Great Britain’s, including Lancaster player Katie Hesketh, were next faced with a crossover match against the team that came second in group 3 -Uzbekistan. This game was for a place in the quarter finals of the world championships, a position that GB had never before been in. The game took place in the outdoor pool in the evening of Thursday the 22nd August. The girls were hopeful as they had played well up to this point.
The first quarter started well with GB finishing it 4-0 up. They continued to press the Uzbecks effectively in the second quarter and scored 4 more goals- Katie netting two of the goals. GB were also defending well and pushing the opposition up the pool. Again the GB team looked well organised and played well as a team. At half time GB were leading 8-1 and looking good for a quarter final spot. The second half again started well with a quick goal from Katie. GB scored 2 further goals and conceded just one more against a tiring Uzbekistan seven. This had given coach Nick Hulme a chance to play some players who had not had much water time and they repaid his faith and the game finished 18- 2. GB were now in the quarter finals for the first time ever.
The quarter finalists were GB, Hungary, Greece, USA, Spain, Russia, Italy and Australia so GB were in good company!
The quarter final game turned out to be against the host nation Greece – and it was going to be broadcast live on the main Greek TV channel! The Greek team being one of the tournament favorites the GB girls were quite nervous- especially as there was a capacity crowd of more than a thousand people watching the game. Unfortunately the Greek girls started at a very high intensity level and raced to a 9-0 lead at half time. The GB girls rallied well and the second half was much closer- with GB scoring 5 goals to the Greeks 7. The final score being 16-5. Katie scored 2 of the GB goals. The Greek team eventually won the bronze medal.
The following day GB continued in uncharted territory with a playoff game against Hungary- who they played the first match against. GB again started well and the score at the end of the first quarter was 3-3, Katie scoring one of the goals. The Hungarians pushed hard in the second quarter and won it 5-0 taking the score to 8-3. GB continued to push and managed to score 2 more goals. The final score being 13-3. Katie contributing 2 goals in the match.
Sunday saw the final game of the tournament for GB a 7th/8th playoff game against Australia – the bronze medalists from the 2012 junior worlds. This was again a tough game GB eventually going down 14- 3, Katie scoring all 3 goals.
Overall GB came 8th in the world – a first for a GB women s team. The team had played well throughout a very tough tournament. Katie said “I am so proud of all the girls on the team, from the players and coaches that have been with us for the past 4 year and to the new juniors and staff, you’ve all made this trip one of the most memorable. This was the last time we as a team will be playing together all I can say is it has been a pleasure playing and getting to know you all. So thank you very much”
Thanks from Lancaster to all of the team staff coaches Nick Hulme and Sue Webb, team manager Eileen Selvey, physio Leanne Stafford and Abi Clarkson – video.
Lancaster are rightly proud of Katie who was GBs top scorer in the competition with 13 goals.