The club had a great tournament in all respects. Guilford came in a respectable 3rd we almost clinched a better place in the last game against Southampton but I deflected a shot past Roger and gave them the winning edge. As always huge thanks go out to Mike Clark for bringing it all together, Steve and the staff at Arena Cars for their sponsorship, Alf Ramsey for running the raffle, Martin who controlled the money and got Mark registered in time, Richard and Mike Clark who manned the table and of course the players who contributed the prizes.
We also had an unprecedented support column in the balcony. There were heel marks and scratches on the doors where we dragged our wives, girlfriends, children, hostages, etc.. in to witness our beloved sport. I stayed to the end and everybody that was there thoroughly enjoyed the polo, food and fellowship. As a club we can be extremely proud of the service we do water polo in the south each year through our tournament. Thank you all for your support and enthusiasm!
In the pool we made a good account of ourselves. I was really pleased to be able to field a first 7 of younger and new players who would undoubtedly have floundered and washed up in the scum channel if they did not have Steve, Roger and James guiding them. The results are below and with the exception of the Basingstoke match the team played consistently. In the said game we dropped our focus and intensity a bit and it showed mainly in our defence. Throughout the night the attack was very positive and aggressive, attempts on goal were too numerous to count. The Charter house water polo fund will have to broaden the budget this year for repairs to the goal posts and tiles next them. This is an aspect of sport we often forget, luck! Many would say you make your own which is true but sometimes lady luck exercises her sense of humour and I believe we were on the receiving end quite often.
Basingstoke Lost 4-8
Crawley Won 5-2
Marlins Won 9-3
Southampton Lost 4-5
At times the play was quite physical but Steve remained solid at the back although he is putting in a sick note for facial and rib injuries. Sometimes you’re allowed to let go of your man to protect yourself but he’s not pretty enough to be allowed to do that, so after massaging his ego a bit he felt the injuries weren’t so bad. Our new polo man Mark was inspirational to watch his strength and skill in tackles are similar to Russell’s but whereas Russell dummies and swims himself out of trouble Mark manages to fight his way around and still keep control of the ball. I point these things out not to embarrass anyone or undermine the efforts of others. My intention is to bring them to the attention of us lesser player on what to watch and how to improve our game. Andy H overcame an international hang over (ask him about it) to win the ball every time, bar once and put in a tremendous swimming display. Before closing, my wife tells me I owe everyone an apology for my shouting and gesticulations. I hope I did not come over too pain in the butt passionate. In my defence I had to shout load, as we all know acoustics in the water are pretty poor. Then again as Marjorie says “It was like at home, you shout and everyone does what they want to anyway”.
Thank you all for a great polo night out. Many stood down because of the good response to the call for players. Thank you all of you who could play but didn’t. Hopefully next year we will be able to field 2 teams and the way things are going they could be quite equally matched.
Back to the water!