This was a game that both teams could have won, and in Otter's case probably should have won. Their coach may have left Putney Leisure Centre with what felt more like a loss than the draw it was. But, at the death, it could have turned out much worse for the visitors when the home team came within inches of scoring a last gasp winner, the ball failing to completely cross the line in the closing seconds.
Avondale were well short of their strongest side with four of the starting seven and five of the squad missing through injury and confectionery. Here was a clear opportunity for Otter to take revenge for their most recent defeat. As is often the case with this somewhat relaxed Avondale squad, the visitors started much the stronger and in a very high scoring first quarter were 3 - 0 to the good after less than two minutes and 6 - 2 up in five. In the end, Avondale pulled themselves together and clawed their way back to finish the quarter only two goals adrift at 4 - 6.
Both the second and third quarters went to the home team, each by two goals. The defending frailties of the first quarter seemed to be behind them, their keeper finally managed to get to a few shots and a more organised and aggressive attack rewarded the Tank's efforts with a string of exclusions. Throughout this shift to the home team, Otter managed to keep their score ticking along nicely with a number of long range efforts that the Avondale keeper, on a better day, might have kept out. As the game went on, The Beast From The East became an increasing presence and a thorn in the visitors side. He scored three in the third quarter and appeared to have a hand (visible or otherwise!) in most of Avondale's attacks.
The last quarter began with the home team two goals to the good and a game that Otter might well have controlled seemed to somehow have slipped from them. Four minutes later the positions were reversed and with three minutes left the home team had contrived to ship five goals to the one scored and were 15 - 17 down. Three minutes can be a long time in a water polo match and so it proved. Avondale levelled through the irresistable BFTE and with just over a minute to go took a one goal lead. A well organised time out on the extra man allowed Otter to level the scores with thirty seconds remaining and as the final attack played out, the BFTE seemed, once again, to have slipped his shackles and a tipped cross bobbled, out of the keepers reach, across the line .... almost.
Great entertainment, but an opportunity missed for both teams in the end.