Baku 2015: Team GB water polo players celebrate first win

15 June 2015 / 10:47

Isabelle Dean admitted a calm approach was key as the women’s water polo team held on to record their first victory of the 2015 European Games.

Despite defeats to Greece, Germany and the Netherlands, Team GB went into Monday’s clash with Israel in confident mood of learning from their previous mistakes.

And it started off well as Mhairi Louise Nurthen got the first goal of the game inside seven minutes before the girls finished the first quarter 4-2 up.

They continued to lead at the half-way point too with two goals from Katherine Rogers plus a second for Nurthen taking the score out to 7-3.

Both Nurthen and Rogers completed their hat-tricks in the third quarter but Israel were not prepared to roll over and suddenly the pressure was on coach Nick Buller’s team with the scores at 11-9 to Team GB with four and a half minutes to play.

Thankfully two Grace Rowland efforts, the latter completing her own hat-trick, gave Team GB some breathing space as they ran out eventual 13-9 winners.

"We're really happy to win but we did make it a little bit harder than it could have been,” said Dean. “We rushed our shots a bit in some moments but obviously to get a win is really exciting for us.

"There was a bit of a panicked atmosphere [at 11-9] and we need to learn from that a bit and get better. All of us knew we were the stronger team and we just needed to stick in there.

“We tried to remain calm and remember what Nick [Buller] said and we would get the right result.

"We're looking forward to another game versus Hungary in this atmosphere which is amazing. It will be a tough game but we're certainly going to try our hardest.”

Next up for Team GB will be a clash against current Group A leaders Hungary on Tuesday with coach Buller insisting they cannot afford to rest on their laurels.

"I think the girls summed it up,” he said.  “We're pleased with the win but we can be much better than we saw today.  We need to be better at our men up conversion and we'll look back through the video and look to put that right.

"There were a lot of exclusions in the second half and they played a driving attack and we also need to be better at drive defence.  

"It was tight but the girls kicked on and showed their character, well done to them."