Lancaster player Katie Hesketh went to Volos, Greece last week in order to compete in the 2013 womens under 20 world championships. The previous best by a British team in this event is 12th place- the Brits target was to try to get into the quarter finals and guarantee a place in the top 8 in the world. Katie, who is currently training at Manchester with the senior womens team, has already represented GB at 3 European Championships in the Ukraine, Spain and in Russia last year where they qualified for the worlds.
GBs group was a very tough one with Hungary (with 5 Olympic and Senior World Championship players), Russia (current European champions again with several senior Worlds players) and Brazil (again several players who were at senior worlds). Their first game was on Monday against Hungary. Katie played most of the geame and scored the opening goal giving GB a 1-0 lead. The strength of the Hungarian team eventually told and after a hard fight they eventually came out on top 13-5.
The second game was the crucial one for GB. They had to beat Brazil to guarantee a third place in the group and an easier cross- over game. The British team however had a poor start and conceded 3 goals in the first quarter and another at the start of the second. Following that the team began to pull back and eventually going into the fourth quarter were only one goal down at 5-6. GB then scored at the start of the first quarter leading to a very tense period with good chances for both teams- Jade Smith in making some good saves. Ella Chadderton (Manchester) scored 4 goals. The game finished 6-6. This meant that GB had to have a better result against Russia than Brazil who had lost 16-4 to qualify third in the group and make the cross over games for the quarter finals.
The next day saw an understandably nervous GB squad face Russian in the indoor pool. They needed to keep the goal difference in the game below 12. The game started very tight with Russia scoring after a minute. Katie scored with a shot from the arc with a minute to go and the quarter finished 2-1 to Russia- good enough. The second quarter finished 1-6 after a strong Russian performance so the result was in the balance.
This is where the fitness of the GB team was important following their 3 weeks of full time training prior to the event. They rallied well scoring 2 more goals in the quarter and restricting the score to 10-3 meaning they had 5 goals in hand. GB continued to play a tight defense and this meant that they finished the game 13-3 – a goal difference of 10 so they qualified third in the group and were due to play the second team in group B to qualify for the quarter finals.
Part two coming soon