Water Polo Back to Full Tilt
British Water Polo League –
Spartans Div 3
The first weekend for the Spartans was 3 matches at Ponds Forge in Sheffield. This season the team were seven core players short due to travelling, injury, moving on and three players who have moved to CSWPC’s first team. Following the success of ‘drip’ introducing juniors to the league last season Spartans have taken the bold decision to give those players maximum exposure to the league this year. The first weekend saw 7 juniors selected to travel with Spartans and they stepped up to the mark more than admirably. The five 16 year olds and two 15 year olds have played against a host of heavily experienced players and very big geezers from Otter, Croydon and Manchester. The senior availability was extremely limited, with Stu Mckie #12! Predictably the results didn’t go Spartans way but the team represented the club in a strong division, scoring goals and winning quarters and our juniors, in particular, held their own and provided a huge surprise for our opposition. Well done Taylor Walsh, George Glover, Xander McKie, Dan Day, James Willis, Luke Tubby & Morgan Wells. You’ve done yourselves and the club proud and hopefully learnt a few new skills under the guidance of CSWPC greats like Dave Taylor, James Ross and Dave Edwards. Special mention also to Harry Redman who played great and scored two goals with a red hat on. Got to love those new rules!
CSWPC First Team
CSWPC’s Mens First team started their BWPL season at Ponds Forge too. Their opening match was against last years champions City of Manchester and proved to be the best match of the day. Manchester were always ahead, scoring three without reply in the first period and moving to 6-3 in the second. But dogged Cheltenham simply refused to wilt, gradually clawing their way back into contention and, at the very end, coming close to salvaging a point. CSWPC’s spirit showed itself with Manchester 6-4 ahead at the start of the third as goalkeeper Sam Legge saved a Manchester penalty and then Will Middleton scored – 6-5. Perhaps the turning point of the match came shortly afterwards. Manchester’s Joe O’Regan took advantage of new rules to score direct from a corner; then a Mikey Patterson goal made it 8-5 to Manchester. It went to 9-6 before Cheltenham rallied again, scoring twice in the last minute to make it a nervy end for the champions. CSWPC’s other match against Lancaster on the Sunday was equally exciting. A strong first quarter CSWPC took the lead, 4-2. This continued through the 2nd with help of a few penalties, 6-3. Lancaster came back strong in the third scoring 3 goals to CSWPC’s 1. Score was 7-6 entering the last quarter. A quarter filled with drawing and pulling away from both sides final score was 10-10. Cheltenham currently sit 5th in the table with CSWPC’s own William Middleton sitting 4th in the top goal scorers table for the division.
Ladies Div 3
The ‘real’ story for the women’s squad in 2019 has been the roller coaster ride of the British water Polo League. Failure to qualify for Division 3 in January was a huge disappointment, then a glimmer of hope; Leeds dropping out of Division 1 allowing CSWPC to enter as the best placed team from the 2018 season. The team grasped the opportunity, and after the opening weekend sit proudly on the top of the table with 100% perfect record of three wins from the three matches played.
Cheltenham v Penguin
First match against previous division 2 team of Penguin Emperors was a little nervy but by half time a healthy lead of 5-1 was established, extending to 8-2 by the end of the third with two of our youngest players finding their target, Priya Kennedy scoring 3 and Sofia Fountain with 4 goals completing the win, with a final score 9-6 to CSWPC.
Cheltenham v Southampton
Match two against Southampton a much more experienced team of older women was to be a sterner test of character from the players and tactical awareness from the coach. Trailing 2-6 at half time and with fitness coming to the fore CSWPC switched to a counter attack, which proved decisive, scoring severn unanswered goals, with a final score of 9-6. This was a gritty test and superb performance, the whole squad contributing to the win. S. Fountain 4, S Tubb 2, P Kennedy 1, C Martin 1, C Hulls 1 and a penalty save by Captain Kate Read.
Cheltenham v Manchester Comets
The third and final match on Sunday was against Manchester Comets. The squad were now starting to hit their stride winning comfortably 20-2. The flourishing and dynamic combination of Priya Kennedy and Sophia Fountain both adding 4 goals apiece paved the way with Charlotte Martin and Rebecca Thomas adding 3 & 4 respectfully and additional goals by Meg Swinburn 1, Sam Tubb 1 and Georgia McCool completing the rout with 2. Of course there was a penalty save by Kate Read, keeping up her 100% record.
Rob Smee’s final word is for the regular band of travelling parents. “You have been unwavering in your encouragement and unrivalled in your vocal support at each and every match. Thank you all.”
At the end of September 10 CSWPC U13’s took part in a tournament in Plymouth. For 6 players it was their first time ever playing competitive games. CSWPC took a relatively inexperienced and young team and faced with almost full length games (4x5min, stopping clock) it was going to be a long and hard day for the juniors. However they started very well, and performed fantastically against Newton Abbot. The small goals seemed to be causing a problem as Cheltenham spurned chance after chance, crashing their shots against the woodwork but this did not stop Cheltenham winning the game 3-0. Next up was Devonport, who had also beaten Newton Abbot, meaning this was a gold medal, winner takes all game. Cheltenham took an early two goal lead in the game, but Devonport fought back and brought the scores level. Each team traded goals after this, neither managing to take control of the game. CSWPC’s Emily Mason was in great form, making some outstanding saves to keep Cheltenham in the game. With 10 seconds left of the match and the scores tied at 5-5, Cheltenham won a penalty. Converted expertly by Louie McKie! Devonport attempted one last attack but time was up, the game was done. Cheltenham won the game 6-5 and took home the gold medal. Well done Emily Mason, Louie McKie, Henry Young, Adrianna Rodriguez, Hugo Rodriguez, Anna Thomas, Georgia Haslam, Alex Haslam, Ella Webster & Libby Davies. Special thanks to Joe Berry and Amy Berry who coached the team.
Midland Water Polo League
CSWPC played their final 3 games this month to complete their Midlands Youth 1 league season. A very close win against Northampton B, final score CSWPC 7 Northampton B 6. Then a monster of a game at home against Worcester Crocodiles final score Crocs 22 CSWPC 8. Finally a brilliant game against Solihull Gold. CSWPC took the lead in the first quarter which looked promising but Solihull Gold came back fighting. Final Score Solihull Gold 14 CSWPC 8. CSWPC finished the season in a respectable 3rd place. Head Coach John Spicer reflected on the season saying “The Midland League Division 1 turned out to be a very competitive competition after being split into two divisions. It was a great platform for CSWPC’s young team to develop and gain experience from. Next season looks very promising for this group of players who will mostly be in the top of the leagues age group.” Well done to everyone who played their part. Full team was Harry Mason, Katy Daley, Sofia Fountain, Gigi Boskett-Williams, Harry Barber, Thomas Webster, Arran Downer, Zachary Downer, Alice Tubby, Freya Webster, Mara Totilici, Michela Totilici, Sam Handley, Henry Young, Liam Barnes, Harrison Walsh, Rex Lewis & Louie Mckie.
CSWPC under 18’s started their season in the Midland Water Polo League this month. Two big games with very large scores were had. First up was City of Coventry away. The CSWPC junior men dominated throughout final score 2-42 to CSWPC. Next the boys faced HGSOB (Handsworth Grammar School Old Boys) at home. Another large score line, final score 32-3 to CSWPC. Currently the team are top of the league it will be interesting to see if the young men can keep this up or if the real Challengers have yet to be played!
Bristol & West League
Cheltenham Spartans have played two more matches in this league. Welsh Wanderers at home which had an impressive final quarter, including a hat trick of goals from Tom Hunt. Final score 14-9 to Spartans. They also faced City of Bristol at home. This was a very close match but Spartans just managed to hold Bristol at bay even with a last minute penalty. Final score 14-13 to Spartans. The team are still top of the league with 2 matches to play. I would say the title is securely theirs. Well done Chaps!
CSWPC Ladies team finished off their season with four final games this month. First up was Newton Abbot at home. Newton Abbott failed to fulfil the fixture so easy points for CSWPC. Next was Exeter away. An amazing first and third quarter for CSWPC, but it wasn’t enough, final score 10-15 to Exeter. Then the ladies faced Cwm Draig away. A long drive for the mainly young team but a brilliant result with a 11-6 win for CSWPC. Final match was City of Bristol at home. CSWPC’s ladies seemed to get stronger and stronger during this match final score 7-4 to CSWPC. Currently the ladies team sit 4th in the league however there are some matches still to be played. As the 2019 Bristol and West League comes to a close Ladies Coach Rob Smee reflects on how far the development of the women’s section at CSWPC has come even from the beginning of 2019. “The women’s team will finish in all likelihood nearer the bottom of the table than the top in BWWPL; some will see this as a failure but for the coaches, Mike Howells, Pat Thomas & myself, there was never going to be a good or bad finishing position in this league. It was always our intention from the outset to use these matches for development of a squad of quality players capable of competing on a national level. The success for the club and the coaches’ was to see our youngest players like Alice Tubby, Freya Webster, Charlotte Martin, Priya Kennedy and Sofia Fountain all excel within the Bristol & West League gaining valuable experience against strong opposition.” Rob also said how from a personal perspective it was with great satisfaction he watched Georgia McCool, Meg Swinburn and Olivia Shelmerdine continue to impress in matches and in training. The return of Kate Read has also brought new life and tactics to goalkeepers Eryn Keogh and Gigi Boskett-Williams. Full BWWPL team were Eryn Keogh, Meg Swinburn, Sofia Fountain, Sam Tubb, Amy Berry, Charlotte Martin, Becky Thomas, Evie Handley, Priya Kennedy, Tisa Maunder-Bushell, Crystal Hulls, Georgia McCool, Livvy Shelmerdine, Freya Webster, Gigi Boskett-Williams, Amelia Boskett-Williams, Alice Tubby, Sophie Clink, Alice Whitehead, Maddie Shay, Matilda Dugdale & Kate Read