Super success for Ipswich
WATER POLO: Fresh from a superb victory at their home pool, players from the Ipswich Water Polo Club are deservedly celebrating this week.The Suffolk side sealed a 10-6 win over regional rivals Colchester in a thrilling game.
By Debbie Watson
FRESH from a superb victory at their home pool, players from the Ipswich Water Polo Club are deservedly celebrating this week.
The Suffolk side sealed a 10-6 win over regional rivals Colchester in a thrilling game.
A tough match from the outset, the fixture acted as the replay of the Eastern Water Polo Cup – following a draw first time round on Essex territory.
Despite entering the game with an opening two-goal advantage, the Ipswich side were determined from the off that they should seal victory on real points – not simply on handicap.
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It was a determination that materialised in some spectacular attacking from the Suffolk team at every turn.
Colchester were visibly struggled in the early stages, finding it increasingly hard to press home the attack thanks to Ipswich defenders Chris Pryke and Rick Tovell.
Sterling work by Ipswich's apprentice midfielder Stuart Baker also gave the home side a wealth of scoring opportunities that they used to their advantage.
To make the game even more rewarding for Ipswich, several poor forward passes by the Essex opposition presented the home players with a number of new openings. These included a solo break by Pryke which he capped with a superb bounce shot past the hapless Colchester keeper.
Ipswich's defence efforts were also evident with goalkeeper Chris Stephens working hard to preserve the Ipswich advantage.
The Suffolk team entered the final quarter with a narrow lead as they defended the deep end.
Despite the obvious challenge of this position, the players still managed to rise to the occasion and sealed victory with two more goals to which Colchester could give no response.
Goalkeeper and team spokesman Chris Stephens said: "It was a very close and exciting game for which we were determined to present our best.
"Even though we'd started on an advantage, our aim was to pull off the victory in the pool itself.
"We did that quite convincingly and all of the team were obviously very proud."
This month has been a period of mixed fortunes for the Ipswich side, given a narrow defeat for the senior side in the recent Eastern League match at home to Clacton.
This local derby fixture is always keenly contested and this time was no exception.
The game marked the debut of new Ipswich signing Stratos Laskarides, a talented youngster from the South African Under-16 national polo squad who is with Ipswich until Christmas as an exchange student.
Laskarides has confessed that he finds it difficult playing in a shallow pool instead of the deep water he is used to, but he played a consistent game and acquitted himself well against adult opponents.
The Ipswich side played a consistent game and the thrilling third quarter saw Ipswich level the scoreline at 7-7, raising the home crowd's hopes for a famous victory – but it was not to be.
Clacton put on a late burst to take the match 10-7.