Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Water Brave Performance

Hopperational details
Date & Venues
Monday 6 August 2012 at the Water Polo Arena in the Olympic Park
The Olympic Games – London 2012
Men’s Water Polo group stage games:
GB v Montenegro & Spain v Italy
Third Olympic sport seen live, first time watching water polo live, first visit to the Olympic Park
Great Britain 4-13 Montenegro
Spain 7-10 Italy
This day in one sentence
A walk in the Park followed by water polo viewed from a seat vacated by a member of the Olympic Family.
So what?
Loving the Olympics.  That is all.
The drama unfolds
The arena gave a warm welcome to the Great Britain water polo team, who were playing their final match of the tournament.  They were not expected to trouble Montenegro, and so it proved.  They won the first swim sprint which starts the game, though, for one of the biggest cheers of the night.  The game consists of four quarters of eight minutes.  The teams have 30 seconds to execute a shot on goal.  Referees can exclude a player for 20 seconds for certain infringements.  First impressions are of a lung-bursting and surprisingly physical sport!

My first clip shows the Montenegro team getting on the scoresheet in the first quarter – they opened up a 3-0 lead before Adam Scholefield got GB’s first goal.  1-4 at the end of Q1

The second quarter followed a similar pattern – Glen Robinson and Rob Parker scored for GB but the visitors added four goals of their own.  3-8 at the end of Q2

Here’s the start of the third quarter.

There were no goals for six minutes until a superb reverse flick from Craig Figes pulled one back for GB.  However, they conceded a penalty and one more almost immediately.  5-10 at the end of Q3

Penalty for Montenegro
Montenegro’s 11th goal was controversial – the shot seemed to be executed after a whistle and the GB defence made no attempt to block it.  The coach (Christian Iordache) protested and earned a yellow card.  Montenegro added two more and, as shown in the final clip, Rob Parker missed a penalty as the time ran out.  Final score 4-13

The Montenegro team therefore finish second in the group and would face either Italy or Spain in the next round – a number of their players soon took up seats nearby to size up their potential opposition.  Italy and Spain were already sure of qualification, but their match would decide group placings.

Italy scored twice, including one penalty, in the first quarter, and had four on the board before Spain got their first.  They pulled back to 3-5 but Italy scored again before the break, and they increased the gap to 4-8 by the end of the third.  In the final quarter, Italy scored from distance to keep the gap at three, and though Spain briefly closed to 7-9, Italy added another long-ranger for a good win. Final score 7-10

The clip is from the closing moments - if Spain were to make a comeback it needed to be now... but Italy were untroubled and held on.  They leapfrogged into second place.

What Next?
Women’s Basketball quarter-finals tomorrow (Tuesday) … regular FA Cup groundhopping scheduled for Saturday next at Sleaford Town.

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