Plenty of splash in the attic for Toon

Newcastle's female water polo players made up for the men's losses with an emphatic win in the pool

Fleur ODwyer
28th February 2017
Player of the match, Sophie Sowerby takes no prisoners. Image: Katy Ball

Northumbria, knowing this would be a big game, came out fighting, gaining possession, then formulating the arc to gift number 4 the opportunity to find the net in the opening seconds.

It was soon followed by an effective counter-attack seeing Sarah Poyntz find the back of Northumbria’s net with ease.

Newcastle, started to become more dominant in the closing minutes of the first quarter with numerous shots just missing the goal, as both Emma Little and Sophie Sowerby found the cross bar.

Poyntz again managed to find the left top corner to bring Newcastle into the lead for the first time. This was quickly followed by a well-structured set up from Little, Poyntz and Sowerby who worked the ball around the arc, allowing Little to quickly pass to Captain Beth Laidlaw in pit, who then powerfully backhanded the ball into the right-hand side of the goal.

Northumbria again started strong in the second quarter, closing the score to 3-2 with a stunning shot from number 8 from the half-way ling, just missing Newman’s fingers by a millimetre; prompting a large gasp to resonated from the crowd.

“Newcastle seemed to have found a form superior to Northumbria”

Poyntz and Sowerby worked the ball up into Northumbria’s half as the arc was being set up. The ball, then passed to Little, suffered heavy contact from Northumbria, although it was not called by the referee, which was very controversial. The ball now in Northumbria’s possession was soon turned over by Jade Holden who not only stole back possession but set up Little for a clear shot a goal, extending Newcastle’s lead to 4-2.

Newcastle were soon gifted another opportunity as Northumbria’ number 8 was given a major and would be out of the game for 20 seconds. This allowed Newcastle to be a man up. Having set up the arc formation, Sowerby and Little performed a quick one-two, confusing the Northumbria defence and opening Sowerby to have a clear shot a goal bringing the score to 6-2.

However, the tables had turned as Sowerby was also given a major. Newman however managed to stop them from capitalising, getting her finger tips to the ball and knocking Northumbria’s number 3’s shot over the crossbar of the goal.

Newcastle, were soon on the attack again with Short intercepting the ball and having an amazing swim up field supported by Little, Sowerby and Tara Twine. Unfortunately Sowerby had a powerful shot find the crossbar. However, Twine, was ready in pit to scope up the rebound and smash it straight into the back of the net, scoring her first goal for the firsts. The Newcastle supporters roared with excitement at Twine’s milestone.

Going into the third quarter with an 8-3 lead, Newcastle were ready for Northumbria’s quick start, with Little producing the block of the game to prevent Northumbria’s number 10 from coming close to finding the back of the net.

Stan Calvert victories in 3 years

It wasn’t long before Sowerby was in a commanding position, finding the back of the net once more with her trademark power left-handed throw. This was soon followed by a well-worked goal by Short, bringing the score up to 10-3.

Newcastle seemed to have found a form superior to Northumbria as Laidlaw regained possession, who passed to Little who then set up Sowerby in pit, who once again released her left-handed power shot finding the back of the net.

Not to be overshadowed by the seniors in the squad the Team junior, Katherine Fisher created the perfect set up for Little to find the back of the net, now extending the lead to 12-3.

However, the Newcastle girls up front were not the only ones performing well. Newman produced a tremendous save, driving up the ball into the top right hand corner and then again to the left-hand corner.

In the dying seconds of the quarter Newcastle found themselves a man up. Sowerby again found the back of the net, giving Newcastle a 13-3 lead as they headed into the final quarter.  Maintaining the arc formation gave Lord room on the wing to perform, with an early lob shot into the left-hand side of the net. This shot was soon mirrored by Short who found the right-hand side.

Following 2 Newcastle substitutions, they conceded a goal to the bottom right hand corner allowing Northumbria to close the gap only for a spilt second, before Sowerby again found the back of the net bring the score to 16-4. Within 20 seconds, Sowerby was back up in Northumbria’s half with Little and Poyntz working the ball around the arc, before Little’s back hand found the net.

A team effort saw Laidlaw score the final goal. It was made only sweeter by the fact it was the last Stan Calvert and meeting with the local rivals for many of long-standing and highly influential players of the team.

MVP: Sophie Sowerby

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