This was a day to forget for the Strathclyde University men’s water polo team on Wednesday. After a 220-mile trip to the Edge, the team couldn’t get their bus parked, leading to the start of the game being delayed slightly. By the end of the match, the Scottish side will have wished they’d have stayed at home, as they were thrashed 34-3 by Leeds, who moved through to the last 16 of the Water Polo Trophy. From the start, Leeds were on top, with twenty-four unanswered goals in the second and third quarter propelling them to victory.
Strathclyde were the first side to score, winning a penalty after a Leeds foul. The away side were then lucky to stay ahead, with Leeds hitting the crossbar, before two quick goals put the home side 2-1 up. One of the major advantages that Leeds had during the match was their ability to make changes, with Strathclyde unable to field any substitutes. After the away side levelled the scores, Leeds made their first changes, but it was their goalkeeper who put them ahead, catching Strathclyde’s stopper unaware with a fantastic long range shot off of the crossbar. Constant pressure from the home side helped them score five more goals, taking an 8-2 lead right on the buzzer to signal the end of the quarter.
The second quarter started scrappily, but Leeds’ counter attack was working to devastating effect. Their attacks seemed much more purposeful than their opponents, and this showed as they quickly took a 12-2 lead. Strathclyde’s occasional attacks were stopped by the Leeds defence, which inevitably led to another goal on the counter for the home side. This pattern continued for the rest of the quarter, adding five more goals to take a 17-2 lead into half time. Strathclyde looked crestfallen at what was happening, as they were unable to make any changes to save their tiring bodies.
There was no sign of the home side relenting in the second half, as they scored two goals in quick succession, one courtesy of another fantastic counter-attack, and one down to a poor pass from the away side’s keeper. The extra energy of the Leeds side was obvious, as at times they seemed to have extra men in the pool, such was the effectiveness of their play. Despite this, Strathclyde were slightly improved from the first half, but still couldn’t prevent the home side taking a 27-2 lead, before finally scoring, much to the annoyance of the home keeper.
Leeds seemed to take it easier in the final quarter, seeming content to keep the ball, and only attacking when an obvious opportunity presented itself. They took a 30-3 lead, forcing Strathclyde to shoot from long range, leading to quick turnover’s, giving Leeds a chance to attack again. The home side added another four goals before the end of the match. Strathclyde tried to salvage some pride before the end, as they hit the crossbar three times in the final few minutes, but Leeds ended the match as 34-3 victors.
The home side will be hoping they can take this momentum into their final league match against Newcastle, as they need to avoid defeat to ensure that they stay in the Northern 1A division next season. If they can repeat the team spirit and determination they showed today, there’s no reason why this should be a problem.
Featured Image: The Gryphon