After Thursday's 19-9 win against Southampton, Bristol Men's Water Polo team achieved yet another convincing victory against Imperial College on Saturday 1st February. Goal keeper Diego Lara only conceded 3 goals to Imperial, thanks to Bristol's impeccable defence. Wingman Charlie Harbot and centre forward Tom Dean were especially successful, with 4 and 3 goals scored respectively. After a tight first quarter, where Imperial scored two goals, Bristol asserted their superiority scoring 13 goals in total. Undefeated so far, Bristol Men's Water Polo are now looking forward to the BUCS semi-finals in Leeds and finals in Surrey, with the ultimate goal being taking the BUCS Championship title for the third consecutive year.
Expected to be Bristol's fiercest opponent in the group stage of BUCS, Imperial was ruthlessly sent home with a dazzling score of 13-3. The result confirms Bristol's undisputed position as leader of the Premier South league. Bristol boys, led by former GB coach Mark Taylor, have been unstoppable throughout this first term, following in the tracks of last year's undefeated BUCS season. Bristol’s post-Christmas success has also been helped by the arrival of two brand new goals. The goals were funded by the Bristol Alumni Foundation whose support the team is very grateful for.
The first few minutes of Saturday’s game were especially intense, with two goals in a row scored by Imperial. But the illusion didn’t last long as Imperial's hopes were destroyed by Bristol's Kieran Whittle, Charlie Harbot, Matt Jenner and Tom Dean, scoring four goals in the first quarter. Bristol's positioning and strategy was impeccable, which only highlighted Imperial's sketchy defence. Several man-ups were conceded by Imperial, providing even more goal scoring opportunities for Bristol. Keeper Diego Lara was rarely solicited, as Bristol's tight defence didn’t allow the London men to come closer than seven or eight meters from the goal. Four goals were scored during the second and third quarter, killing the suspense as to the issue of the match. This game once again showed the perfect cohesion between Bristol’s freshers and its more experienced players, and the training commitment of the team was rewarded with yet another victory.
Bristol comfortably qualified for the knockout phase of BUCS, winning the Premier South league and earning 50 BUCS points for Bristol in the process. They can now look forward to facing the leaders of the Northern Premier league, Edinburgh and Durham, with confidence. Captain Joe Worland commented before the game - “We’ve got a strong squad of players that have produced great results so far. If we can perform at the level we expect of ourselves we should win our final group matches. The real challenge starts in the knockout rounds - we expect to win BUCS so we can’t afford any hiccups.” Bristol Water Polo is already among the only Bristol clubs to ever retain a BUCS gold medal. Winning BUCS for the third consecutive time would be a milestone in the history of Bristol University.
Written by Clement Rames Photos from the match by Alice Trocellier
Taking some advice from former GB coach Mark Taylor
Goal keeper Diego Lara's skills were rarely needed due to Bristol's strong defence
Bristol High Performance athlete Tom Dean (white cap no.4) put in a strong performance
The boys won BUCS last year and have successfully integrated new players into the team to challenge the title again