Report by: Anton Stephan (SUWPC veteran) – spelt “Stephan” for whoever did the team sheet …
Game: Southampton Men’s 1st vs. Exeter Men’s 1st (22/10/17)
Having lost our first match of the season the previous week, the biggest of the biggest boys were ready to make mincemeat of our opposition. With newly recruited Kiwi Sam Ward making his debut at Southampton and with returning players Christos, Phil C and Chris playing their first game of the year, it was clear the morale was high amongst our boys.
However, the game did not start in the pool. The changing room presented our first chance of some psychological warfare:
Step 1. Walk in and greet the opposition with a friendly “alright lads”.
TRANSLATION = you ready to get your arses kicked?
Step 2. Initiate a conservation with “Is Emre still around” (Emre being their former star player and Anton’s mate from home).
TRANSLATION = do you plan to play as a team this time …?
Step 3. Appear sympathetic to their response of “no”.
TRANSLATION = LOL
The poolside warm-up presented our first look at the opposition and admittedly, they were in better shape than some of our ‘BMI of 40’ players. With the crowd consisting of a few 2nd team lads, a few of the ladies team and Sam Wards girlfriend, it’s safe to say that the crowd was going wild with excitement, no doubt inspiring our boys to victory. After a quick warm up, a motivational team talk from our skipper, the starting seven were selected, the whistle was blown and the game began.
Having previously decided that they looked fast, winning the swim off was not an immediate priority. However, our very own Michael Phelps (Ali) decided to ignore that theory and sprinted to victory winning us the ball. However, after a quick turnover and Phil King deciding that we didn’t need all six of our players in the pool, our South-Western rivals packed an early goal past Phil. Having been shown up with less than 30 seconds gone, our players were even more raring to get some goals. However, that didn’t go to plan either since Exeter’s number 7 bagged them their second goal bringing the score to 0-2 to our rivals. Clearly getting complacent at their early lead, our opponents committed their first major, allowing Ali who had already played THREE GAMES that weekend to find the net bringing the score to 1-2 – what an absolute trooper. However, despite this slight comeback, Exeter’s number 7 got his third goal, ending the quarter 1-3.
Despite some obvious moans and groans, the war was not won. Ali reminded the boys how attacking the deep end was much easier and after a few substitutions the boys were ready for the second quarter. The start was not as promising with a narrow loss of the swim off but as the minutes ticked by, Sam Ward decided to give Exeter some Maori rage … only getting himself excluded in the process. Aleandro clearly thought differently of the ref’s ruling and decided to show them how the Maltese play polo. However, this only resulted in a second exclusion leaving our boys two men down. Unsurprisingly with this sudden handicap, the ball found its way past Phil in goal, widening the gap in the score. Emotions were running high, Greek swear words were being exchanged and our morale was clearly falling. This was clearly acknowledged by our opposition who found the net once again, broadening the score to 1-5.
Ali took matters into his own hands and scored his and our second goal of the game. With wild cheers from our herd of supporters, spirits were lifted and Aleandro received the ball from Ali to score what can only be described as the most powerful, sexy and beautiful goal of the century – a backshot from five meters travelling at the speed of sound. Annoyed at our retaliation, Exeter majored our boys, leading to another exclusion allowing Christos to unleash his inner Greek god of anger, sending the ball past the keeper, through the sticks and into the net closing the gap with a score of 4-5. With only a minute remaining in the first half, the only significant occurrence was Phil King getting his second major but due to Phil’s brilliant goal keeping, the score remained at 4-5 at the end of the first half.
The third half started the same as the others, with Exeter scoring an early goal. However, no doubt inspired by the arrival of the entire ladies squad who had showed up to support the boys, Anton decided to sling a signature backshot from the wing … from three meters … across and into the goal. What a flipping legend 😉.
As the minutes rolled by, Exeter’s number 9 got his third and final major allowing Sam to find the net, levelling the score. With a few majors and a goal past Phil, Exeter attempted to re-take the lead. A major foul from Exeter and an obvious display of timewasting added a further 15 seconds to the end of the quarter where Aleandro equalised leading to a score of 7-7.
With victory on the cards and with the boys attacking the deep end, Phil graciously declined an offer to come outfield and retained his position in the sticks. However, this may have been his downfall because having saved a shot with ease he simply dropped it … over the line.
Despite this minor hiccup, Ali and Aleandro got our final two goals finalising the game with a score of 9-8. A win for SUWPCs men’s firsts. Although a well-deserved Mackie’s was in order, the boys thought of their fitness and their physiques so conserved our energy for Wednesday – their next game against the University of South Wales. A special mention must go to Christos who, after starting his second year at Southampton, succeeded in playing a game where he not only lasted to the very end but did not GET A SINGLE MAJOR – what a wonderful achievement
Thank you to everyone who supported and helped with the table, more match reports coming soon.
Final Score: 9-8
Man of the match:
Aleandro Mifsud – for three brilliant goals including an absolute banger of a backshot from 5 meters.
Dick of the day:
Phil Cumner – Despite a valiant and brilliant performance in goal, this title is awarded for two reasons:
1)Successfully catching a ball thrown at high speed before accidently dropping it behind the line.
2)Having “Cumner” as a surname
Ali – 3
Aleandro – 3
Anton – 1
Christos – 1
Sam Wilmshurst – 1
Neil – 1
Phil K – 2
Sam Ward – 1
Aleandro – 1