened their European Qualifying campaign with a powerful 22-7 (5-3, 6-1, 6-1, 5-2) victory over Lithuania here in Manchester.
Captain Matt Madden led from the front with four stunning goals from distance, while Ben Riding and Christopher Sturtevant fired in hat-tricks as GB ran out comfortable winners.
Lithuania struggled to find a way through GB’s strong press and the home team took advantage of their superior strength and counter attack to dominate the second and third quarters.
A fantastic team performance and start to the tournament for the hosts, with 10 different outfield players on the scoresheet.
Teams and scorers:
Great Britain: Manley, Madden (4), Barker-Smith (1), Hutchens (2), Carpenter (2), Sturtevant (3), Riding (3), Jenkins-Delf (2), Pratt (1), Ray, Wass (2), Patterson (2), Moores.
Lithuania: Kerevicius, Vasiliunas (2), Daniunas (1), Pumputis, Bereisa (1), Kizys, Blazevic (1), Vaisvila Mar, Zurza (2), Luksys, Vaisvila Mak, Ilekys, Gagys. Coach: Simanskas
Game 2 GBR v Ukraine
Great Britain’s U19s kept their European qualification hopes alive after a dramatic 7-7 (2-2, 2-1, 2-3, 1-1) tie with Ukraine here in Manchester.
At the end of a physical encounter, GB were unfortunate not to take the victory after Chris Sturtevant hit his fourth of the match to put the hosts 7-6 ahead with 1.49 left to play.
Thomas Manley then came up with a huge late save to keep GB in front, but it wasn’t to be as Ukraine levelled from the corner with a shot from distance.
Prior to all the late drama, the woodwork saved Ukraine on several occasions in the final exchanges and Sturtevant saw his penalty expertly saved as GB threw everything they had at their opponents.
GB now needed to regroup and get a positive result against Greece, or better Ukraine’s tournament goal difference (should they beat Lithuania), in tomorrow’s deciders in order to qualify.
Full squads and scorers:
Great Britain: Manley, Madden, Barker-Smith, Hutchens, Carpenter, Sturtevant (4), Riding (2), Jenkins-Delf, Pratt (1), Ray, Wass, Patterson, Moores. Coach: King
Ukraine: Babskyi, Osyka, Bakshenyev, Pohosian (1), Ivakhno (1), Shmihel, Kryvolapov (1), Bazhynov, Gusakov (2), Alieksieiev (2), Navolokov, Kechedzhy, Beziazychnyi. Coach: Koltochikhin
Game 3 GBR v Greece
Huge celebrations here in Manchester as Great Britain’s U19s have qualified for this summer’s European Championships in Belarus after finishing second in Group C.
Coach Sean King raised his arms and hugged each of his players as their 14-2 (5-1, 4-1, 1-0, 4-0) defeat to Greece was enough to beat Ukraine to the final qualifying place on goal difference.
GB started their decisive third match knowing they needed to not lose by 17 or more goals and their defence held firm to ensure they will be heading to Minsk in August.
Goalkeeper Thomas Manley made several sensational saves for GB, while captain Matt Madden and Chris Sturtevant fired home to help spark the jubilant scenes.
Well played, lads – a massive achievement – and a huge thanks for all the fantastic support here in Manchester and online.
Full squads and scorers GB v Greece:
Great Britain: Manley, Madden (1), Barker-Smith, Hutchens, Carpenter, Sturtevant (1), Riding, Jenkins-Delf, Pratt, Ray, Wass, Patterson, Moores. Coach: King
Greece: Dalmaras, Papageorgoiu (2), Alafragkis, Gkiouvetsis (2), Nikolaidis (2), Papanastasiou (1), Kakaris (3), Rompopoulos, Chalyvopoulos I, Chalyvopoulos A (2), Agiorgousis, Dimou (2), Piovan. Coach: Lorantos
Great Britain Tournament Scorers Overall:
Chris Sturtevant (8), Matt Madden (5), Ben Riding (5), Tom Hutchens (3), Joe Jenkins-Delf (2), John Pratt (2), Isaac Wass (2), Michael Patterson (2), Harrison Barker-Smith (1) & Connor Carpenter (1)
University water polo competitions in the UK are provided by 2 organisations...
August is traditionally a quiet month on the domestic competition front as teams enjoy some downtime in advance of the start of the BWPL in September. It is great to see that many teams have been on tour. Six players from Newton Abbot were invited on a trip to Ter Apel in the Netherlands to play in the 53rd Zepta Water Polo tournament with Devonport Royal. Over the weekend the girls played in a number of matches with the Devonport Dragons coming first place in their group,