Durham water polo struggle against Edinburgh
Team Durham Men’s Water Polo lost out to Edinburgh at Freeman’s Quay on November 24th by a tight 11-15 margin.
It was the Palatinates first clash of the season, having been North East Champions last year. Despite remaining firmly on the tails of the visitors throughout the contest, a resilient Edinburgh defence proved difficult to break down.
The first of the four 8 minute quarters saw Durham start brightly, with Santiago Gonzalez and Patrick Bennett monopolising the early possession.
But a major foul from William Betts – resulting in him being sent to the corner of the pool – allowed Edinburgh to open the scoring by capitalising on their ‘man-up’.
Durham’s Gonzalez, who has played semi-professionally in Spain for Helios, made a swift reply with a lob that nestled in the top corner.
And though Alexander Gabriel added another for the home side before the break, three goals from Edinburgh’s captain Ed Grundy ensured that his team ended the first period 4-2 up.
In the second quarter Durham won the restart and after just 30 seconds of play captain Josh Brown pulled another goal back. But a bounced shot from Grundy and a penalty which slid under the body of Durham keeper James Miao extended Edinburgh’s advantage.
Betts’ long range effort made the score 6-4 but at half time the Palatinates still had a great deal to do.
After the change of ends Durham switched their game plan, bringing U18 Singapore international Miao out of goal. He provided more attacking options and along with the physicality of Gonzalez the hosts looked more threatening going forward.
Durham looked to be more direct but in doing so conceded three further goals before Gonzalez bounced in an effort. Then the Spaniard found Brown who made it 10-6.
Edinburgh keeper Bojan Donevski managed to beat away several attempts on goal as the hosts failed to take advantage of their man-ups.
And despite more goals from Toby Gomersall and an audacious effort from Gonzalez with just seconds left on the clock, Edinburgh gave as good as they got to end the third quarter 12-8 up.
In the final period the tempo slowed but the goals continued. Brown pulled a further goal back for the Palatinates but as fatigue set in and the home side committed more men forward, they left their back line exposed. Miao hurled one in from long range and Gonzalez scrambled in another effort after riding several challenges.
But Edinburgh ran the clock down and at the final whistle the score was 11-15.
Despite the outcome, Durham skipper Josh Brown remained spirited about his team’s chances as they look ahead to their next fixture against Leeds on 25th January:
“The difference between the sides was tactical really. We didn’t press tight enough and their guys were more drilled and more match fit. In the later rounds we’ll have a much better chance.”
photo by Delaney Chambers