Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Finlay Nesbitt dreaming of Games call up

This article originally appeared in the Dunfermline Press on May 31 2018. Words by Ross Hart. 

Scoring on his Scotland debut against the Auld Enemy ranks as the best moment of Finlay Nesbitt’s fledgling career so far.

But, for the 17-year-old Dunfermline Water Polo Club ace, that glory moment is what he hopes will be the springboard to completing the journey from Commonwealth spectator to Commonwealth competitor later this year.

Four years on from watching some of his current club-mates fly the flag for their country at the Commonwealth Water Polo Championships on home soil, Finlay is hopeful of being included in the Scotland squad that will compete at this year’s event in Malta.

If he’s picked, it will cap a remarkable rise for the Kinross High School pupil, who only took up the sport six years ago after attending a taster session hosted by the club’s Simon Metcalfe while he was coaching with Kinross Otters Swimming Club.

Speaking to Press Sport, Finlay explained: “In the past year to two years, I’ve developed a lot as a player and I guess the journey I’ve gone on has kind of surprised me.

“It would’ve been nearly two years ago that Davie Stewart and Davie Baxter set up the Caledonia Storm team that played in Division Five down south (British Water Polo League).

“I was selected for that team, built my way up through the season and, by the end, I was one of the main players. I got the Player of the Season award which was a big achievement for me, especially playing with guys who are older. It was a great honour.

“In November last year, there was the EU Nations and Scotland under-21s set up a team. I was selected for that and ended up being the top scorer for that team as well, and it all built up.

“The cherry on the cake was the Scotland debut this February, when we went to play England. It was unexpected because, in my head, I still thought Scotland men’s would be above me.

“You see so many people ahead of you that to get the call-up was a surprise but it was an opportunity I wanted to make sure I took.

“I ended up scoring on my debut and it was amazing. It was the best feeling I’ve had in a swimming pool in my life when I saw the ball hit the net, and that’s what you train for and why you work so hard.

“I was called up again and I think Raymond (coach) was very pleased with my performance in the first game and it’s all building towards going to Malta in September.”

He continued: “I was there in the crowds watching them in 2014 when it was in Aberdeen.

“I was still playing junior polo at the time but, seeing the Dunfermline boys, I could see that if I got into the senior team, I could go on to do that. This is my chance.

“A call-up would definitely be the high point but it doesn’t stop there. I want to become a starter, then be the main player, score the most goals and keep going on.”