Monday, 23 March 2009

Marlow - Water Of Life - 1/2 Marathon (22 March 2009)

Once again Avondale were the top Water Polo club, this time at the Marlow 1/2 Marathon. A lovely flat route and beautiful weather made for a very picturesque run along the banks of the Thames between Marlow and Henley. Angus had his better half deputise for him and Amy came home second in the ladies (and beat most of the men!).

Peter managed to win the zimmer frame age group (anyone need a Stannah lift voucher) and he, Dave and Jonnie all posted personal bests. Rumours reached the organisers that Jonnie did the middel third in the River, but no disqualification resulted. A mystified masseur spent a fruitless 20 minutes trying to separate Jonnies legs after the event.

Avondale - the top team in and out of the water!

(Results and pictures :

See below, the weird man inserting something in one of Jonnie's blowholes.... Notice look of discomfort on Jonnie's face! Could form the basis of a caption competition.......

Monday, 9 March 2009

Otter 8 - Avondale 14 (Thameside - 16 Feb 2009)

This was one of the better thameside games in recent months. With Avondale missing a few key players from their starting 7 they had what would be considered a weaker team, and although the final score shows a comfortable victory for Avondale, the halftime score of 4 – 5 left plenty of work for the 10 Avondale men!

Once the winter rust had been flushed from the system, the absence of the Hungarian cannibal, 007 and sharp shooter meant that everyone had to work to get the ball in the net. The goals were spread around the team, with Focco getting a great close range lob in, JP showing the value of a lefty and binder, fresh from his killer comeback, putting a hole in the back of the net. The most notable performance however was from the half-man-half-fish who managed a vital hatrick when his team needed it most, some people thought it may have something to do with his new wetsuit, but no one was sure how he managed to wear it during the game without the ref spotting it.

Avondale crucially managed to take control of possession in the second half with the hitman Moorhouse neutralising Otters’ key player and the most experienced player in the league (Possibly any league), Dave ‘Gramps’ Brooks playing a key role on distribution. So confident was the Avondale keeper in the 2nd half that he even gave away a corner by claiming a save on a shot that went way over the top! Clearly trying to impress the selectors, but none the less, the opposition still couldn’t score from their gifted possession and it was Avondale on the attack once again!

Avondale seemed to display the true benefit of their early season fitness training as they ran away with the game in the second half (10 – 3) and demonstrated the fantastic synergy between players that we have come to expect from this club! I certainly look forward to watching them perform over the next few weeks!

Helfins 4 - Avondale 6 (Thameside League - 3rd March 2009)

Good while it lasted....

Rather disappointingly there was a problem with the pool time and there was, in the end, only time for two ten minute halves for what was shaping up to be rather an good and even match.

Avondale had almost their strongest side out (when the Beast From the East and Steve Moorhouse arrived at half time that is) against a typically strong Helfins who were missing their excellent keeper. Some old bloke substituted for him in the cage (I think they mean you Paul) and was heard to complain (with some justification) after the game that the Avondale shooters had been a bit mean to him. A hyperextended elbow is never far from ones mind when trying to avoid incoming rounds from Bond and The Sniper.

Neither team quite managed to get into their full flow in the time available, but the New Bond was impressive in the pit For Avondale and Moorhouse delivered a trademark steal whilst defending a man down (the referee nearly gave 'standing' until he spotted the 12ft of water).

Escaping from the building proved as difficult as ever. There's a case for having a ball of string to trail from the lifts to the pool.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Avondale II 23 - Avondale I 23 (Tom Dwyer Cup 2nd March 2009)

What a cup tie. The first team sneaked the win after drawing the match, but with their lower handicap, having to give the Seconds a fifteen goal start. It went to the final attack of the match and the Seconds could have nicked it at the death when a Pink Arm Productions effort came down off the under side of the crossbar and floated away from the line rather than across it.

For the neutral spectator (obviously there were none for in a fixture such as this, although the stands were, by Monday night standards, packed) it was drama from the outset. The Firsts started confidently with two goals early in the quarter. They initially looked certain to overhaul the very competent looking Seconds with room to spare. Then the tone of the game was transformed with two goals form the Seconds that took small deflections from defenders arms on their way past the bemused keeper. With their captain's shrill squeals of encouragement ringing in their ears the Seconds began to assert themselves and the last line of the First's defence faded from view under some good shooting. The quarter ended 5 - 5 (20 - 5 including the handicap). The Firsts had a mountain to climb and had set off ambling towards the distant summit.

The Firsts began to get their act together in the second quarter. The Beast From The East was starting to maraud down their right wing. After a couple of his backhand efforts several Seconds players had to restrain them selves from applauding. The Sniper was finding his range and 007 was transformed in the Pit, shrugging of a couple of defenders as if they were flotsam. But it was still not all one way traffic. At the other end the defence was better, but young Kevin impressed with sharp shots to either corner and the Pink Arm was never far from the pit. The quarter went 2 - 6 to the Firsts, but at half time at 22 - 11 the game was very finely balanced.

The Firsts dominated the third quarter winning it 1 - 5 against a clearly tiring Second team. The pink Arm still managed to rise from the tumult to tip in a far post cross, and at the other end The Beast From The East was finding the target from impossible angles with his backhand. In the Second's goal Wayne knew every time that the ball was about to be delivered, but using some mystical cloaking technique The Beast manages to hide it from mortal view between the point of departing his left hand and it crashing into the back of the net. Despite their growing dominance the Seconds were managing shots on target, but finally, a rather shakey wall was being erected in the First's goal.

As the final Quarter started, at 23 - 16, it looked as if the Firsts had left it too late. They went about their work more effectively now and the Seconds were very tired, having put up a determined effort throughout. The Beast was relentless. He was also clearly tiring, but it doesn't seem to affect his left hand and the the onslaught continued. His final effort, to tie the scores with less than a minute to play was a flicked lob having drawn Wayne to defend a one on one. The ball bobbled gently, agonisingly across the line and there was a brief unconvincing protest that it had not crossed the line, but the scores were tied. Wayne did manage to stop a final backhand that would have killed the game and saved well on the opposite post from Matt Jeffries who could also have sealed the win in the dying moments. And then, the Pink Arm rose once more. He wrestled the ball free in the pit and having beaten the defender and the keeper was cruelly denied buy the crossbar. The ball this time drifted out of the goal having drifted as slowly into it at the other end of the pool only moments earlier. A harsh way to lose, but a great game.

A word of praise for the referee. Louis had an excellent game under difficult circumstances and if he hadn't played several minutes overtime the Firsts would not have won.... (only joking!). And a word of thanks to Stretch, on the eve of his World Tour. This may have been his last performance for Avondale at Putney (we hope not). As another ex Avondale player would say, "What a pleasure".