Report Author: Iris Bugnar
Game: Southampton Women vs Queen Marys (Barts)
Location: Jubilee Sports Centre
Team photo by Janek Codlin – SUPS.
Another Wednesday, another match – this time the Southampton girls faced Queen Mary’s. We didn’t know much about them given that we’d never played them before, but we went in confident. After watching the men’s match against Barts (and watching them win by quite a lot), we had high hopes for the girls.
The starting 7 shot off at the blow of the whistle, however not fast enough to beat Barts to the ball. This didn’t matter, as Lottie’s aggressive attack sent the ball Magill’s way, who swims it over to the goal to throw it at the post. After a brief scramble for the ball, Magill nicely sets up Lottie, who scores the first goal of the match and the season, despite not having played field for months. Magill, jealous at missing the first goal of the game, instead earns the first major of the match. Next comes a nice dry pass from Barts’ number 8 to our number 7. Jas grabs the ball and shoots, but it doesn’t go in. At this point we start to realise that Barts defence tactic is simply trying to slap the ball away from players instead of countering as we may have expected. The ball was in Barts possession so they quickly swam it up the pool, where their post player decides she wants to play a game of catch instead and nicely throws the ball into Antonia’s arms. With a massive throw, Antonia launches the ball to Lottie on right-wing all the way on the 2m line, where Lottie scores another goal. With another battle for the ball, Magill gets impatient and powers through the field to get to the ball first, swims it up to the 2m line and scores beautifully. In comes Iris – frustrated over losing the ball, she decided to push her player underwater and get her first major within a minute of getting in. Silly fresher. A corner sets the Barts girls up well, but even with a man-up they still fail to score against Antonia – nice to see she didn’t leave her goalkeeping abilities in Barcelona. At the attacking goal, a big throw from 5m by Natalia sends the ball over the net. At the end of the first quarter, Southampton are leading 3-0 and are feeling the win coming.
Before the start of the quarter, our captain tells us she plans on finishing the match with Barts having scored no goals, which was looking very likely. The whistle marks the start of the swim-off, and despite being incredibly fast, Rosie narrowly loses. Barts get the ball scarily close to the goal, but with some intimidating defense from Tilly, they are thrown off and the ball comes into our possession. Magill does what she does best and shoots, the ball flying right past the goalie and into the net. Next is an attempt by Rosie to get the ball, in which she fouls her player, then proceeds to push her underwater and get sent out. Silly, silly fresher. Barts take this man-up opportunity to play a bit of volleyball, the ball bouncing everywhere before reaching Antonia’s arms. Southampton swim the ball up easily to Rhia, who receives the only pit pass of the entire match (Coach Alex could have cried). She shoots from pit but doesn’t score as Barts’ goalie jumps and catches the ball. Captain Katie is overexcited at her family’s presence and in a bid to impress, she instead secures her second major of the game. Luckily for us, Antonia saves a well-aimed shot from Barts, and Katie is back in the pool. After a long period of flicking the ball everywhere from the girls, Barts start their attack, which would have crushed Magill’s dreams of Barts not scoring at all if it weren’t for Antonia’s brilliant save. However, Barts have a corner to take, which they use wisely to hit the crossbar. It’s time for another Katie mishap – this time it’s little Katie’s turn. It was a rough quarter for the Katies. She dives majestically into the pool and, still majestically, speeds past the ball with her head down, She’s just here for a lovely swim, with everyone screaming at her to get the ball. With some creative and intimidating chants from the boys, the quarter ends and the score is 4-0. Between quarters, the girls quickly agree to switch positions to prevent their Captain from getting wrapped.
This swim-off starts off a bit rocky for Barts, who either aren’t paying attention or are confused by how a swim-off works. Either way, Lottie quickly gets the ball and holds her player away with ease. Some quick, dry passes between Rhia, Lottie, and Natalia help us take the ball up the pool. Out goes a Barts girl with a major, so we set up an arc like we always do in training, and it pays off with a powerful shot and score from Natalia. The next goal comes a minute later, after Captain Katie fights for the ball and passes it to Natalia, who unexpectedly creeps up on wing and launches it into the goal. Another man-up now after Lottie’s player swims over her, but this doesn’t affect her at all as she scores an amazing goal from quite a long distance. As the refs focus on starting the next round, they forget to let the Barts girl back into the pool, who awkwardly has to ask to be let back in. Surprisingly another man-up for us as Barts’ center forward presumably does not see Magill and swims directly over her. Some good passes from the girls land us another goal by the captain and takes us to 8-0.
What Barts were lacking in water polo ability, they made up for in speedy swimming. We lose the swim-off, but a quick reaction from Rhia scores us a sneaky goal as she flings the ball in. Some aggressive defense from Natalia throws off her player, who fumbles the ball and so we easily regain possession. A shot from Magill from a distance for once does not get past Barts goalie, who actually catches it. With the ball now in the opposition’s hands, the girls furiously swim after them. Natalia, in an attempt to get to the ball, fully pulls her player under water, and surprisingly gets sent off – this is literally the most aggressive she has ever been. This is the devastating moment when our dreams are shattered and Barts finally remember how to play polo- they amazingly set up well with clean passes and score their first and only goal of the match. Alex calls a time-out for another man-up – his plan: to set up an arc (as usual). Sadly the keeper saves the shot, leaving us with a corner. Again Magill aims for the crossbar, her nickname still a perfect description. On the third attempt we have a goal from our captain. after a bit of swimming up and down the pool, Barts center forward eventually gets fed up with Magill’s skills and starts holding her arm back so she can’t score. I’m not sure what she thought that was going to achieve. Soton win a penalty and we nominate Tilly to take it; training has proved that she has an insanely powerful throw. To be fair to Tilly, she’d never taken a penalty before, so shoots before the whistle. It does go in, and it’s an amazing shot, but unfortunately the goal doesn’t count. The penalty was reset and the whistle blown, but Tilly decides this is the perfect chance to practice her dummy shots – posession is turned over before she can even throw it. Barts number 2 had earned herself 3 majors but decided to carry on playing regardless, until the ref finally noticed and sent her out (Tilly normally does flag duty, so it appears the table simply couldn’t replace her and instead decided to ignore the red flag). The match ended with a great save from Antonia and a final score of 10-1.
Man of the Match: Lottie Ratledge, who secured 3 goals in her first game back outfield.
Dick of the Day: Katie. We’re not specifying which Katie… Magill earned two majors in two quarters, but Smith forgot she was playing polo and swam straight past the ball with her head down.
Names – Goals/Majors
Antonia Neild – 0/0
Katie Smith – 0/0
Natalia Philips – 0/0
Rosie Ramshaw – 0/1
Jasmine Brown – 0/0
Rhia Perks – 1/0
Lucia Ciardo – 0/0
Elise Roberts – 0/0
Charlotte Ratledge – 3/0
Iris Bugnar – 0/1
Katie Magill – 4/2
Natalia Tsouka – 2/1