It was a tale of two teams in the Water Polo on the third day of the Roses Tournament, as both the men and the women experienced contrasting performances that forced the eight points on offer to be shared equally.
Lancaster’s women eased to victory in a Water Polo match in which they dominated from the start to win 12-1.
The Red Rose pressed from the start, and had opened the scoring almost immediately. This was then followed up within minutes by Simone Anderson to give Lancaster a quickfire double. York could have negated this but for Liz Foster’s stunning save from Jodie Wilkes’ shot, with the ball tipped over the bar.
There was time for two more goals in the first quarter with Anderson picking out Suzi Kern with a pinpoint pass in front of goal to leave Becky Williams, York’s goalkeeper, unable to stop the resulting strike. Like previously, this was followed up almost immediately with a fourth goal for Lancaster.
Lancaster had been excellent in the first quarter, and kept it up throughout the second by continuing with their attacking mentality; Anderson found the goal to give Lancaster a fifth having been in acres of space. York pulled one back to cheers from the deflated supporters, but it would turn out to be nothing more than a consolation prize; reinforced by a Lancaster penalty that was duly converted by Becky Gannon. The second quarter ended with Lancaster extremely comfortable at 8-1.
The confidence of the Red Rose in the third quarter showed as the Lancaster ladies attempted some shots at large distances away from goal; a shot from Kern was almost taken from the centre of the pool, and went straight over the bar. This presumably provoked York as the match became visibly more heated as the White Rose struggled to make their way up the pool.
Some positives could be taken for York from Williams’ great reaction save to a Lancaster penalty in the third quarter, as well as an excellent solo effort from Emily Huntingford late in the fourth quarter, who made her way down the pool in good time but was not supported by her deflated team mates.
As Lancaster made four substitutions it was obvious that the four points on offer would go to the Red Rose. A thoroughly deserved victory for a team that dominated from start to finish.
It was an entirely different story for the Lancaster Men, however. No side had the definite upper hand during the course of play, in a game that could accurately be described as a battle.
The lead alternated between the two sides several times in a tense match that had none of the runaway dominance of the women beforehand.
Lancaster took the lead in the opening stages, which indicated the match might go a similar way.
However, it swiftly became obvious this would not be the case. York’s goalkeeper, Chris Snowden, delivered a powerful throw that was immediately latched on to by a York player high up the pool who, in acres of space, was extremely unlucky to hit the bar.
Shortly after this, York were able to equalize through a Stuart Patterson strike in a few minutes of play that took the Lancaster players and supporters by surprise. It was apparent that a game was about to unfold, emphasised by the penalty given to York’s number three, who was unable to convert it. There was still time for a goal apiece in the first quarter, ending 2-2.
As the match resumed, York took the lead through an unstoppable effort to make the score 3-2. This failed to subdue Lancaster, who looked lively even after having a seemingly equalizing goal disallowed by the referee.
However, as York further increased their lead to 4-2, frustration began to take hold. The Lancaster coach was becoming more agitated on the sidelines as Sethna for Lancaster fired wide into the female toilet. Lancaster were awarded a penalty that Jennings took – firing the ball straight at the keeper who will be delighted that the ball ricocheted off the bar having been unable to hold on to it.
Despite this frustration, Lancaster to their credit did not give up, and were rewarded by pulling one back through Jennings, who was able to beat the keeper on this occasion.
The second quarter ended 4-3, with the feeling that the game could go either way in the second half. True to this expectation, it did, as Lancaster equalized early in the third quarter, followed by a fifth goal for the Red Rose that enabled them to take the leads against the odds, in the face of Snowden’s commanding presence in the York goal.
This was, however, short-lived as York converted a penalty and, soon after, took the lead once again. Lancaster, presumably battle weary from an intense match, continued to fire wide, while Snowden made an excellent save from a powerful Barkclough strike in the final quarter of the match.
Soon after, the game seemed like it was running away from the Red Rose as York extended their lead after a great solo effort from Patterson, who covered the length of the pool in a surprisingly quick time considering the intensity of the match.
A time out was called, which was good for Lancaster to regroup; they were able to score soon after play resumed to take the game right down to the wire, but it was a case of too little, too late. The match ended 7-6 to York, in what was a tense and exciting game to watch.