Last Thursday, Newcastle’s women’s water polo 2nd team scored a record 4 goals in their match against York 1sts, almost matching York’s 6. Bar two, the team has improved their goal difference in every successive match they have played, bringing it down from 33 to just 2.
The first quarter of the game was entirely inconsequential in terms of recordable activity. Both teams sized each other up and sparred to no avail, but beneath the surface antagonism was brewing. Each side was increasingly frustrated by the foiling of their efforts.
Simmering aggression reached boiling point in the second quarter, which saw York’s Verity McCoy and Newcastle’s Anna Turnbull temporarily excluded from the pool for committing major fouls before the thirst for a goal was quenched bilaterally. Newcastle’s Katy ‘Babyfish’ Fisher equalised York’s initial goal within just 15 seconds, bringing the score to 1-1. Continuing the trend of mirroring the actions of their opponent, Newcastle medic Helen Murray and York’s Astrid Morkot injected some drama into the game as each conceded two major fouls towards the latter end of the quarter. Despite the two man-up advantages enjoyed by each team, no-one was able to score. Just seven seconds prior to half time, when York slipped the ball past the Newcastle keeper.
Newcastle asserted themselves early on in the third quarter, with Fisher again bringing the score line to balance. Newcastle’s rhythm was strong and their defence consistently impenetrable but for a couple of wavers taken advantage of by York. In the perfect apology for her earlier misdemeanours Murray produced a spectacle of a goal with a mere second left on the clock, leaving everything to play for in the final period of the game.
The team from the toon suffered somewhat in the final portion. Murray’s contribution to the team was cut short by an unfortunate rapping, and the multi-talented Charlotte Duff was beginning to feel the pace as a result of competing in a strenuous golf tournament earlier in the day. York opened their lead to 3-6, but the ultimate result was eclipsed by the sheer class that was exhibited in Ellie Rogers’ match culminating goal. In a manoeuvre comparable to an iconic scene from Ice Age involving a Sloth and melon, Rogers epitomised the quality of the Newcastle seconds. The improvement curve for this team has been undeniably outstanding, and promises exciting times for the future.