Category Archives: Match Reports

Everlasting Glory for Water Polo Men’s 2nds

By Leonardo Buizza

Following their strong varsity win, the second team were looking for an emphatic ending to the end of the season. A 19-5 victory at home against a hapless UEA side put them in good stead for a showdown with Oxf*rd Brookes, who had won the reverse fixture 14-10, in one of the final BUCS fixtures of the year.

This time round Brookes were the ones with threadbare squad, having only brought 8 players along. Things began with a flurry of goals, Cambridge taking an early 2-0 lead, but Brookes hitting back immediately, scoring twice to stay within touching distance. As the quarter advanced we began to see the advantage of having a full squad, as Brookes started to tire – pit player Balint Szepfalvi scoring a couple of cool finishes to take the score up to 5-2.

The second quarter carried on much as before, with the Light Blues continuing to put the visitors under pressure. However, some complacency and a lack of sharpness in attack saw multiple occasions go to waste. Passes not going to hand, slow awareness and some easy turnovers meant that Cambridge failed to press home their advantage. Still, a trickle of goals kept coming and at half time Cambridge led Brookes by 7-3.

Some sharp words and a mental reset saw Cambridge swim off for the third quarter with renewed motivation. Three more goals from Balint, along with more inspired play from captain Vytautas, saw the seconds extend their lead. Swimmer convert Dimitris Kousoulidis began to make more use of his absurd pace, helping to set up more and more counter-attacks as Brookes tired, and Santiago “Jesus” Lago chipped in another goal, having already got one in each of the previous quarters.

The final minute of the third period saw what was possibly the highlight of the entire Light Blue sporting season. With Brookes a man down, an unmarked Leonardo Buizza received the ball on the right wing (ish). There was no defender in sight (due to another lapse in the Brookes defence), leaving only a whimpering keeper standing in the way of a glorious goal. A magnificent averagely-paced shot, straight into (not quite) the bottom-right hand corner saw the ball deflect off the ‘keeper into the goal – Buizza’s first of the season. The entire crowd of two people erupted in celebration, knowing what a momentous occasion this was. The quarter ended 13-3.

Rigs and goals aplenty (credit: Santiago Lago).

The fourth quarter saw the floodgates well and truly open. Having been set a target of twenty goals by captain Vy, the heroic seconds rose to the occasion. A huge ten unanswered goals flew into the Brookes net, with everyone keen to get involved in the goal rush. Of particular note was afore-mentioned Santi. Conscious that Brookes were now clearly flatlining in energy levels, Santi decided that his quarter would be spent no further than 5 metres from the Brookes goal. A gamble, some might say, but this is a man who knows when the reward outweighs the risk – six goals for this poacher (I dislike the term “goal-hanger”), taking his haul to nine for the game. More contributions from the rest of this magnificent team saw them end the game 23-3 – emphatic.

Three for Three: Men’s Water Polo 1st team finish off a successful day of battle against O*ford

By Robert Gourley

After a largely disappointing year in BUCS for the men’s water polo first team, the men undertook a training regime that would make Phelps shake in his boots. Co-captains Rob Gourley and Joseph Wu were determined to turn around personal scores from the Varsity match in 2016. A long day in Parkside Pool saw the team witness wins for both the men’s second team and the women’s team. The pressure was on to complete a trio of wins for the light blue.

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Pre-match rituals were in full force as Isaac Hinchcliffe saw off his third monster of the afternoon and Alex Norcliffe allowed the can of Strongbow to digest before the warm up. As a largely new team, the pressures of the deafening crowd in a first Varsity could have halted our prowess. However after some galvanising words from the co-captains, the game began under the floodlights in the light blue’s favour with an almost immediate impact with a goal from Rob Gourley after some excellent work from star fresher Ben Tinkler-Davies. A cagey first quarter went goal for goal ending 3-2 in favour of Cambridge. 

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The second quarter was a period of consolidation for the light blues with more goals from Ben TD and Rob Gourley, supported by our very own brick wall in net, Brian Trippe. Forcing ejections for the O*ford team was a key part of the game plan masterminded by veteran coach Andy Knight, who kept heads concentrated throughout the game. Patrick Charles and Adam Streeter bullied the O*ford defence into submission with brute strength and dashing looks. The second quarter ended 6-3 to Cambridge.

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The light blues began to sense that this game was for the taking, like a predator devouring its prey the team began to turn the screw. 7-4, 8-4, 9-4, 10-4. Highlight coming with Ben TD scoring from his own half after a blunder from the O*ford keeper. The game was over then and there, thanks for coming O*xford, see you next year. Home support got a quick scare going through the fourth quarter when O*ford had a ‘comeback’, to 10-7 to the light blues, and hearts began to stutter. No bother, step up Adam Streeter with a crucial goal to make it 11-7 and fully close the game off. Final score: 11-8 to Cambridge, completing the full set of water polo Varsity victories.

 

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Man of the match was amicably shared between co-captain Rob Gourley and Ben Tinkler-Davies who shared the first 10 goals between them with 5 each. Honourable mention goes to Brian Trippe who was unbelievable in net absolutely shutting down the shooting game of O*ford. Thanks to all those who came to support the team.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Women’s Water Polo Return from a Triumphant Weekend

By Becky Mackett

Last weekend our women’s team played their home matches against Cardiff and Imperial. You would think that would mean a nice easy journey to a pool in Cambridge or the surrounding area, but no, off to Birmingham we went. Cars were loaded up at midday and we made the two hour trek to Walsall Gala Baths. Our first match was against Cardiff and we arrived feeling good. We knew that despite the previous Cardiff match not going to plan (it featured a dreadful journey and questionable refereeing) we had the ability to win this time.

We got off to a strong start in the first quarter with a goal from Flaherty. Cardiff weren’t having this though, and upped their defence, resulting in an exclusion for one of their team and a penalty given to us. Our captain, Laura Schubert, took the shot, slamming in another goal for the Cambridge team. Two goals up and we were feeling pretty good; however, the end of the quarter saw a goal from Cardiff, showing us they weren’t going down without a fight.

The second quarter saw some excellent attacks from the Cambridge girls leading to another goal from Schubert. We were starting to feel more comfortable and could see that all our training was paying off. The very end of the quarter saw a beautiful goal from ex-captain Frances Turrell with the clock on 00:01. The Cardiff coach, taking out his unhappiness with the ref, was sent off with a red card.

We kept up our strength in the third quarter, starting with a goal from Ella Irwin after a beautiful drive from Lara Tritton, proving that the many hours practising this in on winter training camp in Budapest was worth it. By the end of the quarter Turrell had scored again and Cardiff were still only on one goal. This was due to our great defence, especially by Laura Robinson and Turrell, our players of the match, as well as Kate Read’s excellent goal keeping.

At the start of the final quarter we were in a 6-1 lead but we didn’t let ourselves get complacent, aware that even one quarter can bring a shift in energy. Swapping goalies to ensure everyone got field play, Lucy Morgan stepped in and Read emerged, pretty soon thereafter, scoring a goal. After more impressive attacks from the strong Cambridge side, we saw two fantastic goals from Flaherty on the wing (within 30 seconds of each other!)

At the sound of the final buzzer the score was 9-1 to Cambridge.

Celebrating the weekends victories (minus Sarah)

That evening, to avoid the drive back home, we stayed over in Birmingham – mostly. Wonderful thanks go to Kate’s mum for hosting half the team! However, elsewhere things did not go so smoothly: One broken car, one car returned to Cambridge, and several hours on the train, and one night later, Frances returned from Cambridge, swapping Sarah for Claudia, picking up a very dedicated med-soc-ballgoer Chantelle, and our Coach, Ashley. We were ready to face Imperial for the first time this year.

The first quarter started well with two goals from Turrell. However, these were quickly followed by two goals from Imperial who we soon discovered were very happy shooting from way past 5m. We didn’t let this faze us and carried out some great counter-attacks resulting in goals from Morgan and Irwin, both of whom were celebrating their first BUCS goals of the season this weekend.

Imperial scored again though, showing that we couldn’t let our guard down just yet. We did, however, realise that we were certainly the fitter team, and used this to our advantage (4 hours training a day on tour had to come in handy at some point). With six seconds left of the second quarter, and after some great passing from Cambridge, Irwin scored her second goal of the match. The score at half time was 5-3, and we weren’t giving up yet.

Imperial came back strongly after half time and the third quarter saw two goals from former Cambridge player Macarena. Claudia Feng, unwilling to stand for this took a fantastic shot from the wing resulting in another goal for Cambridge. At the close of the third quarter the score was 6-5 to us and so we knew this next quarter was going to be pivotal.

The final quarter of this match was certainly the most nerve-racking experience I’ve had of water polo to date. Although in the lead, we knew Imperial were strong. Tritton wasn’t fazed by any of this though and we saw a beautiful goal from her after an excellent counter-attack from the whole team. We also finally stopped fouling Imperial outside five meters, so they didn’t get a single shot away. When the final buzzer sounded we were overjoyed – we had won 7-5 and the long weekend away had been totally worth it. Schubert had the biggest shock at the score because she had somehow spent the whole match thinking we were losing/drawing and so she was surprised to say the least.

Players of the match went to Irwin and Tritton for their cracking goals and never stop attitude. Also a special mention must go to Morgan and Read for their brilliant goal-keeping, without which the score could have been very different given the strength of some of Imperial’s shooters. Final shout out goes to Ashley our coach for making the trip up to Birmingham and making such a difference to the match (he is also owed a congratulations for it being the first time in three years he wasn’t sent off during a match in Walsall).

So we piled into the cars for the journey back to Cambridge, all exhausted but very happy. Despite the busy weekend we made it to training at 7am Monday. This week sees three more BUCS matches for the women which we’ll be going into looking to repeat the success of this weekend. Let’s go Cambridge.

CARDIFF MATCH FINAL SCORE: 9-1 TO CAMBRIDGE
IMPERIAL MATCH FINAL SCORE: 7-5 TO CAMBRIDGE

Women’s Water Polo: Two matches, Two countries, 24 hours…

by Lara Tritton

Fighting fit, fired up and full of fearsome new tactics from the fiendishly ferocious Hungarians post-tour, the Cambridge Women’s Waterpolo team faced 3 matches in 4 days.

After Wednesday had seen a solid and satisfying trouncing of ‘The Other Place’; the team prepared to do battle against the Welsh dragons in Cardiff on Friday evening followed the next morning by Bristol… back in Cambridge. Well, I say in Cambridge but our ‘home’ pool in Northampton is still a good 1.5 hours’ drive from Cambridge.

We set off for Cardiff at 3pm, leaving 5 and a half hours to get there in order to avoid the slight catastrophe that occurred the last time we attempted England’s traffic on a Friday evening to play Cardiff, whereupon our ETA kept ominously slipping later and later until we had reached Reading and realised that not only would we arrive after their pool closed but one car was an hour behind. If you can’t guess, that match didn’t happen.

Despite this seemingly ample time, someone somewhere had decided to close seemingly every road and junction that we needed, so we arrived, leapt in the pool and rushed through our warm-up before swim-off.

Quarter 1: Our short warm-up left our part-time goalie Lucy Morgan out in the cold, and some successful counters by Cardiff quickly left us 3-0 down. We soon got our act together and made sure we sprinted back to get our defensive arc in gear, with some strong defence put in by Ella Irwin and some excellent saves off one-on-ones by Morgan.

A strong shot by Captain Schubert towards the end of the quarter lifted our flagging spirits, and in the interlude before the next quarter we were reminded to play with ‘High Intesnsity’.

Quarter 2: We were now fully in the swing of things, and our capabilities emerged, with some excellent leftie shots by woman of the match Sarah Flaherty. Despite some distinctly questionable refereeing (we think he was mistakenly caught up in the emerging trend for whistle-blowing), with frequent turnovers, we held our own and caught up slightly.

The third and fourth quarters were hard fought, and despite goals from Frances Turrell, Schubert and Irwin, including a bizarre allowance whereby the Cardiff goalie, poor lass, unfortunately managed to score an own goal when she brought the ball back to throw it her teammate. Chantelle Doran and Laura Robinson made sure the runaway goals of the first quarter were not repeated, keeping Cardiff firmly marked. Meanwhile, Kate kept her cool despite being mauled in an unladylike way to ensure opposition goal scoring was minimised.

Sadly, the match finished with a final strong push from Cardiff to end with an 8-6 loss, but we played well… and then drove back- huge credit to Doran and Turrell in one car and Schubert singlehandedly in the other for the 10 hours driving!

We face Cardiff again in less than a week… spoiler: the scoreline read very differently!

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Bristol

Just about time for a quick nap (we arrived back in Cambridge at 3am), before a bright and early start to play Bristol! Raring to go, or semi-awake…I personally slept the whole journey and managed to miss a road block, two police cars and an ambulance, and possibly some interesting gossip…. A larger team- a full contingent of 13- was appreciated as we really could play high intensity against this team who beat us quite solidly last time.

The first quarter. We were prepared for the strength of the Bristol team, and right from the word go made sure that we kept their strong players marked at all times, and as far from the goal as possible. Unfortunately, this seemed to make little difference to some, as one of their girls was as happy shooting from 10m as from 2. She notched up 3 goals in this section, and proceeded to score 69% of the team’s total. A tough opponent, one of a few which caused a fair few exclusions and an unfortunate penalty in the 3rd quarter. A lovely loopy shot from Frances Turrell ensured that we ended the first 7 minutes only 3-1 down, a marked improvement from the 12-1 of our first game vs Bristol.

We then saw a lovely first ever BUCS goal from Becky Mackett, new to waterpolo this year, in the last two seconds of the quarter, and another beauty from Captain Schubert. Alas, despite some strong defence from Giardinello and Irwin, they managed to pop another 5 in, to reach half time 3-8 down.

Regular subbing and a fighting spirit meant we kept Bristol on their toes and did not allow them to become complacent. A third set of 7 minutes saw two goals from Turrell and Schubert, though Flaherty was blocked by some solid defence. In a fit of enthusiasm, Captain Laura made a double-quick substitution of the entire bench… only to find that there were two seconds of the quarter remaining.

By the fourth quarter it was clear that we were not going to be able to bring the match back, but carried on playing well, with a wonderful ending goal by Irwin, who had been doing a sterling job to keep a key player out of the match, and some great tackling by Katie Purohit. We finished 6-16, but on reflection we had played a very good game, and anyway Chantelle Doran had made brownies and flapjacks (for the one peculiar member of our team who actively dislikes chocolate) so we promptly forgot about everything else… until our good Captain reminded us that we had 2 hours before we had to be back in the Leys in Cambridge for our Saturday training.