Sore heads and weary bodies aplenty this morning, after a successful final weekend in the BWPL for the Poly.
The team went into the weekend knowing that their destiny was in their hands, and that two wins would be enough to see them return to the premier of British Water Polo.
On Saturday, Poly came up against City of Bristol, who have had a tough season, having missed out on the Super 5s for the first time in a number of years. Their last chance of promotion back into Division 1 rested on winning this game, and they brought a strong squad down to Watford with them. Poly knew they had to win as well, and this led to an action packed game.
Despite wasting numerous chances, Poly played some good polo and looked strong, and went into the second-half of the game with a deserved 8-5 lead. However, the game took a twist in the third quarter when Bristol had a played excluded for a brutality, which meant they had to play for 4 minutes with a man down. That should have been that, but the team became complacent, and when the four minutes were up and Bristol restored to a full compliment, they started a comeback. 12-5 suddenly became 12-9, and with 5 minutes to go Bristol looked like they had the momentum behind them. A Poly goal changed that, and was enough to see out the game and the much-needed victory.
Bristol 10 - 13 Poly
GOALS: Chris I (4), Sergio (3), Andre (3), Fede, Lyndon, Luke (1)
Results elsewhere went as expected, with Sheffield and Invicta taking two of the three promotion positions. The final promotion spot would go to the winner of the final game of the season, between Poly and Sutton and Cheam. The game started very nervy, as to be expected with promotion at stake. Bizarrely, 2 players from each team were wrapped within the 1st quarter, further exacerbating an already intense game. The depleted teams admirably kept their heads, and an exciting, if not very tense, game ensued. A mixture of Poly wastefulness and an on-form Sutton goalkeeper saw chance after chance missed, and Sutton took advantage of this and shot into a 5-2 lead midway through the third-quarter. However, as we've seen time and time again this season, this Poly team doesn't know when it's beaten. Two quick goals from Captain Chris, and an equaliser from Luke took the wind out of Sutton's sails, and it was all square going into the final quarter. A very tense final quarter saw both teams struggle to convert chances, and Matteo was in top form as he thwarted a number of Sutton attempts. Then, with 4 minutes of the season left, the game took a dramatic twist, as Lynn/Lyndon scored a delightful lob, putting Poly into the lead for the first time since the first quarter, and the fightback was complete. A few scares, and some fantastic defending saw the game out, and Poly were back in Division 1.
Sutton and Cheam 5 - 6 the Poly
GOALS: Chris I (2), Brian, Fede, Luke, Lyndon (1)
A fantastic season overall, and a deserved promotion. The team are in a fantastic position to push on next year, and maintain a first division place. Credit goes to the great effort from all the players, to the great support from Gary, Rambo, Birdy, and especially Reddick, and above all to the unbelievable work from Chris Icely, who has gone above and beyond to get the team into this position. We all look forward to celebrating with you at the dinner on the 24th March. See you then.