Commonwealth Water Polo Championships: day six

10 Apr 2014

Scotland claim second win of tournament as Canada beat England in final dress rehearsal.

On day six of the Commonwealth Water Polo Championships at the Aberdeen Sports Village, Scotland all but booked their place in the bronze medal match as England’s women lost their first match of the campaign.

In the first match of the day, South Africa Men overcame a lacklustre first half to beat bottom of the table Wales.

The South Africans were contained well in the first half by a Welsh side who continue to improve over the week. Goals from Lewis Jones and Chris Taylor kept the Welsh in touch at the half time break as they trailed 3-2.

It looked like Wales might cause an upset as they equalised through a Lewis Jones counter attack, but four successive goals before the end of the third quarter gave South Africa an almost unassailable lead. There were nerves in the South African camp as Dan Laxton scored a hat-trick in the fourth to win the quarter for his team but South Africa held on for an 8-6 (2-1, 1-1, 4-1, 1-3) win.

After booking their place in Saturday’s final last night, England Men faced Singapore. The team continued their 100 per cent with a convincing win that put them above Malta on goal difference.

Glen Robinson opened the scoring as England raced to a 6-1 lead at the end of the first quarter. Ed Scott, who had missed the last two games through injury, looked comfortable back in goal as he kept a clean sheet in the second quarter, helping his team to 12-1 half time score.

Matt Holland replaced Scott in the second half and continued to give coach Andrei Iosep a selection problem as he saved his fourth penalty of the tournament and stopped South Africa from scoring. Goals in the third quarter from Tom Curwen, Sean King and Jake Vincent , and a further five in the fourth gave England a 20-1 (6-1,6-0, 3-0, 5-0) victory.

The first Women’s game of the day was between South Africa and Wales. With Saturday’s finalists already decided, this was a dress rehearsal for the weekend’s 3rd/4th/5th play-off.

South Africa kept a clean sheet in their win over Scotland earlier in the week and looked well on their way to another as they led 10-0 after the third quarter, with Tarryn and Megan Schooling among the scorers.

But to the delight of the travelling support, Elinor Weatherill found the net in off the crossbar early in the fourth to put Wales on the score sheet. The joy was to be short lived with South Africa finishing the game with a 15-1 (3-0,2-0, 5-0, 5-1) win.

Saturday’s finalists then met in the fourth game of the day, with both teams playing as if it were any other competitive game.

England Women started strongly with Angie Winstanley-Smith causing her Canadian opponents all kinds of problems in the pit, winning a penalty and then scoring herself to make it 2-0. Nikolina Mihaljovic responded and reduced the deficit before Hazel Musgrove made it 3-1 before the end of the first quarter.

Canada then won the second quarter thanks to another goal from Mihaljovic and others from Amy Yule and Auriel Bill. But it was England who went in to half time 5-4 up.

With both teams giving 100 per cent, Canada took advantage of England’s weakness on the counter attack and took a 9-7 lead with four minutes to go. England continued to push and reduced the deficit but Canada held on to win 9-8 (3-1, 2-3, 0-3, 3-2).

The final match of the day saw Scotland Men face New Zealand for the chance to play in the 3rd/4th place play-off on Saturday.

Scotland got off to a great start as local lad Mark Speed was played in by Keith Anderson for the game’s first goal. The Scots needed Bojan Donevski to put in another big performance and he started the game well saving an Eamon Lui penalty to keep his side ahead. Captain Neilsen Rutherford then doubled their lead with a well placed shot into the bottom corner, making the most of a man-up situation.

After the break New Zealand came back into the game and scored two quick goals to level things up early in the second. A James Scobie double restored Scotland’s two goal lead by making the most of man-up situations. But a goal from Matt Small just before the end of the half kept the Black Tide in touch.

It was clear how much the game meant to both teams in a tight third quarter which ended 6-6. The first goal in the fourth was going to be crucial and it was Scotland’s Andrew Woodall who took advantage of a man-up. This proved vital as the Scots were given a new lease of life, increasing their lead with two more goals. Donevski then produced a string of saves denying New Zealand on a number of occasions in the closing stages.

New Zealand did reduce the deficit but it was too little too late as the Scots claimed a very important second win with a 9 - 7 (2-0, 2-3, 2-3, 3-1) victory.