Last Saturday the Men’s 1st team travelled to Bristol, for a full day of water polo as part of the 1st Division BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport). As is the same as every year, our team had to play three games; the teams finishing 1st and 2nd pass to the next round (semi-finals) while the team that finishes last is demoted to second division. The three teams that Southampton had to face were Birmingham, Bristol and Bath (the three B’s), no not Big Boy Ben!
Our team, due to lack of 1st team players attending training after the Christmas break, managed to send only ten people to Bristol (all other teams had full squads – 13 people). Another difference between our team and the other three University clubs was that they all had coaches.
The tournament started with us playing against B’ham in a game that our team was clearly in control of. The Southampton lads were constantly leading, with a minimum of two goals after the first quarter. However, some problems with the referees-table officials’ communication led to the final score shown being 7-7 (one of our goals was awarded to the opposition). Immediately, two of our players went to talk with the referees and table officials to tell them that the score was wrong. After a 40 minutes adventure the score was changed to the correct one: 8-6 win for Southampton. Birmingham has since appealed to BUCS for the score to be changed back to 7-7, our club has responded and further decisions from BUCS are awaited.
The second game was against Bristol, last year’s BUCS champions – a team that trains around 5 times a week, plays national league and dominates every university team. So with them being our second game we decided to keep our 10 players’ energy and strength for the last game that seemed much more possible to win (vs Bath). We never tried chasing Bristol, when they were breaking and never attacked with all our might. The final score was 12-1 with Bristol easily winning. Our only goal was scored with a long shot by Will Logothetis.
The last game was the most decisive, as Bath had the same scores with us; a win against B’ham and a loss against Bristol. Although we had only ten players, we managed to have some energy left for this game, which was highly critical. A win was the only outcome that would allow us to progress to the next round. However, we had the certainty that our team would stay in the same division. Throughout the whole game Bath was leading on the score because of a 2 goal difference they managed to get in the first quarter. But when their good pit defender was quickly charged with two majors our team got the upper hand on the game. Before the final quarter the score was 9-8 with Southampton chasing. However, in the fourth quarter Bath managed to have an extra player in the pool which straight away led to a penalty being awarded for our team. The penalty was confidently scored and the game finished a draw at 9-9 and so our team drew in second place with Bath. Unfortunately, Bath will be progressing to the next round due to goal difference. SUWPC’s beloved Mini (Owen Stephens) managed to score two goals in this game, a big milestone as these were his first goals after 11 dry games (goals-wise). Will this be Mini’s renaissance? Guess we will have to wait and see.
6– Will Logothetis
5 – Panos Logothetis
4 – Will Divall
2 – Owen Stephens
1 – Nick Tankov