England won double gold at the Commonwealth Water Polo championships in Aberdeen last week – with the Scottish Men’s team adding a bronze in what was a highly successful event for British Water Polo.
England Men’s road to the final
The English Men’s team had a relatively straightforward path to the final, disposing of eventual bronze medallists Scotland 17 – 4 and silver medallists Malta, 10 -3 on route – following a tough first game with a 14 – 10 victory over South Africa. Water Polo UK had observed that some people on Twitter and Facebook had the Maltese side down as the favourites, but England outplayed them in the gold medal match, with superior sharp shooting from the top and strong defending, they came out on top with a 16 – 9 victory.
Captain and Goal Keeper Ed Scott said:
“All the boys are absolutely chuffed. We had strong performances all the way through the tournament, and grew stronger with every game. We really prided ourselves on our solid defence along with a well organised attacking game.
The gold for both men’s and women’s England teams as well as the bronze for the Scottish men is a huge success for British water polo and is a fantastic reward for all the hard work the guys and girls have put in.”
Head Coach Andrei Iosep Added:
“In my opinion we deserved to win the competition. We suffered a little bit on the first day when we met South Africa. We didn’t know them at all and they surprised us in the first 10 minutes of the game. After that, we video analyzed all our opponents (a big thank to the women team who borrowed us their video equipment and to our volunteers Ben Alcorn and Sophie Williams who recorded our games) and we prepared well each game.
It was a hard week for me and the players with 7 games in 8 days but we grew game after game arriving on the last day in very good shape and their evolution showed 95% of what we discussed on the meeting previous to the game. I realized during the last week how important this competition was for them, and it makes me very happy they have won this gold. I could just relax and enjoy for one day, my players know how exigent I am (even after a winning game I still discuss the mistakes they make) now I am focused and ready to prepare well our next goal, qualifications for the European Championships in Belgrade.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my staff (David King and Oliver Christian) but also my ex staff Theo Nousios and Susan Dale, and of course all the people who came to support us in Scotland, I hope this victory (together with women’s victory and the Scotland’s bronze medal) will bring British Water Polo the support deserved from the authorities.”
Scotland Revenge Earns Bronze
Scotland’s path to bronze was slightly less straight forward. A tough defeat by England was preceded by a close and entertaining game against South Africa, which the Scots lost 9 – 8. Victories against Singapore, Wales and a narrow 9 -7 win against New Zealand set up a rematch with South Africa for the bronze.
Another close match ensued and with the crowd cheering them on Scotland mustered a 6 – 5 victory to take the medal.
Scotland Coach Rhys Tamlyn Said:
“An incredible rollercoaster for the Mens team. I set an objective back in January at Limerick training camp to at least try to play for bronze medal game. I thought getting to that game would be 20% higher than we could achieve but you have to set targets.
They thought It was way too high. I didn’t. We showed signs at the Limerick EU 8 Nations in March but we were patchy and inconsistent. I wanted 3 wins out of 6 games in Aberdeen & targeted Wales , SA, NZL & Singapore. We played very well against Wales. Struggled physically against Malta and played naive W Polo and the game ran away from us. Then, on Monday night we played S Africa : It was an incredible atmosphere – they were a physical side – We let in 2 early goals and also went 9 – 5 down early in the 4th but we almost got the draw but lost 9 -8.
I think at that point we started to believe we could compete at a higher level and we did. With Ramon Valvona, my assistant we studied opposition tactics and put plans in place to counter other teams strengths. We were thumped by England who counter attacked & shot at a higher level than we could cope with. NZ were up next who were also big & physical but limited in the attacking options but we beat them 9 -7 – Singapore were very limited in attacking options and we dispatched them 12 – 6 to have a repeat game v S Africa for bronze.
We had a simple plan to defend and 2 or 3 attacking options and we stuck to it. Bojan our G/K was outstanding all week and SA’s big shooters froze in front of him and we won!
Playing W Polo in front of a big crowd is almost addictive and i’d like to thank ALL the supporters from ALL the teams : They really made a huge difference to the event and a lot of credit should go to Scottish swimming for the organisation of the event
I want to thank Ramon Valvona, Richie Metcalfe our team manager, Paul Reape our physio – it was a real team effort by the support staff”
England Women Road To Gold
It was clear early on that England was a team to be taken seriously in the games, kicking off the campaign with a brutal 35 – 1 victory over Wales. Straight forward victories over Scotland, and with a little more effort South Africa, meant a dress rehearsal of the final against the Canadians – also with a 100% record. In a hard fought game the Canadians came out on top, making them slight favourites for final with a 9 – 8 win.
In the final, the England girls took a commanding 6- 3 lead at half time and led 9 – 5 going into the last quarter. But the Canadian’s rallied bringing it back to within a goal, but England were able to hold on and take revenge and the gold.
England Captain Rosie Morris said:
“So good to have won! The last month or so has been so hard after losing the funding, so it’s just the best feeling to have won! So so proud of the team. We showed such character to win the final under so much pressure from the Canadians, so i’m over the moon that we are Commonwealth champions”
There was a lot of great coverage of the games over the course of the tournament. If you want to read match reports, The Aquatics Hub did a great effort covering every game. Also Scottish Swimming did am amazing job actually showing the games live on Youtube, something WPUK would love to be able to do one day. Also a big thinks to the water polo community who helped with the WPUK Twitter feed, giving live quarterly scores.
Full scores and results are here: