Watford qualify for round two of the National Water Polo Championships

On Saturday March 16th Woodside Leisure Centre played host some of the best water polo teams from around the country in the first round of the ASA National Club Competition. Watford’s Juniors were up against teams from Solihull, Castleford, Manchester, Sheffield and Basingstoke with the top four teams progressing into the Qualification round to be held in Liverpool in Mid-April.

Watford’s first game of day was largely a one-sided affair with Solihull controlling the game and capitalising on each Watford mistake. Watford lost their opening fixture 9-3.

Next came a game against Castleford, and the team took an early lead which they never relinquished, with strong pit play from Jason Attwood resulting in a further two goals and with a number of man-up situations, which Watford executed extremely well and with goals from Hamish Hudson & Paul Botje the team won their first game of the afternoon 5-3.

Next up were Manchester who took full control of the game & ran our easy winners 10-2, not many highlights to talk about with this one. Watford now needed to win at least one of their remaining two matches against Sheffield & Basingstoke & first up Sheffield were duely dispatched in a comfortably victory (7-2), this win then set up a deciding match against Basingstoke.

The match was won in defence, with Basingstoke failing to score until there was only 2 minutes to go – at which point the match was beyond them. In their best performance of the day Watford finished 5–2 winners. One highlight was goalkeeper Karan Basu’s first goal for the U18’s, a spectacular lob from his own 5 meter line.

Having finished in the top four Watford qualify for the next stage which takes place in Liverpool in mid-April. Getting through to the next round of such a prestigious competition is an achievement not just for the boys, who performed exceptionally, but for the whole club. It was great to see supporters in the crowd who had come down to watch some quality polo, and not just because their boys were playing!

The team (goals in brackets)
GK K Basu (1), J Attwood (7), A Nash, J Inwood (1), G Sadler, J Pickford (1), J Stienhart, R Kumarage, H Hudson (5), P Pickford (2), L Abeywickrama, S Carling, P Botje (2)

Final table

Final Positions Pts GF GA Diff
1st Solihull 10 44 21 23
2nd City of Manchester (3) 6 36 19 17
3rd Watford 6 22 26 -4
4th Basingstoke Bluefins 5 28 31 -3
5th Castleford 3 22 30 -8