EUSWPC’s women’s Firsts made history on 3 October, as the first University of Edinburgh Water Polo team to claim the Scottish National League title. Keen to build on this success, the club’s first-team men and women kicked off the Scottish Student Sport (SSS) season with a much anticipated match against St Andrews.
The girls were hungry for revenge after suffering defeat to St Andrews in the Scottish Cup last year. However, they had only played a couple of practice games and the St Andrews team was much improved on that of last year.
Winning the first period 3-1, Edinburgh went into the second with confidence and Kat McIntosh scored three back-to-back goals taking Edinburgh further ahead. The tides began to turn with Edinburgh conceding three poor man-down goals without reply. Going into the third period St Andrews were on Edinburgh’s tail at 6-5, with the lack of games and fitness Edinburgh starting to struggle against St Andrew’s full press.
The fourth period saw no action for the first three minutes before St Andrew scored two breakaway goals and took a 9-7 lead. Edinburgh pulled one back with two minutes left on the clock and there was the prospect of an equaliser, but St Andrews were not finished. Scoring another breakaway goal they ensured the game finished in a 10-8 defeat for Edinburgh.
Despite the close finish, Coach Derek Docherty highlighted three telling factors explaining the Edinburgh defeat. “Firstly, with lack of games we did not have enough time for our new players to gel; secondly, with a head injury to Kat making her sick meant she was on the bench for one and half periods; thirdly, St. Andrews have improved, and with the addition of a very good American player they are a strong and well-drilled team’. The girls were frustrated by the close result, but the hunger is still very much there and they look forward to the return game on 16 November.
The men’s game provided a much more positive result for Edinburgh. Despite St Andrews’ early lead and a slow start for Edinburgh, the guys came back in force. Goals from Nuno Oliveira, Christos Anastasiades and captain Ed Grundy overwhelmed the scoreboard, while goalkeeper Bojan Donevski made an astounding nineteen saves.
Credit is due to Edinburgh’s defensive tactics; by playing a drop they forced St Andrews to shoot from far out and Donevski had no trouble handling these attempts. Robert Tate was top scorer with five goals, including some formidable pit shots. Overall, the team were in control of the game and, according to captain Grundy, Edinburgh could have won by more. Nevertheless, the final score of 16-10 puts the boys in a strong position at the start of their SSS campaign.