World Aquatics Women’s Water Polo World Cup Division II, Berlin
Great Britain’s senior women put in some impressive performances and gained valuable international experience as they finished in seventh place.
This competition formed part of the Great Britain’s senior women’s water polo team's long-term preparations for for the 2024 LEN European Championship Qualifiers in June.
- Group A contains South Africa, Israel, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
- Group B has New Zealand, Great Britain, Kazakhstan and Germany.
The week marks the first time that a Division II grouping will contest a World Aquatics World Cup women’s water polo event under the new format started this year. The Division I group contested their tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands and Athens, Greece in the past fortnight, producing six qualifiers in Netherlands, USA, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Greece.
The top two in Berlin will gain access to the top echelon and the cut-throat nature of the event means you have to finish one-two in your group to have any chance on the third day.
Having expected to take part in the qualification tournament, like the men’s team did earlier this year, the women were thrust into the intercontinental tournament due to a low number of European entries, which includes teams that came first or second in their respective continents’ qualification tournament.
Normally the final day would see the top two teams go head to head, but the new system gives one extra chance to the second-placed teams in the groups to play the top teams on the other side of the draw for a chance to progress.
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Local Time Schedule (UK is 1 hour earlier)
2 May 2023
08:30, Group A, South Africa 7 v 22 Israel
10:00, Group A, Uzbekistan 11 v 10 Ukraine
11:30, Group B, New Zealand 23 v 7 Great Britain
13:30, Group B, Kazakhstan 11 v 7 Germany
16:00, Group A, South Africa 19 v 5 Ukraine
17:30, Group A, Uzbekistan 7 v 22 Israel
19:00, Group B, Kazakhstan 15 v 7 Great Britain
20:30, Group B, New Zealand 12 v 6 Germany
New Zealand 23-7 Great Britain, (7-0, 4-1, 7-3, 5-3)
Annie Clapperton (4), Kathy Rogers (2), Amelia Peters (1)
Great Britain’s first group game saw them up against New Zealand, the eventual winners of the competition, who boasted an average of 50 international caps and a significant number of athletes playing either at USA universities or playing professionally abroad. Comparatively, this competition is the first international experience for all of Great Britain’s players.
The group struggled to get used to their heavy press and more aggressive style of play, which is seen more at the international level. Despite the challenges, the team hung on and continued working hard and played with spirit. They adapted quickly and grew into the game which was reflected in the scores in each quarter, managing to score a number of individual and team goals, with goalkeeper Alex Robinson making some significant saves including from two penalties, before the team ultimately fell to the Kiwis by a score of 23-7.
Kazakhstan 15-7 Great Britain (2-2, 5-1, 5-2, 3-2)
Annie Clapperton (4), Niamh Maloney (1), Rebecca Mulcahy (1), Amelia Peters (1)
The second match against Kazakhstan came only a few hours later. Despite the high intensity and hard work in the first game, the group approached the game with real enthusiasm and energy – delivering on coach Nick Buller’s plan of high intensity from the outset. Despite being the underdogs, Great Britain scored the first goal and ended the first quarter with the scores level at 2-2.
The 2023 Asian champions showed their experience and conditioning as the game developed – drawing ahead to bring the score to 12-5 with one quarter remaining. The women then bounced back in the final quarter, finishing with a quarter score line of 3-2. The stats also revealed that the British team scored five out of seven of their “man-up” plays, with the goalkeeper again making some outstanding saves to culminate in a final score of 15-7 to Kazakhstan.
3 May 2023
14:00, Group A, Uzbekistan 8 v 12 South Africa
15:45, Group A, Ukraine 2 v 26 Israel
17:30, Group B, Kazakhstan 8 v 15 New Zealand
19:15 Group B, Germany 15 v 12 Great Britain
Germany 15-12 Great Britain (3-3, 4-3, 3-2, 5-4)
Annie Clapperton (6), Rebecca Mulcahy (2), Mhairi Nurthen (2), Niamh Maloney (1), Kathy Rogers (1)
The team’s final group game came against Germany was by far the tightest affair of the three. Buller’s squad pushed the hosts throughout the match, with Annie Clapperton continuing what was fine form from the player throughout the tournament with a six-goal haul, coming up just short of victory with a narrow 15-12 loss – seeing the team finish fourth in their group and contesting the 7th-8th place playoff against Ukraine the following day.
4 May 2023
14:00, 7th - 8th Place: Great Britain 10 vs 4 Ukraine
15:45, Finals: Israel 19 vs 8 Kazakhstan
17:30, 5th - 6th Place: Germany 15 v 8 Uzbekistan
19:15, Finals: New Zealand 16 v 3 South Africa
Great Britain 10-4 Ukraine (3-1, 2-1, 1-2, 4-0)
Mhairi Nurthen (4), Kathy Rogers (4), Rebecca Mulcahy (1), Annie Clapperton (1)
It was in the match against Ukraine where the team’s progress throughout the tournament proved fruitful, as they put in a commanding performance across the four quarters, including with a game-ending 4-0 score in the final quarter to round the game off with a 10-4 win for the British team. Kathy Rogers also received the player of the game accolade for her performances, in which she scored four goals and was the key figure for the majority of the events.
The result means that the team finished in seventh overall at the competition, as well as giving them good knowledge of their standing on the international stage ahead of the 2024 European Championship qualifiers this summer and beyond.
Swim England Water Polo Programme Lead Craig Figes had given his thoughts on the challenge that lies ahead. “We wish the women’s team the best of luck for the upcoming tournament. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the team to play against competition from other areas around the world, and it will give the team valuable experience in an international setting, coming just a couple of months before the senior women head to the LEN European qualifiers.”
Speaking following the tournament, assistant coach Peggy Etiebet was full of praise for the group after what has been a busy few months of preparation. “I was delighted with the responsiveness of the athletes to improving their play as the tournament progressed. The process of learning and gaining experience at international level competition is a much needed one for the programme and the athletes took full benefit of it. Our thanks go to British Swimming and Swim England for their support in getting the athletes to the competition.”
Great Britain Senior Women Selected Team
Alex Robinson (GK)
Grace Kaye (GK)
Coach – Nick Buller
Assistant Coach – Peggy Etiebet