Friday 16th November 2018 saw the second match of the year between the SBSJ U18 Water Polo team and the 'Old Boys'.
The last encounter ended 10 - 9 to the U18 SBSJ team and the 'Old Boys' were back for revenge.
SBSJ 9 - 7 Old Boys
Joint players of the match - Thomas Cokewright and Harvey Weston-Beyer
We spoke before the game about how the first quarter was going to be the toughest because not only we were attacking the shallow end but with both teams being fresh we knew that would give the older and bigger opposition the advantage. As predicted, the 'Old Boys' started off the stronger and the SBSJ team couldn't break them down, leaving themselves open to the counter, to which the 'Old Boys' capitalized on. It was 2 - 0 to the opposition. Frustrations were running high, which was disappointing as we spoke before the game how we just needed to stay calm and keep within touching distance and as the match wore on our superior fitness would help turn the game around. Despite making a much needed substitution who needed to cool down, we still couldn't seem to keep our composure in defence and a penalty was awarded to the 'Old Boys' to which goalkeeper Tom Doyle guessed the right way to keep the score down to 2 - 0 at the end of the first quarter.
The team gathered together and reminded themselves they now had the advantage and needed to be calmer on the ball and smarter in defence. Harvey Weston-Beyer led by example and was key in the build up to the attacks, which started from keeper Adam Zdolyny. Jastin Barrientos finished off two good team attacks to bring the score level at 2 - 2. Despite a string of really good saves from Adam, the 'Old Boys' got themselves back in front. In the final moments of the quarter Sam Chewins, who was working hard in the centre forward position, managed to gain a 'man-up' which the SBSJ converted through Thomas Cokewright.
The score was now 3 - 3 at half time and once again the team reflected on the first quarter, hoping not to repeat their mistakes. In truth it was a much more disciplined quarter from the SBSJ team and we managed to create a host of chances but found it very difficult to find a way past the opposition goalkeeper who recorded 8 saves! Match captain Harvey did manage to get on the scoresheet but unfortunately it was the 'Old Boys' who once again took the lead. The SBSJ team trailed 4 - 7 going in to the fourth and final quarter.
The team talk was simple. The last match we played, the U18s had to score 5 goals to win. I simply said just do that again. We had a game plan which we knew if we followed, victory would be ours. I am happy to say the team followed it to the letter!
With 3 of the opposition players on 2 'major fouls' each, we spoke about targeting those individuals in the hope they would commit a 3rd. In Water Polo once you have 3 major fouls to your name you can no longer take part in the match. Credit to the whole team who gave everything they had left. Despite not scoring Sam Chewins was key to the plan as he was battling hard with whoever he came up against to gain the 'man-ups'. Tom Doyle who was back in goal was also key with his distribution and now, with a calm Darwin orchestrating from a deep-lying position, it meant we could sustain attack after attack. Jastin managed to get his 3rd of the game, with Tom Cokewright also adding another to his name. Stefan Giangregorio, Fran Rocchio and Theo Cokewright all got on the scoresheet and the final score ended 9 - 7 to the SBSJ U18s!
Two victories from two matches against the 'Old Boys' is something to be proud of! Well done to Harvery Weston-Beyer and Thomas Cokewright who were awarded the 'joint player of the match' award for always trying to be positive in their play and for lifting the team in key moments of the game. A final mention on how proud I am of the whole team for showing great character and team spirit to come back and win the match. A shout out to debutant Bartlomiej Zbik, who trains at every single opportunity and has only missed 1 training session out of a possible 35. A well deserved call up!
Thank you to the 'Old Boys' for coming together and giving our young SBSJ U18 team some much needed match practice in preparation for the upcoming English Schools Championships.
Lastly a huge thank you to Tong Sports Centre and all the spectators that came and supported both teams.
'Old Boys' team
Rokas Tautavicius (YMCC + St Bede's C.G.S), Luke Habergham (St Bede's C.G.S), Jordan Towers (YMCC + St Bede's C.G.S), Lewis Lunn (St Bede's C.G.S), Dominic Walker (St Bede's C.G.S), Benn Adams (St Bede's C.G.S), Alex Handol (St Bede's C.G.S), Josh Adams (YMCC) and Ryan McMahon (YMCC).
SBSJ U18 Team: Harvey Weston-Beyer, Thomas Cokewright, Theo Cokewright, Stefan Giangregorio, Fran Rocchio, Sam Chewins, Thomas Doyle, Adam Zdolyny, Jastin Barrientos, Darwin King, Bartlomiej Zbik.
Well done to all involved! Coach Matthew Wright