A Promising performance by the men’s 2nd is marred by mania

Cambridge versus Oxford, a grudge match, the big one. Squads selected from hordes of budding athletes all looking for varsity glory. On the other hand Cambridge versus Oxford Brookes simply doesn’t pull in the fans. The Cambridge Water Polo Second team fielded a diminished squad due to clashes and illness taking away several key players, including the team’s regular goalie. Nine made the trip to Radley including a Swimmer, Dan Toy making his debut for the water polo team, keen to still win the game that at full strength they would have had on paper.

After making their way through the extensive labyrinth of boarding houses the team found the peculiar L-shaped pool and got ready for the game. It started off with a quick goal from the Oxford Brookes within the first 30 seconds. This took the Cambridge team by surprise but shaking off their cobwebs and through some solid team play Cameron Wallis scored an equaliser 31 seconds later. The rest of the first quarter was back and forth but for much of it Cambridge seemed to have the upper hand. Two more goals came from Captain Vytautas Pečiukėnas and Alessio Caciagli with the quarter finishing 3-3.

In the second quarter Cambridge built on their lead with fast paced play led by James Mok. Incessantly swimming up and down the pool he scored 3 goals. One of these assisted by Dan Toy who made a commendable steal and put his swimming to use leaving the Oxford Brookes defender languishing in his trail. Unfortunately, the step-in keeper Rhys Goodall showed his inexperience and let in two easy goals from 5-meters, not noticing that the opposition were far enough out to shoot from fouls on the arc. With a second goal from the Cambridge Captain thrown into the mix the Second Quarter finished 7-6. Cambridge were in the lead but not comfortably so.


The Third Quarter was a closer affair, both teams wrestling and sprinting trying to create opportunities but no goals came in the first 4 minutes. As the Cambridge team began to tire they called a rolling substitution. In a moment of madness, the substitutes leapt from the side into the pool only to be excluded seconds later. Oxford Brookes called a time out and Cambridge had to defend with two men down. Setting up on the posts and pushing the top of the arc the team worked really well blocking and pressuring the opposition who in the dying seconds of the man-up took a desperate shot at goal that was blocked by the keeper. Despite this excellent defence the fortunes of the Cambridge team began to turn. There fast paced play in the earlier quarters started to take effect and the team let some counters get past them and with two of their goals being disallowed due to questionable interpretation of the 2-meter rule Oxford Brookes took the lead. The third quarter finished 9-10.

Cambridge could see they needed something to take back the lead. Leonardo Buizza swapped in to play keeper and the team hoped that a slightly fresher pair of legs might help turn the tide. More targeted play from the Cambridge team drew fouls and several kick-outs but the team were unable to convert these opportunities. Oxford Brookes kept up the pressure and managed to reach the back of the net four times to Cambridge’s one. The Final score was 10-14.

The team’s performance showed great promise but due to a lack of subs their fitness was tested towards the end. The Man of the Match was James Mok whose repeated counter attacks netted him 6 of Cambridge’s 10 (should have been 12) Goals.

Women’s Water Polo Come 2nd in Premier South League

As the deadline approached, the women’s blues water polo team had one game left to play, their 8th in the league since the start of term. But this was to be no ordinary match: with a 1:15pm start, all the refs had actual jobs to do. Though Irwin now has the most comprehensive list of refs in the East of England, none of them were free and the match was going to be cancelled.

So at 8am we prepared to go to our scheduled lectures. Until Bath, in a stroke of kindness, asked to play regardless, saving us from a forfeit. Thus, with just under an hours notice, we gathered our equipment and rushed to our cars, ready to make the two hour journey to our home match (a constant source of agony). We managed to draft in a last minute ref, who has our eternal gratitude.

We arrived at the pool with ten minutes to spare, and cried out “let’s win this for Ella – so she doesn’t have to arrange another match!” As she set up the clock, we got ready to go, but the first quarter saw not a single successful goal. We cut and defended with a frenzy, but our attacks remained tentative. However, that quarter did give Captain Schubert a chance to warm up.

Irwin hopped in the pool, leaving Robbo to table. And then the goals started coming, from Schubert, and Schubert, and Schubert again. Though at one point we were a terrifying 4-2 down, after words of encouragement the team turned it around, showing strong defence and a more aggressive attack. The whole team got together, making beautiful passes into pit, and we got to half time with a 5-4 lead, all five goals put into place by Captain Schubert.

Despite some clock mix-ups, we got into the third quarter, ready to show bath that they would not be getting any more goals away. And indeed that second quarter had proved to be their only lucky one. Turrell got back on defence, and Robinson had a lovely block, helping Morgan keep the ball out of the goal. And in attack, Schubert added another two to her impressive list of goals.

With a 7-4 lead we went into the fourth quarter, and even had two full subs, as the Birmingham’s men team offered to help table. Quick newbie, Mackett scored two goals off a cheeky pass, even winning a tussle against the goalie. Though the bath team got one goal away, Feng’s whistled a shot in, and Schubert scored another to seal the score at 11-5 in favour of Cambridge at the final whistle.


After all the stress, the team is straight off to semi-finals, having placed second in the premier south league.

Men 2nd vs UEA: A Long Awaited Victory

By Daniel Lafferty

I said I’d write the report when we won a match, so here we go:

Bolstered by the return of our beloved Santi, and restless after the same fixture was cancelled the week before, the Cambridge team travelled the hour long drive to our home pool (no I will not stop complaining about that) anticipating – at long last- a solid win. UEA should be trounced, if we hope to defeat Oxford Brookes and retain dignity in the league.

But, upon arriving in Northampton, no opposition were to be found. Being the dedicated water polo team that we are, we proceeded to use our pool time for a training session until, an hour in, a meek UAE team had the cheek to arrive.

Tired but undeterred, but we agreed to play.

The first quarter showed a staggering difference in class as the Cambridge men outswam their opponents scoring 4 goals in quick succession, Vytautas showed his metal as captain scoring two trademark goals from 5 metres and still managing to take care of the opposition’s pit player when in defence. One of the refs decided he didn’t like the look of Rhys, leading to a couple of early sending outs, but UEA failed to capitalise on their man ups so we retained a clean sheet after the seven minutes were up.

A different team entered the second quarter as fatigue took its toll on the Cambridge side. Man of the match, Chadwick, repeatedly made valiant efforts to find space and produce plays, as the team faltered behind him. A number of careless mistakes soon led to goals for the opposition, who came back to 4-3 by half time.

A change of attitude was needed as the team were becoming visibly frustrated. We were tired, yes, but we had to dig in. We clawed our way back, taking advantage of the opponent’s weak players as their lack of subs tired them out. A clumsy tap in from yours truly with a minute to go left the score back at a respectable 7-4 (whether or not I was within two metres was apparently not an issue for our refs).

The final quarter proved to be seven minutes too much for our keeper James. A last push by the opposition (including a last second goal) pushed us to the limit, but we narrowly retained the lead for a final score of 8-7.

It was not the result we’d hoped for, so it would be easy to walk away disappointed, but consideration has to be given to the circumstances. As we calmed on the drive home, the relief and satisfaction of a match won slowly sunk in.

Final mentions go to Dimitris, showing the occasional use of swimmers by winning the ball at the start of every quarter, and relative newbie Cameron, for lodging a respectable 2 goals on the score sheet.

Women’s Water Polo Put Up a Fight Against a Strong Imperial Team

By Francesca Giordaniello

After ruling in our actually-home match on Friday, we were a bit shocked at the lack of chlorine in Barnet’s pool, so it took us a while to get in the game. The Imperial team took advantage of this odd situation and that’s the only reason why they could score two goals, leading for 2-1 at the end of the first quarter, despite Turrel’s nice shot.

After that quarter though, we started performing quite well – cutting and putting into practice what we learnt in the tactics sessions. We definitely woke up in the second half of the second quarter, when Turrel and Schubert scored one goal each to maintain the 1-goal difference. 4-3 was the score at the half time whistle.

The third quarter was full of action and heart attacks for our girls due to Benezit’s incredible savings. Our efforts in defence and the best dropping of our career worked in our favour  as we managed to steal ball after ball from the other team. Time goes faster when you have fun, so we also used all the 30 seconds available for our actions, though some of them, unfortunately, did not end in a goal. However, the amazing teamwork ensured our ladies concluded the quarter with a 5-5 draw, thanks to our new entry Hulshof and our veteran Feng’s goals.

The emotions kept on in the last quarter, when we tried our best to boost the score despite the cloud of misfortune above our heads. Although the Imperial teams managed to violate our goal twice, we closed the game with Irwin’s memorable action that will be passed down to the next generations for years and years: promptly stealing the ball in defense, she dribbled past all the Imperial players and, finally, slammed the ball into the goal like the good old Maradona, earning her a well deserved player of the match.

The final score was a 7-6 not in our favor, but we definitely played our best against a tough team and we all showed improvements, singularly and as a team.

Women’s Water Polo Win a Truly HOME Game

By Sarah Flaherty

For their rematch against Birmingham in three days, the Women’s Blues found themselves in the unusual position of hosting a match in Cambridge itself. Lacking a suitable pool, the team is used to accommodating hours of driving to reach even nominally ‘home’ matches. It was therefore a welcome change to attend classes and other commitments, have a square meal, and meet early for a thorough tactics session and warmup. Physically and mentally ready to repeat their recent victory against the visitors, the team lined up for the starting whistle happy to be home.

Detracting from this advantage, the team was forced to contend with challenging playing conditions in a narrow, asymmetrical and inadequately-ventilated pool. While the team’s dedicated training had instilled some tolerance of the facility’s choking chloramine mist, both home and visiting players soon succumbed to the infamous ‘Leys’ cough’. We can only hope that Cambridge will one day come to its senses and build its athletes a regulation pool, or else have the medical faculty advise us on poolside treatment strategies for acute inhalation injury.

The Cambridge team had done their utmost to prepare for these difficulties, and played confidently and cohesively from the starting whistle. Overpowering Birmingham on the right wing, Sarah Flaherty and Claudia Feng scored early goals in rapid succession. Cambridge held this lead with an energetic defensive effort by the whole team, leaving Birmingham with few opportunities to shoot.

Captain Schubert commands her team. Photo Credit to Lefteris Paparounas
Captain Schubert commands her team. Photo Credit to Lefteris Paparounas

The team’s coordination was disrupted as they moved to attack the shallow end for the second quarter. The women were outpaced by Birmingham’s quick turnovers and, despite impressive goalkeeping by Blandine Bénézit, conceded two goals early in the quarter. Encouraged by captain Laura Schubert, the team responded with sustained effort and communication, and progressed to the next quarter with the score tied.

The team returned to play with renewed determination, bolstered by an immediate goal by formidable newcomer Lilly-Anne Hulshof. Returning to the stronger team dynamics of the first quarter, Cambridge pulled further ahead with goals from Flaherty and Kate Read. Despite a last-minute goal from Birmingham, the team finished the quarter with a restored 5:3 lead.

Cambridge carried this momentum forward into an intense final quarter. Bold long-distance shots from Birmingham tied the score within the first few minutes, but the team had plenty left in the tank to dominate the remainder of the game, with a goal from Frances Turrell and two more from Hulshof, our overwhelmingly nominated player of the match. With this comfortable lead, the team focused on keeping play controlled, but Ella Irwin saw an opportunity that was too good to pass up, scoring from the two-meter line with fourteen seconds left on the clock, and bringing the final score to a commanding 9:5.

Turell takes a shot. Photo Credit to Lefteris Paparounas
Turell takes a shot. Photo Credit to Lefteris Paparounas

The Blues leave this match with a definitive win and useful lessons to guide them to victory for the remainder of the BUCS season, and in the hotly anticipated Varsity match to be hosted in Cambridge later this month.

Women’s Water Polo Beat Birmingham in Verse and in the Pool

By Laura Schubert

There was once a pool called Walsall
It was large, double deep and had ceilings tall
A two hour travel
But you can’t have all
So the Cambridge ladies responded to Birmingham’s call.

It was a Wednesday like no other
We have a match, but also lectures – oh bother!
A team of nine
Dedicated their time
To play a water polo match – what – another?

This was our 6th match in 2 weeks
With one player of the match, Kate, in goal – oh what great shrieks
Go there, go here
Just show no fear
So many great saves – such saving techniques.

Considering we had players nine
The match sheet shows we did more than fine
With scorers six
We showed sneaky tricks
Especially our new players did brightly shine!

There were two girls called Becky and Chantelle
(Player of the match #2 for her goal, oh so swell)
Who are new and played incredibly well
They each scored a goal
And sometimes the ball stole
And so we were a goal up at the one minute bell.

Always at least one goal ahead
Only one kick-out, but that was no dread
We swam fast
And had a blast
And never did stop the water to tread.

With a 7-6 win we were very happy and glad
The Captain stormed out to avoid parking fines bad
We sped home to lectures
So Claudia could work on conjectures
And what a ball of a time we had!