Sunday, June 12, 2022

Water Polo National Champions crowned in Carnegie

The jewel in the crown of Scotland’s Water Polo calendar took place on Sunday at Carnegie Leisure Centre, with 6 matches filled with close competition, strong defending, and a bagful of goals.

The event, which returned for the first time post-covid, saw a very strong display from home side Dunfermline Water Polo club, who looked comfortable in their surroundings.

The Fifers had representation in 4 of the 6 finals on Sunday, with their women’s teams in particular showing their ability – winning all 3 finals at stake.

The senior women’s final ended 17-5 to Dunfermline, who had a tremendous day in Carnegie. The match, which was tighter than the scoreline suggested, was an exciting affair, with Dunfermline securing a more comfortable scoreline in the latter stages.

Dunfermline Senior Women’s coach, and club secretary, Richie Metcalfe said: “I’m extremely proud of the group. The girls have worked really hard this season, and we’re off the back of a shortened league campaign, and they’ve stepped up again today, despite missing a few players from the starting 7. All credit to them.”

“We’re all so proud of the way that our club is growing, and certainly girls Water Polo. You can see that a lot of the other clubs are doing well in that area too. They really stepped up today – some of our girls have played 2 or 3 games, highlighting their fitness, and it definitely gives us something to build on going forward. We’ve got a few mini-polos coming up, and a few of those girls were here today, so hopefully we’ve inspired them.

The team managed to go their whole league season unbeaten, with Richie explaining that the group is looking forward to a well-earned break.

He said: “Before looking forward, we’re going to have a break. It’s been a long 6 months with lots and lots of games. So hopefully we can have that rest, then start setting up that structure again in September. Some of the older ones have aspirations to play for Scotland, so we’re hoping to support that too.”

Their 2004+ team secured an impressive 22-8 win in the first match of the day, with a solid performance against Portobello. Whilst Porty more than played their part in the match, Dunfermline were able to keep them at arm’s length the whole game, with terrific games management.

The 2006+ Dunfermline side, featuring a number of the 2004+ girls, also claimed the title of National Champions. They took on Kirkintilloch & Kilsyth – in the end taking a comfortable win of 25-3 against the side from the West.

The senior men’s final was the most tightly contested game of the day, as Portobello took on Dunfermline in a brutal battle. It was 6 a piece at the half-way mark, but Porty started to exert  their dominance on the game, eventually being crowned winners by 14 to 9. 

Stirling Water Polo Club were also in good form in their games, with an emphatic 30-2 win in the 2004+ boys match against Menzieshill Whitehall. Whilst Menzieshill continued to battle away, Stirling were too strong for them, showing their quality and experience in front of goal.

They also were victorious in the younger age group too, albeit in a tighter game with Portobello. Stirling maintained a strong lead throughout however and ended up 19-17 winners. Porty’s experience began to show as they chased Stirling, controlling the second half of the game.

But the inexperienced Stirling team managed the game well to secure a second Stirling victory of the day.

Stirling Head Coach David Dalziel spoke of the 2006+ victory: “That was a really pleasing win. Coming into the game I actually thought we were underdogs, because a lot of the players in our team lack a lot of match experience.

“I thought they got off to a great start but then the inexperience took over a little bit, and we started giving away possession. Because they’re so young they struggled with the physicality, but they kept on battling and they dug in. They had control of the game and they played well, so it really was superb.”

On the 2004+ boys victory earlier in the day David said: “It’s a great squad that we’ve got. We’ve had them since they were 11/12 and they showed up really well today. I have to give a shout out to on of our best players, James Miller, who was Scottish Young Player of the Year, who was unavailable.

“The team played as a team and all the way through they were looking to get goals. They put a press on that Menzieshill just couldn’t deal with – that was really pleasing. They went the league and cup undefeated which is just fantastic.”

“The main focus for us now is trying to get more players in. Covid has stopped the influx of players into our club. We’ve managed to get a few players recently, but these are some of their first games. Our under 19s are looking strong and there’s a lot of potential in the under 16s too, so hopefully we will be up there again next year challenging.”

Water Polo chair Tom Gebbie said: “Today has been fantastic, the level of Water Polo on display has been exceptional. After three years out with Covid it’s just great to see competition back again and Carnegie has proved to be a fantasic host venue.

“It’s been especially  good to see some of the younger players getting an opportunity to compete at this level. For many of them this is their first proper taste of competition, and they handled it brilliantly.”

 

Full results:

(2004+ Girls) Dunfermline 22-8 Portobello

(2004+ Boys) Stirling 30-2 Menzieshill

(2006+ Girls) Dunfermline 25-3 Kirkintilloch & Kilsyth

(2006+ Boys) Portobello 17-19 Stirling

(Senior Women) Warrender 5-17 Dunfermline

(Senior Men) Dunfermline 9 - 14 Portobello