Hello, since my last blog I have been away competing at World League in Barcelona and Athens. I wrote last time that we wanted to use World League to close the gap between ourselves and some of the top teams in the world and I think we definitely achieved that.
Our first game in Barcelona was a historic victory – beating 2010 European silver medallists, Greece, for the first time ever! We did it in style too, coming back from 6-9 down at the end of the third quarter, to win 10-9. Then we had a couple of really close matches against Hungary and Spain. In both games it was just one quarter that let us down. Against Hungary we lost the first quarter 6-1 but went on to have an even game with a final score of 14-9. It was the same against Spain where we were 11-11 at the end of the third quarter but ended up losing the match 16-11. On paper both those results were really good, but at the time we felt very disappointed and frustrated.
After Barcelona we returned to Manchester for three days of training before flying out to 30 degrees C (and an outdoor pool) in Athens for the second round of World League. It’s incredible how keen we all are to stay in longer when we are training outdoors, especially in Greece; it was beautiful!
We were feeling really positive from the previous weekend’s results and we were so determined to beat Spain in our first match (our third time playing them within a month). Although we fought hard to the end this time, we couldn’t quite do it, losing 11-8. Still, it was our best result against Spain ever. The next day we had a really close fight against Greece but home team advantage paid off and they pipped us to victory this time with a final score of 10-8.
After World League we had a much deserved week off training. I worked for the first couple of days then headed off to Nice for a few days of tanning! Last year we had a one month summer holiday in July but Szilvester has decided that it’s now too close to the Olympics for us to take that much time off in one go so instead we are having four separate rest weeks throughout the year.
After the relaxation of Nice it was soon back to the reality of rainy Manchester for training. However, next week we are off to Rome for a training camp with the Italian National team. This is in preparation for our next Euro Qualifier match against Spain in Spain at the end of this month. We currently sit second on the Euro Qualifier table behind Spain so it would be nice to have our first win against them and knock them off the top spot, especially on their home turf!
I’ll let you know how we’ve got on next time.