The British squad ended their qualification campaign for the LEN European Junior Championships with a third place finish at East Manchester Leisure Centre over the weekend.
After winning matches on Thursday and Friday, they faced two tough games against Ukraine and Romania.
The young GB squad had quite a battle with Ukraine on Saturday, losing the match by five goals. They were full of energy throughout the match and showed great heart in the final quarter.
The team had a shaky start, with Ukraine finishing the first quarter 2-0 up. Ukraine were relentless in the second quarter as well, putting away a further three goals to have a five-goal lead. Goals from Finlay Parnell and Ben Stephenson before half time saw the British team start to claw it back.
As they approached the final quarter, the Brits had only scored one extra goal, and Ukraine had an eight-goal lead. Despite the looming defeat, GB came back strong in the final stage of the game. Goals from team captain Connor Carpenter, Dominique Zahra and a second for Stephenson saw the final score taken to 6-11 in Ukraine’s favour.
Despite losing out to Ukraine the previous day, the GB squad showed great confidence on Sunday. They confounded the Romanian attack again and again, and were strong on the counter. Although Parnell put two away in the first quarter, and Jos Winstanley scored one in the second, they were still 6-3 down at half time.
Although they played a great match, the GB team couldn’t seem to close the three-goal gap. Goals from Michael Patterson, Matthew Kendall and Parnell saw the team 9-6 down going into the final quarter.
In the last eight minutes, Michael Cousins, Maclaren Crawford and Parnell scored three times, but the Ukrainian side managed to sneak in four. This brought the score to 13-9 at the final whistle, with Romania taking the win.
The England vs Scotland senior match also took place at East Manchester Leisure Centre over the weekend.
There was almost nothing to separate the two sides throughout the match. Both sides seemed to match one another goal for goal.
At the end of the final quarter the scores were level, and England took the match in the penalty shootout. The final score was 13-12 to England.