Friday 15 August 2008

Sutton 12 - Avondale 16 (London League 14th August 2008)

I shoot
You shoot
He shoots
He shoots again
and again
and again

The South London Correspondent is away in Beijing and asked me to cover this game for him. Well, blood it thicker than water, and I had no prior engagement, so I indulged cousin John.

I know nothing about Water Polo and little of the players save what cousin John's rather inadequate briefing via a poor mobile phone connection from 5,059 miles away (give or take the odd furlong) had imparted. He mentioned, "The Beast From The East", "sniper" Jacobs and "007", frankly I was lost and suspected he had finally crossed into that other country from which he would not return.

However, were I a sports commentator, after delivering the requisite cliché's, such as "a game of four halves " (or is that quarters?), and "the best team won on the night" (how hard can this be...) I would then have had to conclude that we had been treated to a virtuoso performance by "The Sniper".

He opened the game with a shot from somewhere near Guildford that arrived in that inconvenient moment for a goalkeeper when he is assessing the state of his defence, rather then attending to the whereabouts of the ball. I initially put it in the, "impressive but lucky" column, which by the end of the game I had merged with the "This goalie is out of his depth" column.

For a neophyte, this game is rather entertaining. I had no idea why the referees were blowing their whistles so often, and judging by the reactions of some of the players I was not alone. But this hardly detracted from the spectacle. I particularly liked "The Beast ..." (you know). He has obviously done this a few times before, and rather than facing the goal to shoot he increases the degree of difficulty by intentionally facing away from it. Most entertaining! I'm not sure the Sutton goal keeper ever really recovered from stopping one of these surprise deliveries with his face in the second quarter; but he wasn't exactly animated from the outset, so I may be doing him an injustice.

The pattern of the game seemed to be that Sutton would be very organised and score a well constructed goal involving lots of complicated passing and movement. Then Avondale would give the ball to "The Sniper" and he would throw it through the flailing arms of the goalkeeper, or against the inside of the goalpost or the roof of the net from wherever he happened to be when he got the ball. It strikes me that if you want to win at Water Polo you need more players like him!

Now don't get me wrong, there were lots of players on both sides and many of them caught my eye in addition to the aforementioned trio, but when all is said and done, you want those boys on your side. I left thinking about the eight goals that "The Sniper" scored and began to conjugate the verb "to shoot". As you can see I didn't make it past "he shoots"; and neither did Sutton.

Cousin John will probably still be on his Far East junket come Monday, when according to the press pack, these team reconvene for another game at Putney. I can think of worse ways to spend an evening.

Until then dear reader.....

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