PORTOBELLO WIN BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIPS
It was an emotional win for Portobello in the final of the British Gas Water Polo Championships as they defeated City of Manchester by eight goals to five.
Both teams came out on the attack but the deadlock was not broken until halfway through the first quarter when Manchester had their attacking play converted by Kocic to go one goal up.
Taking advantage of man up, Portobello’s Nuno Oliveira found the back of the net for the Scots with less than two minutes to play. His teammates Ed Grundy and Captain Neilson Rutherford then followed suit, each scoring in the last 60 seconds of the quarter.
Despite winning the swim off, Manchester couldn’t convert their possession into points and Portobello scored on their first play of the quarter, Oliveira again getting the first goal followed by Grundy and Rutherford. A late consolation goal for Kirk of Manchester put the score at 6-2 at half time.
Manchester were not going to go down without a fight and Craig Hammond scored almost immediately for Manchester before Davidson, put distance between the two sides again at the end of the third quarter. Hammond struck home in the dying seconds to put Manchester back in the mix with just eight minutes left to play.
Portobello, who are celebrating their centenary year this year, were not going to let the home side spoil their party and their eighth goal by James Scobie put the game out of the Mancunians’ reach.
Kirk got a consolation goal for Manchester in the last three minutes but an immense effort by Bojan Donevski in the Portobello goal denied Manchester of their opportunities to score.
“We have tried for years to compete and win this competition but we always fell short,” said Portobello’s Captain Rutherford. “This year has been a good year for us, we’ve worked hard, built up throughout the season and came here believing we could win.”
“We have beaten some of the toughest teams this year and that really gave us confidence and momentum coming into the Championships.
“I’m absolutely delighted for the whole team and everyone involved.”
City of Manchester’s captain Kevin Williams was gracious in defeat citing that the best team won.
“We never recovered from a bad start,” he said. “We thought we were good enough to win it but I have to congratulate Portobello. They were tactically very strong and they played really well. They wanted this win.
“Of course we’re disappointed but on the day, the best team won.”
Bristol Central were denied a podium place by a determined Cheltenham in the third and fourth place play off.
Starting strongly, Bristol led the match after the first quarter 3-2 after goals from Thresher, Taylor and Wyatt with Legge scoring twice for Cheltenham.
But a solid second quarter saw Legge score three goals unanswered which were followed by a further two by team mates McAllister and Hayter. Bristol could only respond with two goals for Chris Taylor to keep them in touching distance. At half time Cheltenham led 7-5.
Bristol came out fighting after the break but it took three minutes for them to find the target. They scored two goals before Cheltenham did the same to take the score to 9-7 in the final quarter.
In the last quarter Cheltenham’s Joel and Mike Thomas got a goal each to take the tally to 11. A consolation penalty for Bristol wasn’t enough to keep them in the game and the final score was 11-8 to Cheltenham.