Great Britain’s teams are competing at the 2019 ECA Canoe Polo European Championships in Coimbra, Portugal.
Over five hundred athletes from 18 nations are competing to find the European Champions in the men's, women's, and under 21 men's and women's competitions.
After two days of competition the senior men, women and under 21 women are all in the hunt for places on the podium.
Fresh from winning the silver medal at last year’s World Championships the senior women’s team started with an opening 8-2 victory over Denmark, with Ginny Coyles scoring four goals.
The next match was a tighter affair with a 3-3 draw against France, thanks to a wonder goal from Bethan Littlewood in the closing moments.
But the British team continued to progress through the group stages with a 6-1 victory over Sweden, with another hat-trick from Ginny Coyles to qualify for the top six and the second round.
The women’s team made a great start to the second round with a 5-1 victory over Italy. In a tight first half Pru Blyth broke the deadlock with a rocket shot to give GB a 1-0 lead at half time.
Goals from Bethan Littlewood, Louise Saxon and Pru Blyth completing a hat trick put GB on top of the group and in great shape for the semi-finals.
The GB senior men started their competition in the dreaded ‘group of death’ in a very tight match against France. Thanks to two goals from Ross Montgomery the match was heading for a draw, before the French scored in the final three seconds to claim victory.
The loss left the GB men in a must win match against the current European Champions Spain in order to qualify for the next round and the top eight.
But the men’s team, including a number of the u21 squad that have won the World and European Championships, pulled out the stops to claim a 4-2 over Spain – with Suryan McCutcheon scoring twice – to top the group on goal difference and progress to the top eight
In the second round Britain began their quest for a semi-final berth in group ME with a 2-2 draw against Switzerland, with Jack Playford scoring a brace.
Matches against Italy and Belgium will determine if the men qualify for the semi-finals.
There was also a fine start by the Under 21 women’s team with three out of three victories in the first round defeating Ireland 7-2, Switzerland 8-3 and the Netherlands 7-1.
In their final group match GB faced the current World and European Champions Germany in a tight affair. Germany took a 3-1 lead, but a fine fightback in the second half saw Britain counter to claw their way back to 3-3, with Katie Howes scoring two goals in the match.
The draw ensured that Britain finished on top of the group on goal difference, ahead of Germany, and qualification into the top six.
In the first match of the second round two goals from Katie Farley secured a fine 5-2 victory over Italy to put Britain in a great position for qualification into the semi-finals, with Spain to play tomorrow.
But for the reigning European Champions the new look Under 21 men’s team were unable to progress to the top eight after defeat to Spain 7-4 and a 2-2 draw against Poland.
In the second round of competition the Brits started with a 3-3 draw against Belgium, but in the afternoon rallied to claim their first victory of the Championships, 5-1 against the Czech Republic with Edward Lart and Chris Underwood claiming two goals each.
In the final match of the day a 3-3 draw with Ireland saw the team finish second in the group, with ninth place still to play for.
Full details of the 2019 ECA Canoe Polo European Championships are available here:
Official championships website: http://www.canoepoloportugal.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/canoepoloportugal/
Updates from the European Championships are also available on the British Canoeing live blog.