Men’s water polo storm to opening victory

Sunderland were swept aside as York opened their UPolo campaign in imperious style on Wednesday evening

Photograph by George Lowther

Photograph by George Lowther


Wednesday 21st October – UPolo League

Sorry Sunderland endured a baptism of fire in the Upolo League as York ran riot on Wednesday evening at the Archbishop Holgate. The North-East University rocked up with just enough players to form a team but, exhausted at the mid-way point, were forced to accept a donation of spare York men to keep the score vaguely respectable. Even so, the hosts, 8-0 ahead after the first quarter and free-flowing in attack throughout, had little reason to turn off the cruise control.

Mindful of their numerical advantage, York resolved to tear into their inexperienced opponents from the first whistle and soon clicked into gear. Four goals from James Richardson and two apiece from Hugh Frere-Cook and Arran Bowen-la Grange, the Captain, had the points wrapped up before 9.15pm. Darren Burchell, deputising for injured first-choice goalkeeper Sam Clitheroe, could do little else but look on and admire as Sunderland were pinned back into an increasingly desperate rearguard action.

Having rotated their squad to allow newcomers a piece of the action, York were less fluid in the second quarter but still reached double figures. Frere-Cook contributed a long-range stunner and Charlie Morton, the University Swimming and Water Polo Club President, cancelled out a couple of Sunderland strikes.

Men's Water Polo, 09.05.09, Photo: George Lowther.

Hugh Frere-Cook, pictured here at Roses 2009, had an interesting evening, scoring three times for York and once for Sunderland. Photograph by George Lowther.

Leading 10-2 at the interval, and conscious of Sunderland’s plight, Bowen-la Grange negotiated a gift of three players, including Frere-Cook, with his counterpart Richard Harmer. It had little effect, with York netting a further six times in the third quarter, courtesy of Mike Perkins (three), Bowen-la Grange, Max Beckham and Andrew Woodward. The latter two impressed on their first appearance for the team.

Perkins took his personal tally to five during the final quarter, although Sunderland finally found some rhythm and added four of their own, including an extraordinary moment when ‘on loan’ Frere-Cook fired past his own goalkeeper.

Bowen-la Grange was understandably delighted with his team’s first outing of the season: “I’m really pleased to see us get off to such a great start, especially considering we’ve only had one training session together so far and we’re missing four or five more experienced lads.

“I was also pleased with the new boys Ray [Wode], Andy and Max – this was Ray’s first ever match and he’s showing great potential. Given time, we can be a real force to be reckoned with in this region and I’m looking forward to kicking off our BUCS campaign – hopefully with another win.”

York line-up: 1. Darren Burchell (gk), 2. Andrew Nash, 3. Duncan Eggleston, 5. Max Beckham, 6. Sam Geeson, 7. Arran Bowen-la Grange (c), 8. Raymond Wode, 9. Charlie Morton, 10. James Richardson, 11. Andrew Woodward, 12. Mike Perkins, 13. Hugh Frere-Cook