On the back of the Men’s 2nds 14-9 defeat, it was up to the Women’s 1sts to restore Newcastle’s water polo reputation. Needless to say they didn’t disappoint, sealing a convincing 12-4 victory.
Last year’s 9-8 victory was reason to be confident going into tonight’s match, as was the comfortable friendly victory in their last outing against Northumbria, so history was on their side.
Straight from the referee’s whistle, Newcastle looked that split-second quicker than Northumbria, as Charlotte Blyth contested for the swim off. After some neat exchanges, Newcastle fashioned the first chance of the match. Sophie Sowerby played a quick one-two with Sarah Poyntz, but her shot flew just over.
“Newcastle looked that split-second quicker than Northumbria, as Charlotte Blyth contested for the swim off”
Moments later Newcastle took the lead. Captain Emma Little, playing as the pivot, beautifully found Sowerby down the right and she fired low past Sucan in the Northumbria goal.
The following attack led to another goal. Little gave the ball to Poyntz who, after a give-and-go with Sowerby, found Blyth out on the left-hand side. The Newcastle winger swam it in and slotted past the onrushing Sucan to make it 2-0.
After retrieving the ball from a tackle, Little once again got the next attack moving. Following a pinpoint pass from Megan Lord, Sanne Mooren had the time to pick out Blyth again on the left. This time Newcastle’s No.11 gave the keeper the eyes and put it in the other corner. Clinical finishing.
“After retrieving the ball from a tackle, Little once again got the next attack moving”
Having gained the momentum, Newcastle kept pushing and soon scored a fourth. Once she was fouled, Little swam the ball forward waiting for the right pass. Mooren collected the ball from Little, fought off a challenge from Michele Relton and coolly threw the ball past Sucan.
As the first quarter drew to a close, the Little-Sowerby combination again almost proved effective, but Sucan saved her shot and Poyntz’s follow-up hit the crossbar.
Although Northumbria went into the second quarter 4-0 down, they started the more brightly of the two teams as Relton fired a long-range effort past Jess Newman. Beth Laidlaw then got stuck in at pit to give Little an opportunity to lead by example, but her shot hit the crossbar, and Blyth’s effort from the subsequent attack was smartly saved by the keeper.
Both keepers starred in the next five minutes. Newman saved two shots from Charlotte Mould and Katie Bell whilst Sucan in the Northumbria goal had to be in top form to ensure Poyntz didn’t score.
Once the teams had been given a breather during the timeout, Newcastle used their restored energy to extend their lead. This time Sowerby turned provider as she set up Poyntz for a powerful shot that Sucan couldn’t keep out.
Poyntz tested the Northumbria keeper yet again, but it was Mooren who scored the next goal as Little carried the ball forward and offloaded it to the Newcastle No.5. That concluded the quarter, with Newcastle 6-1 up and cruising.
“Once the teams had been given a breather during the timeout, Newcastle used their restored energy to extend their lead”
Just as in the previous two quarters, Northumbria won the swim off, but it was Newcastle that drew first blood. Clever build-up play from Little, Ellie Churchill and Mooren opened up the Northumbria defence, paving the way for Sowerby to score her second goal of the match.
Though Relton pulled one back, Sowerby bagged her third of the match immediately after following a swift one-two with Mooren. Then after a world class save from Newman, Northumbria were awarded a penalty that Relton dispatched with ease.
There were no more goals in the quarter, as Poyntz came closest to adding another but shot over. A Newman save at the start of the fourth galvanised Newcastle as two quick-fire Little and Sowerby goals put the game well and truly out of Northumbria’s reach.
Tasha Coleman almost made an instant impact as a substitute on her debut for the 1sts. She took Little’s long ball in her stride, but her shot ricocheted back off the crossbar and Sowerby’s attempt from the rebound was disallowed.
“There were no more goals in the quarter, as Poyntz came closest to adding another but shot over”
Following a timeout, Relton’s fourth goal was sandwiched by a clinically converted Little chance and Sowerby’s fifth goal of the game.
As the game drew to a close coach Andy Little subbed on Jade Holden and Jess Lewington to see out the rest of the match since they were still fresh. Although they didn’t see much of the ball, they ensured that the team remained defensively solid as Newcastle saw out the 12-4 win.
In the pool after Women’s 1sts were the Men’s 1sts. In a thrilling encounter, Newcastle snatched a 10-9 win to take the bragging rights away from Northumbria. No matter the overall result of Stan Calvert, NUWPC can be proud of their performances having sealed an overall 2-1 victory.