Two Penguins, Elliot McHugh and Toby Roberts, travelled to Rijeka in Croatia last week with the GB Men’s U19 team to compete in the H20 Polo Cup, bringing home a bronze medal.
The national squad of 16 players, coached by Chelmsford’s Dean Walker and assistant coach Kevin Swainson, is building towards the European Qualifiers in May 2020.
Alongside a busy schedule of training and matches, Elliot found time to send us this report…
After an early 4am wake up and flight from London Stanstead, we headed straight for the pool, spending two hours in the evening with local club VK Primorje, who were our hosts.
As the week progressed we were in the water twice a day for two hours; once in the morning, and once in the evening, focusing on swimming, leg strength and technical work.
By Friday, it was competition time. We endured a tough start to the tournament, with a 17-7 defeat to Szentes from Hungary, who were looking well-drilled since arriving, although Toby did manage to find the back of the net early in Quarter 1.
Friday night saw another defeat against hosts VK Primorje, but we remained positive, waking up on Saturday with the objective of winning at any cost against Belgium.
Although GB and Belgium were at an 8-8 draw by the end of quarter 3, we gave a final push for the win, and I saved a penalty. Final score: 14 goals against the Belgians’ 10.
This trip not only allowed each of us to gain invaluable experience and learn new skills in the pool while competing against top sides, but it was also a great opportunity for the team to gel, bringing together players from clubs across England, Scotland and Wales and strengthening the water polo community.
It was a great confidence boost to return home with a victory. Go Penguin and go GB!