Wednesday evening saw and encounter in Round One of the BWWPL Knockout President’s Cup between City of Newport, presently second in the Premier Division and who have recently gained re-admittance to the British Water Polo League and Division 2’s South Gloucester, presently in the bottom half of the Division, and have recently lost to Bradford-on-Avon (twice !! ). Who could look for more of a David and Goliath fixture?
The Handicap Committee had pondered the handicap long and hard, eventually deciding on a 25 goal start for South Glos.
Nine visiting players arrived from the Bristol side in Newport to find a full 13 changed and warmed up players from Newport, including Chris Taylor, James Farror and Matty Veale to name but a few.
It became very apparent early on that South Gloucester’s game plan was defence, as they played a heavy press to keep the Newport score as low as possible. Out of the blue, and completely against the run of play, Michael Chadwick scored for the visitors in the second minute. This was quickly followed by a pair of goals for Farror, one for Veale and a pair for “lefty” Turner, all within the next 2 ½ minutes. South Gloucester claimed another, just before the break, to see the quarter close 5 – 2 to Newport.
The second quarter was a tense and close affair, which saw neither team dominate the pool. Newport won a man-up 2 minutes into the quarter, which was well executed and saw Farror finish off cleanly for a great goal. Waller scored for Newport a minute later, but that was all, in a quarter which saw determined work from both sides. Half time and the score was 7 – 2.
Newport needed to score 21 points in the second half to claw back the handicap, but they went for it. South Gloucester were tiring now and the half time break did little to help them recover. Waller claimed the first goal of the second half for Newport, followed by a great Taylor counter attack goal. Waller claimed his hattrick shortly afterwards, followed by a second for Veale. South Gloucester continued to defend and that was how the quarter finished, 11 – 2, and Newport still needing 17 to take the lead.
GB player Waite opened the scoring for Newport in the last quarter. Newport then gave away a major and this found Chadders with space in front of goal and a quick one-two saw him score for South Gloucester. South Gloucester retuned the favour and gave away a major in front of their goal, allowing Farror to score the resultant man-up. Farror scored another quickly after. Bowen scored next for Newport, but Newport then gave away another major, and South Gloucester punished them with another goal. Gandee powered up the centre of the pool and scored a great solo effort for Newport.
South Gloucester called a timeout. When the play restarted, “lefty” Turner stole the ball brilliantly, and shot from 2/3rds of the way down the pool, over the head of the South Gloucester keeper who had not made it back to his goal, to produce what could be arguably the best goal of the game. Chadders found himself clear again, and swam to score the third for South Gloucester in the quarter, and his personal hattrick. This was followed by another goal for Farror, to take his total to six for the match. Final score, 18 – 5, but once the handicap is applied, the score was 18 – 30, and South Gloucester progress through to the next round of the Cup, displaying a quite remarkable ability to defend.