Champions Dolphin complete the season unbeaten
Having already secured the Bristol & West Water Polo League Division 1 title Swindon Dolphin rounded off the 2014 campaign with a 13-9 victory against the division’s basement side Bath University at Milton Road. The result means that Dolphin finish the season unbeaten and that Bath University are relegated to Division 2, having failed to secure the point that would have kept them safe.
Dolphin started the game in style with early goals from Selby and Brewer but the students exploited defensive errors to level before Hicks and a long distance strike from Trzeciak restored the two goal advantage. But poor defending again let in Bath who went in to the first break trailing the champions 4-3. The second period saw the students fight back to reach the half way point at 7-7. Despite a second goal for Selby and Trzeciak completing his hat trick Dolphin had keeper Smith to thank, four outstanding saves keeping the home side in the game.
Needing to stop the student’s momentum Dolphin started the third period with a strong first seven and this paid immediate dividends as Hicks restored the advantage before a double from Strong opened a useful lead. This was more like it by Dolphin as the junior players opened up spaces which the seniors were exploiting. The final period saw Dolphin again dominant and, despite missing two penalties, goals by Quinlivan and Strong saw the champions ease to a 13-9 victory.
Water polo secretary and leading scorer Matt James was delighted with the season. “It has been an unbelievable twelve months for the team. Following on from our victory in the KO cup last year we have managed to maintain our form and concentration and turn close games that would in the past have often ended in defeat into victories. The development of the younger players in the squad has been an important factor. Junior players Jack Plumb, Fraser Durston, Dan Dixon and Sam Dalton have taken their individual games to the next level and are holding their own against players that are a lot older, experienced and physically stronger. Next season we hope they move on again further.” James also praised the experienced members of the team. “The old guard continue to roll on. Veteran Andy Hicks continues to contribute even though he is now in his fifties. In fact every squad member has contributed to the team success this season and we are determined to retain the title next year.”