GB edged out by USA in water polo

02 August 2012 / 21:19

Great Britain's men's water polo team were unable to record their first victory of the competition against the USA, slipping to a 13-7 defeat.

A bad start left Team GB floundering 7-0 down with less than 10 minutes played, but they fought back bravely to ensure they were not embarrassed by the Beijing silver medallists, despite losing their third successive game.

A 100% record puts the USA at the top of Group B, while the home side remain rooted to the bottom of the table with three defeats in three.

The Americans were too hot to handle in the opening quarter, powering their way to a 5-0 lead by the end of the period. Their captain Tony Azevedo scored a hat-trick within the first four minutes, and Shea Bucknor and John Mann netted two more.

Great Britain did have opportunities, but they failed to capitalise on two man-ups, and missed the chanced to score after a defensive mix-up left their opponents outnumbered at the back. The USA started the second quarter as they left off, netting another two goals.

Then came the moment the partisan crowd of 5,000 had been waiting for as Rob Parker, 24, from Cheltenham, found the top-right corner with a long-range thunderbolt to open the Team GB account. Captain Craig Figes, 33, from Bristol, clattered the woodwork for the second time in the match before the USA scored another.

Parker rose again to fire home a second - this time into the left corner - to the joy of the home crowd.

Great Britain suffered a blow as centre-back Joe O'Regan found himself collecting a third major foul, meaning he could take no further part in the game. With just 12 seconds left in the first half, Ciaran James shot low into the bottom corner to score a third for Great Britain, levelling the score for the quarter at 3-3.

But the USA still held their five-goal margin and went into the half-time break 8-3 up. The Americans' first-half tally could have been more had Team GB goalkeeper Ed Scott not pulled off some great saves.

Another Azevedo man-up goal increased the USA's goal cushion in the third period, but Team GB centre-back Jake Vincent then found the back of the net with a strong shot from distance, before James got his second a minute later from a man-up.

The USA struck again from a power-play, but Figes found the back of the net in the very last second of the period to clinch the quarter by one goal, and take the teams into the final period at 10-6. Ryan Bailey scored from a penalty for the USA in the fourth, and another from a man-up situation, before Jeff Powers squeezed a shot past Scott.

Team GB scored the final goal of the match as Parker converted a man-up to claim his hat-trick.