Sunday 8th March took the Ladies’ 1st on a trip to the far reaches of the barren north, to play Warwick on their home ground. Because of an incredibly short BUCS deadline, we also had to play a travelling Bath team straight away afterwards.
We hadn’t seen Warwick in the pool in recent memory and so we went into the match calm, but unsure. We decided simply to play our games and our tactics nice and cleanly, and see how the first quarter took us. This served us well, a quick shot in the first minute set our standards, and although Warwick replied very soon after that, we kept our heads. The first quarter was close and high scoring in comparison to a lot of our recent matches, and ended 3-2 to Warwick.
The next quarter allowed us to refine our tactics to their play. We identified their top shooter and aimed to stick with her, as very few of the other players seemed willing to shoot. However, she pulled away from us twice and managed to put two top-corners past Liane, which we were only able to answer with one by Katie O.
The third quarter passed similarly, ending 3-1 to Warwick. It was in the last quarter that we really picked up our game. Whether it was us finally getting warm, adjusting to missing players on our team, or playing harder with the half-way point of our two hours looming; we held the Warwick team off fantastically, giving us our only winning quarter at 1-0. The game ended 8-5 to Warwick: 4 by Katie O and 1 by Amy.
We then grouped on poolside to calm down, focus and make sure we took that last quarter’s play forward to our next match.
Having faced Bath twice already this year and come away worse for wear, we were understandably nervous about having them as our second match. However, super-spy TJ had undertaken some intelligence work and had drilled the enemy TJ for information. Or at least attempted to. Kind of. Not very successfully. But anyway, fed (semi-)lies to Bath that we had a strong team out to play as scare tactics. Bath entered poolside, and it was immediately obvious that their requests for information from TJ were fear; they did not seem to have their usual strong team.
The quarter started tough. Although they were missing players, they were still a very strong team, and they were fresh. They battled hard but eventually Shitbadge managed to slip past their defence in the first of a number of beautiful swims, to find the back of the net. Bath were unable to reply and this boosted our confidence hugely, with another 3 following in quick succession (unanswered) in the second quarter.
After that, the long day began to take its toll. As we became more tired, Bath’s energy and desperation only seemed to increase. A particularly messy 3rd quarter was won 2-1 by Bath, bringing the total score to a slightly more nerve-wracking 2-5. We regrouped for the last time and were told to keep calm, to keep our heads and play strongly. We worked hard with the finish line in sight, and although Bath managed to put one more past us in the second minute, this seemed to give the Soton ladies the energy needed to hold them off the last few minutes of play, and the match ended a thoroughly well-deserved 5-3 to us.
Man of the match(s) goes to Shitbadge (“Charlotte”). Apparently having her family down to watch her play is some kind of lucky charm, because she made some absolutely incredible swims and shots.
Special mention goes to Liane, as she made so many brilliant saves that the Bath team were asking her name and details about her after the match. You should probably take your pen ready for autographs next time, Liane.
Katie O 4
TJ 3 (naughty angry TJ)
Amy, Ellie, Katie L 1