Carshalton's Matt Holland's water polo medal hopes doubtful after loss
8:40am Monday 30th July 2012 in Sport
Jack Waller’s late goal was not enough for the British water polo side as they suffered a 13-4 defeat to Romania in their opening match of the Olympic Games.
West Wickham’s Sean King started for the host nation while there was more London interest in the squad as Carshalton’s Matthew Holland and Enfield-born Waller lined up in reserve.
This was the first time Team GB had competed in the water polo at Olympic level since the Melbourne Games of 1956 having been awarded a place as the host nation.
Romania meanwhile had earned their place through the qualifying process and looked strong from the opening.
Both sides had their chances early on but it was the Romanians who opened the scoring three minutes into the first period.
Alexandru Matei did the damage before the shot-clock hit zero and the Romanians continued to attack in search of a second.
Ramiro Georgescu looked set to double the lead but his powerful downward effort was blocked at the foot of the post.
However, with Britain failing to clear their lines, the Romanians continued to pose a threat and they duly pounced, with Tiberiu Negrean netting in the middle of the goal.
The British response was immediate though and, as they pressed forward, they were awarded a penalty which skipper Craig Figes scored, halving the deficit at the end of the first period.
Romania were very much on top in the second quarter as they added a further four unanswered goals to increase their advantage to 6-1 at the half-time interval.
Kalman Kadar struck first before a double from Nicolae Diaconu put plenty of breathing space between the two sides.
Georgescu got himself on the scoresheet after his earlier miss and to compound a miserable eight minutes for Team GB, Figes was handed the chance to pull one back with another penalty but the Romanian keeper proved up to the challenge.
Britain looked brighter in the third period with Figes going close to bringing his side back into the contest.
The captain cleverly worked some space but saw his effort from the left blocked well by Romanian ‘keeper Dragos Stoenescu.
Shortly after, Dimitri Goanta netted and it was 8-1 within minutes as Diaconu claimed his hat-trick following a fast break.
King was a matter of inches away from bagging Team GB’s second of the night when his powerful effort rebounded back off the post but the Romanians soon quashed expectation levels in the crowd again as Negrean made it a personal brace.
The biggest cheer of the night was soon to follow as Britain put a stop to a run of seven straight Romanian goals.
Rob Parker was the main to do the damage and he struck again minutes later, beating Stoenescu with a fierce effort from distance, bringing the scores to 9-3 in Romania’s favour at the end of the third period.
However, there was to be no fairytale comeback in the final quarter as Romania completed the job to leave Britain beaten.
Goals from Andrei Iosep, Diaconu, Matei and skipper Cosmin Radu followed meaning Waller’s late effort was mere consolation for the host nation.
Romania: Stoenescu, Radu, Negrean, Diaconu, Iosep, Busila, Matei, Chioveanu, Goanta, Georgescu, Ghiban, Kadar, Dragusin.
Team GB: Scott, James, Robinson, King, Figes, Waller, Parsonage, Vincent, Parker, Vincent, Scholefield, Ryder, O’Regan, Holland.