Report Author Rosie Ramshaw
Game: Southampton Women vs Imperial College London
Location: Jubilee Sports Centre
Stood by reception at Jubilee, nerves were running high as Soton Women gawked at Imperial’s apparent lack of silly freshers. However, our shortage of caps, cozzies and calm on arrival simply kickstarted the adrenaline rush we’d need to ignore their serious game faces and put on our own.
Despite the lovely message from Captain Katie reminding us to cut our nails, the first 15 minutes at the pool were spent trying to rip off Tilly’s neon orange cuticles. But what a waste of time that turned out to be, because as we toddled onto poolside trying to keep our dinner down, we were sent straight into the pool for a speedy warm up. The lack of nail check was evidenced by the girls once again finishing a match covered in scratches. Imperial took longer to jump in and warm-up, as they interviewed the ref – one player asked ‘how the shallow end works’ and as we mustered up all good sportsmanship to tell her that if she jumped right into it she would shatter both kneecaps, we gained a bit of confidence that maybe these Imperial girls might not be as scary as we thought. After some sprints and passing drills, we all took our places for the first quarter…
The match was off to an explosive start; a lovely intercept from Natalia allowed us to start piling the pressure onto their team, but as we raced back to defend our goal, the whistle was blown when Lucia decided she didn’t like her player swimming on top of the water and preferred them at the bottom of the pool. As she headed out of the pool, Imperial took the shot they needed, putting them in the lead with 1 point. Determined to show Imperial what they started, it took barely 30 seconds for Natalia to equal the score and sneak the ball into the back of their net. Imperial wasn’t a fan of this and scored again, but this was swiftly followed by a goal from Katie. Imperial attempt one more shot at goal after trying to drown Rhia, but this was caught beautifully by Lottie, leaving the first quarter at 2-2.
The second quarter started well; after a close swim off and Imperial just about gaining possession of the ball, they were soon intercepted. Captain Katie glided down the pool, leaving the poor Imperial girl trying to mark her with her head in her hands. The Crossbar Challenger lived up to her nickname after bouncing the ball off of the post just to make the goalie jump, Katie scores 2 goals in quick succession and Imperial retaliate with one of their own. Rhia had quickly realised she would be useless in pit, since Imperial desperately wanted a piggyback – with both their arms and legs wrapped around her, Rhia decided just to carry her defender out of the way to make some space around the goal. This allowed for another goal from Katie (while some of us try desperately to remember to keep our nipples in the water in the shallow end), the quarter ends 5-3.
Quarter number 3 began with Rosie winning the swim off, despite not really knowing what was going on. Katie then went on to score her fifth goal of the match so far and Lottie made a beautiful save when Imperial tried to strike back. Our captain’s luck just kept getting better as she scored a beautiful penalty after trying to swim up the back of Katie 3 times too many – Imperial’s number 3 got wrapped. Natalia made the most of the following man-up and scored a second goal and Lottie’s saves just kept getting better, even with an Imperial player splashing around in her face. Rhia took her turn to score too, but this was taken away for “standing”. Soton earned a major as Jess is sent out – this turns out to be for the best as we all found out a few minutes later. After defending our man-down and the quarter ending 9-3, Jess casually commented that she’d lost feeling in her fingertips after being elbowed in the head. The lifeguard was summoned and with a diagnosis of concussion, she became an icepack-wielding spectator for the final quarter.
Drama ran high in the last quarter too, as Rhia was punched square in the face for collecting the ball after a stray Imperial pass and a player thought it was okay to grab hold of her swimming costume and yank everything out. Not a lovely move. Their dirty play didn’t stop there: Emily’s success in winning the ball off of an Imperial player earned her a dislocated shoulder that she somehow managed to swim with for the remaining 3 minutes of the game. Injuries piling up in the last few minutes, Captain Katie comes in to defend Soton’s honour by scoring 2 more goals. The game ended 11-3, and the injuries turned out to make a great TikTok video (which now has 13.5k views) so it’s W’s all round.
Man of the Match
Jess Grace – it was too hard to choose one person when everyone played so well, but Jess secured the best injury.
Dick of the Day
Anyone responsible for our injuries. And the ice packs, which were so not cold that if anything, they probably made it worse.
Names – Goals/Majors
Charlotte Ratledge – 0/0
Rosie Ramshaw – 0/0
Anastasia Kolesnikova – 0/0
Emily Bownes – 0/1
Jess Grace – 0/1
Rhia Perks – 0/0
Katie Magill – 9/0
Lucia Ciardo – 0/1
Iris Bugnar – 0/0
Claudia Ellis-Bone – 0/0
Tilly Phillips – 0/0
Georgia Skelton – 0/0
Natalia Tsouka – 2/1