UNIVERSITY OF YORK MEN’S FIRSTS 10 vs. UNIVERSITY OF BRADFORD MEN’S FIRSTS 8
UPolo League, Wednesday 3rd December 2008
It has been a long time in arriving, but York’s water polo team could finally immerse themselves in competitive action on Wednesday. Sadly, inactivity bred rustiness and it required an impressive, though necessary, fightback to sink the challenge of Bradford at the Archbishop Holgate.
York had previously recorded some twenty-something winning margins against their county neighbours, but had this year confronted severe logistical problems, reducing both training time and actual matches. Nevertheless, a shooting masterclass from Duncan Eggleston, who notched a double hat-trick, proved the catalyst for a victory which had looked unlikely 7-3 down at half-time.
Missing a couple of regular starting attackers, including sidelined Arran Bowen-la Grange, the home side struggled to stamp their tempo on proceedings and were swiftly punished when Bradford netted from a goalmouth scramble in the second minute.
Eggleston’s first scoring contribution in response proved a rare oasis in a disastrous first quarter, in which hesitant defending permitted Bradford to establish a 4-1 lead. Their fourth was the pick of the bunch, a close-range finish past goalkeeper Sam Clitheroe culminated a sweeping move triggered by a route one throw-out by Bradford’s custodian.
The one-way traffic continued in the second quarter. York resorted to speculative long-distance shots while Bradford scored some remarkable skilled, spinning efforts to stretch their lead further. Nevertheless, as the seven minutes wore on, York started to assert some authority and while it took another couple of Eggleston strikes to keep them in touch, a flurry of missed chances suggested the second half would be a different story.
So it conspired in the third, as the irrepressible Eggleston notched another couple to reduce the gulf to 7-5, firing home with accuracy from acute positions on the left wing.
This pivotal seven minutes had irrevocably shifted the game and York, freshly inspired, surged back with wave after wave of attack as their opponents fatigued. Seconds into the final quarter, Stuart Paterson correctly resisted the urge to pass and blasted home from a central position. Bradford were reeling and after Mike Perkins was denied on the goal line, York hauled themselves level.
After a desperately-needed time out, Bradford’s defence was again unpicked, Gene Kindberg-hanlon taking full advantage for 8-7. In the closing stages, Neill Marshall culminated a neat move from a set-piece and Eggleston took York’s tally into double figures with his sixth. Bradford narrowed the gap from a corner, but time had expired with York, without approaching their best, doing enough for victory. The team must now iron out those defensive shortfalls in time for the visit of Durham on Monday night.