The University of Bristol Men’s Water Polo team has won their third consecutive BUCS title in a faultless series of matches; being undefeated in their last 28 BUCS games. Throughout the semi-finals and finals, Bristol was clearly the team to beat. Despite the pressure, coach Mark Taylor's team approached their crucial games with confidence and determination. This year’s win was, in the words of Simon Hinks, Director of Sport at the University of Bristol “a new milestone in the history of Bristol sport” as Men's Water Polo became the first Bristol sports team to win a BUCS title for three years in a row.
The BUCS Water Polo Championship round-robin finals took place over the 25th and 26th March at Surrey Sports Park at the University of Surrey. Here’s Bristol path to victory;
The Bristol boys’ first match is against Manchester, who score their first and only goal 3 minutes from the end of the match. Diego Lara, Bristol's goalkeeper, can't hide his disappointment: he wanted to keep a clean sheet for the entire game. Final score: Bristol 16, Manchester 1. The stats are impressive: all six man-downs were defended by Bristol, while all man-ups were scored. The only penalty conceded was saved, and Bristol scored its penalty. In short: 100%. In the words of Manchester's coach, Bristol Uni played "at National League level". What a compliment, coming from a former GB coach! One game down, two to go.
The second game, on Wednesday morning, is slightly tougher. Leeds manages to score 8 goals, while Bristol put 19 at the back of the net. The impressive number of counter-attacks scored by Bristol shows a great alertness in defence as well as physical dominance in attack. Bristol’s Captain, Joe Worland summarises “we worked hard in the first quarter, and then kept our discipline”. Two down, last match is for the title.
Durham University prove to be the strongest opponent, as is shown in the final score of 9-6. Yet, in spite of the pressure imposed by Durham's tight defence, no one doubted Bristol’s ability to win. Bristol reacts with pride to the Durham’s strength, working hard to secure their 9 goals. Durham's defensive strategy, at times quite aggressive, is sanctioned by 2 penalties, which are both skilfully scored by Bristol’s GB Saxons player Tom Dean.
Bristol Men’s Water Polo team’s commitment to training is once again rewarded with success, only making them more determined to keep up the hard work and do it all again next year!
Written by Clement Rames