Sussex Under14 Waterpolo League at Splashpoint, ROUND 2 – Match report

The Marlins Under 14 team returned to Splashpoint, Worthing last Saturday 13th April for Round 2, of the Sussex Junior League. Our squad was missing several players who had played in the first round due to other commitments and one last minute withdrawal due to illness. Consequently only a bare 7 players traveled, which meant we had no substitutes to rotate on the bench; nevertheless the inclusion of Ella Boyle, Max Cooper and Harry Barker for this round admirably filled the gap left by the absentees, underlining the strength in depth of the Marlins squad.

As before, Marlins played 3 matches; coaches Lucy and Ewan were delighted at the excellent blend of experience, strength and swimming speed. It was particularly gratifying to see the progress of the players in teamwork, confidence and game awareness since the previous round.

Our first game was against Drenched Boys, which Marlins won 4-1.  Catherine Gracie Langrick and Max showed their experience marshalling our defence against some very strong competitive boys – restricting our opponents to a few shots.  On the few occasions when Drenched Boys breached our defence they encountered Ismey Hawley in cracking form in goal, making several saves on the lane and finger-tipping on to the bar & post.  Ella Boyle, Oscar Jespersen, Harry Barker and Imogen Read showed good skill and team work to manoeuvre the ball upfield past the opposition into attacking positions and created numerous scoring opportunities.

Game 2 was against Drenched Girls, which Marlins won convincingly 6-1

This was a good opportunity for Marlins to gain confidence in front of goal and we took it!  Even when players missed, we continued to keep coming back for more.  Oscar in particular demonstrated his pace up the wing and showed great skill in the way he shielded the ball from the opposition. Ella was determination and coolness personified, making many key tackles and then showing great maturity having won possession in successfully passing to her team mates. Team junior, Imogen showed increasing game awareness and an ability to find space as the game progressed and this will improve further with more experience.  Ismey and Catherine were again solid in defence and Max was all over the pool in attack and defence.

There were, however, a few occasions when we were slow to cover back in defence after losing possession (possibly due to fatigue brought on by the absence of substitutes on the bench). Stronger opponents would have punished us more. Nevertheless, overall it was an excellent team performance.

Out final game was against Worthing which we lost 0-5

Worthing had the oldest and most experienced squad on display that evening and our players were starting to look tired, a consequence of having to play two previous matches with no substitutions! Worthing put us under pressure and we spent a lot of the game defending. Marlins continued to show good teamwork and kept plugging away and still managed to engineer several chances on goal for themselves

A final special mention goes to Ismey, who played in goal in all six games during the evening – not only for Marlins but also for the Drenched teams who did not have a recognised goalkeeper.

Marlins Team with scorers: Ismey Hawley (GK), Catherine Gracie- Langrick, Ella Boyle, Imogen Read, Max Cooper(5) , Oscar Jespersen(1), Harry Barker(3)

19 April 2019