Men’s water polo hold Leeds Met in thriller as women are defeated

The men’s 7-7 draw with Leeds Met was one of their best performances in the last year, but the women were overpowered by opponents from the same university, losing 12-1

Photograph by Irene Sieberger

Photograph by Irene Sieberger


BUCS League – Men’s Tier 3B


UPolo League – Women’s

York matched their opponents from Leeds Met stroke-for-stroke, throw-for-throw and point-for-point in a pulsating Tuesday evening game of water polo. With one of their fieriest displays this season, York roared back from a disappointing weekend in Liverpool to claim a thoroughly-deserved BUCS draw.

After racing into a 3-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, they were pegged back, overhauled and staring defeat square in the face at 6-4 down. However, a final five minutes of tremendous character ensured a share of the spoils as late goals from Stu Patterson and Duncan Eggleston stunned the visiting team.

Earlier in the evening, the women’s side again appeared out of their depth against powerful opponents as they lost 12-1 to Leeds Met in a UPolo League match-up. A disastrous opening quarter, which saw the York defence breached six times, was balanced out by some genuinely creative play later on, but the visitors were home and dry in no time at all.

The men’s fixture could not have started much better for Captain Arran Bowen-la Grange and his charges. After Met’s number three, Steve Wade, had left Sam Clitheroe’s crossbar reverberating following an early sighter, York snapped into life, opening the scoring through Patterson in the second minute.

Leeds were rattled and the home players swarmed forward to punish them. Mike Perkins had already drawn one save from goalkeeper Bob Davis, but he made no mistake moment later, swimming on to a nicely-executed long-ball and calmly firing home. A third, slammed home by Eggleston, had York in a position they scarcely could have believed.

Waterpolo, 02.02.10, Irene Sieberger

Stu Patterson, who netted twice, was one of York’s most influential players, holding his nerve in the dying seconds to set-up Duncan Eggleston’s equaliser. Photograph by Irene Sieberger.

Early in the second quarter, Patterson, who had the measure of the Leeds defence, struck the crossbar, but the tide was being turned. A contentious incident allowed Leeds a route back into the match; Thanos Matanzas was adjudged to have departed the pool too slowly during a substitution and a penalty was awarded, Lee Szymanski beating Clitheroe high to his right.

Soon, they were on the front foot, threatening York from all angles and making full use of their superior shot power as Dan Pollock and Wade pulled them level at 3-3. However, York were to enter the interval in the ascendancy following Matanzas’s composed finish in a one-on-one situation.

The break seemed to stunt York’s momentum and the third belonged entirely to their opponents. A low, skimming finish from Michael Hall restored parity, another penalty – awarded when Bowen-la Grange submerged the ball to deny Leeds possession – from Szymanski put them back into the lead, and Pollock’s second stretched the score to 6-4.

Perkins drew a fine save from the Leeds goalkeeper, as did Hugh Frere-Cook shortly afterwards, but it wasn’t until the crunch fourth quarter that York saved their situation. Perkins culminated a sweeping move from right-to-left to reduce the deficit to just one and, after Clitheroe repelled efforts from Pollock and James Gale, York equalised through Patterson’s lovely finish from the right.

The final 90 seconds had everything as the game rocked in the balance. First, the points were heading back down the A64 when Andrew Wilson’s clever low finish deceived Clitheroe but then, as the home crowd thought everything was lost, there was one, final sting in the tail – Patterson collected the ball in the right corner but, despite being in a good shooting position, unselfishly squared to Eggleston, who had the simplest of finishes.

Waterpolo, 02.02.10, Irene Sieberger

Duncan Eggleston, York’s number three, sniffs out a route to goal during Tuesday evening’s 7-7 BUCS League draw. Photograph by Irene Sieberger.

It was the just end to a fine 30 minutes of water polo. York, completely motivated, refused to be awed by their supposed superiors in the BUCS League and the post-match remarks by members of the Leeds Met team, commending York’s fire and heart, spoke volumes.

“We started brilliantly, but maybe got a bit ahead of ourselves and paid the price with a few moments of indiscipline,” said Bowen-la Grange afterwards. “But we showed great spirit to get back into the game having gone behind, and scored some very good goals. It’s just a shame we couldn’t get the winner. But I’m very happy with the overall performance.”

In the women’s game, York, facing an experienced Leeds Met side containing many talented players, left themselves far too much to do after a poor first quarter. With the home side regularly exposed at the back, Leeds were able to score at will, taking advantage of a number of three-on-one scenarios. Their number eleven, Hannah Rudman, was the tormentor-in-chief, helping herself to four goals within three first quarter minutes.

York roused themselves in the second, keeping the goals conceded down to just one Rebecca Westerman effort as Cass Walker saved expertly from the same Leeds player on two other occasions. Walker continued to excel in the third quarter, with two more saves in the deep end of the pool, but she could do little about additional goals from Bex McGinty, Lucy Deacon and Rachel McDonald as the score reached 11-0.

They made it a round dozen early in the fourth quarter, but York gained a crumb of comfort when Tharaki Siyaguna scored an excellent goal out of nothing three minutes from the end.

Waterpolo, 02.02.10, Irene Sieberger

Suleika Rohd-Thomsen monitors her team-mates’ movements during the 12-1 home defeat by Leeds Met. Photograph by Irene Sieberger.

York Line-ups:
Men –
1. Sam Clitheroe, 2. Mike Perkins, 3. Duncan Eggleston, 4. Stu Patterson, 5. Arran Bowen-la Grange (c), 6. Thanos Matanzas, 7. Hugh Frere-Cook, 8. Anthony Woodward, 9. Tim Parkin, 10. Nick Dheir, 11. Charlie Morton, 12. Johnny Jackson, 13. Andrew Nash
Women – 1. Cass Walker, 2. Sian Waldron, 4. Jodie Wilkes, 5. Nina Moss, 6. Emily Scott, 8. Rachel Spanton, 9. Krissie Blenkharn, 10. Tharaki Siyaguna, 11. Suleika Rohd-Thomsen, 12. Emily Hirst

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