Mixed Fortunes for Aber Water Polo

Aberystwyth University Water Polo men’s and women’s teams made their debuts in the British U-Polo league on Wednesday (30th) away in Cardiff. The day was marked by mixed fortunes – Aber women succumbing to a heavy 19-0 defeat before the men’s side played out a thumping 14-5 victory over Cardiff Men’s 2nd team.

The Aber girls went into the game high on confidence after a morale boosting 7-4 victory away to the University of West of England (UWE) just ten days prior to Wednesday’s game. However, despite their best efforts, the girls found themselves unable to cope with their hosts, many of whom have vastly more experience than most of the Aber girls and are representatives of the Welsh Universities’ Celtic Nations Squad (for which Aber captain Charlotte Holmes is also a representative). Despite the result, there were some encouraging signs from the girls, with strong play from Jia Ping Lee and some good goalkeeping from Zofia Szamocki to prevent further goals among them, with Hannah Yeo also testing the Cardiff goalkeeper with a firm shot.

The men’s team took to the pool shortly after and by the end of the first quarter had left Cardiff 2nd shell-shocked, blitzing their hosts and ending the quarter 6-0 ahead. A solid, if unspectacular second quarter saw a half time score of 7-1, but another very strong third quarter saw the game all but wrapped up by the beginning of the final period of the game. Aber played some safe water polo in that final period, looking to consolidate their large advantage. Only a trio of late goals from Cardiff made the score line slightly more respectable in the hosts’ favour.

The team was strong throughout; highlights from this thoroughly rampant Aber display including Aaron Shaw top scoring with four goals and Captain Dan Mason and guesting ‘old boy’ Dan Jones each chipping in with a hat trick, while player-coach Peter Cornish performed admirably in goal to keep out some strong Cardiff shots. There was also one moment of comedy in the match when Aber’s Tom Kelly scored a ‘goal’ that appeared to go through the side netting, unbeknownst to the referees on poolside. This result came on the back of a narrow 10-6 defeat away to UWE and will have done wonders for the confidence of the Aber players.

Speaking afterwards, Cornish said: “The girls, many of whom have never played water polo before, tried their absolute hardest today but unfortunately it just wasn’t enough to match Cardiff. However, we knew Cardiff would be a strong team and are likely to be the strongest team our girls will play this season. Today was good to see the benchmark for the standard of the league this season.”

On the boys’ performance, he commented: “We were absolutely superb today; I can’t fault any of the guys for their performance. We lost it a bit in the second quarter but, overall, I was very pleased – make no mistake, Cardiff are a good side. However, I’ve said to the boys in the changing room that, although we can rightly enjoy tonight after the win, come training on Friday morning we need to have gotten this result out of our system and start preparing for our next fixtures. We’ve got a busy schedule coming up and can’t afford to rest on our laurels.”

Both Aber men’s and women’s teams have many fixtures coming up, including further U-Polo fixtures and men’s BUCS in Bath on 23rd November. Based on these last results and performances, both sides could be in for a good season to come.