Mid-Season Stats Review (oh… and a win vs. Beckenham)

Evening all. As we hid the mid part of the season, it is probably worthwhile giving you a quick stats review for the last 6 months… Drum roll please…

BUT FIRST

We played a game vs. Beckenham. It was pretty good. We won by 16-11. Bedford showed up and moaned about his knee. It was like we were playing in 2018 again… Nick was Man of the Match for his 7 goal haul. Dan and Nick got equal votes for moment of the match – Dan: for a wonderful lob were he teed himself up and tippity-tapped it over the on-rushing keeper. Shute also got moment for a super length of the pool swim (past 2 opposition players) rounded off with a push shot. Sadly for him, Stef got fluffer for a dreadfully executed man up pass… Tut.

Anyway… Stats.

June 30th Stats (2019) June 30th Stats (2018)

Shute is way out in-front with 58 goals from 11 games (5.27 a game). This means he is ahead of where he was last year (54 in 13 – 4.15 per game) and also by virtue of games played, ahead of 2018 Dan Bedford (64 in 13 – 4.92 per game). Interestingly enough, this is in stark contrast to this time in 2017 when Shute was on 34 in 15 and Bedford was on 23 from 7. Clear year on year progression there.

On the goal scoring charts, Messers Ogg, Finch Snr and Gamble are also out-performing where they were this time last year. Even so, it seems there is little competition for Mr Shute, the Manchester City of goal-scorers. Another year, another golden shower… I mean hand.

Majors wise, the landscape has changed massively since 2018 and 2017. The traditional front runners of the contest John “Punchy” Holah and Gary “Fists of Fury” Bowen are nowhere near the top of the rankings. Perhaps they have cleaned up their act… more likely the Portuguese police have stepped in. The under-performance of these titans of brutality has left a gap for new blood to compete for the Catas-Trophy.

Zac “mid-pool major” Finch has (literally) pulled back the competition to surge up to the top of the charts. His 13 majors in 14 games gives him a Major per Game ratio of 0.93 and a frankly embarassing Brutality Rating of 4.33. Nonetheless, this puts him at the top of the Catas list. Compared to last year, he has excelled himself, beating his previous 8 from 14 (0.57 / 4.00).

The only heavy-weight to be challenging Finch Jnr at this stage is current Catas trophy holder Gimli Weeble, destroyer of rings. This years 10 from 11 (0.91 / 1.00) is a weak performance compared to last years 14 in 10 (1.4 / 2.33) but he is still in second place. New boy and vicious northerner Rob Dickinson is challenging in 3rd with 7 majors in 10 games. He needs to try harder if he wants a trophy this year!!

As a team, we have scored fewer goals vs. this time last year (178 vs. 204) and our goal difference is significantly lower (12 / 70) but I would put that down to quality of opposition. Majors wise, we play 66 vs. 89 – Holah and Bowen’s drop off in form clearly impacting out numbers there. Comparative number of trips to Portugal stays steady at 32 in 6 months.

The challenge for the Fluffer DVD and Where’s Wally stays strong with the usual suspects leading the field. With a busy 6 months of the season remaining, who can “last the distance” and “keep it up” to the finish line?

Until next time…

Forza Narwhali!!

The uniting in (un)holy matrimony of Enfield and TW Narwhals

[Edit: Apologies for the delay… I am sooooo busy. This report is from our epic encounter against Enfield back on June 10th where the mighty Narwhals staged a 4th quarter comeback to win in the last few seconds. At one stage we were 3 goals down in the 4th – a huge effort led to a resounding 12-11 victory.]

[Master Shute this week gives us the match report – a quick practise of his Groom’s speech to thank everyone for their attendance. He would appreciate any feedback you have…]

Firstly, I’d like to thank all of you for attending the game, especially those who travelled from the depths of south London all the way up to the top of the Northern Line. I know it was worth the trip, with an epic battle that went goal for goal all the way to the last 10 seconds, and the Narwhals emerging victorious by a single goal, 12-11.

Thanks to Gary for travelling all the way from Portugal to attend, I hope you had a safe trip home.

Thanks to Matt Finch for a solid performance in goal. A classic combination with Shute to get the winning goal.

Thanks to Geo Demari for bringing some Italian fighting spirit to the game. A punchy performance, with 2 majors to his name and a solid goal to add to his name.

Thanks to Tim Young for a solid performance for the team. Cruelly disallowed a bouncer in off the post by the ref giving a reversal in the pit.

Thanks to Dr Loveless for his goal contribution to the victory. It will go down in history as a perfectly executed palinka penalty, despite your claims it slipped out of your hand. Only losing out on moment due to the circumstances of the victory.

Thanks to Oggy for an excellent performance in the pit. They couldn’t handle it and a big 4 goals for the team.

Thanks to Best Man Gamble for his man of the match performance. 2 goals and some solid defending with no majors was enough to catch the eye of the fans.

Thanks to Shute for his 4 goals. Special thanks for his last second push shot that won us the game, for which he is awarded moment of the match. What a hero – the bride is lucky to have him.

Thanks to Zach for booking the table at Nandos before the game. Your contribution of 1 major, moaning about it and you own team telling you it’s the new rules wins you the award of fluffer for this game.

 

Forza Narwhali

The Avondale Double Header

We played Avondale twice in the space of two weeks. It was close, with the aggregate score 18-17 to Avondale. At times we played well, at times we didn’t. Our man-ups were awful, our man-downs were pretty good actually. Dubious refereeing on all fronts both home and away made for some interesting games.

The first fixture was the home leg at Whitgift. We snuck a last minute winner after a shot on goal was blocked with two hands by an Avondale defender. Up stepped Oggy to bury the winner with 14 seconds to go. What a hero!! Game was categorised by some great saves from Finchy (including 3 penalty saves) which earned him Man of the Match. Shute and Oggy shared Moment – Nick for a wonderful parabola lob (again) and Oggy for the aforementioned last minute penalty winner. Rob Loveless sadly won fluffer for wayward passing and shooting. (“who me?” you hear him ask…). Gamble was in close contention for a penalty/wobble double whammy – giving one away and then crying about it. Overall, it was nice to actually win a game – even though we made it super difficult.

The return leg game a week and a half later. This game was just as close and was characterised by Bedford getting beaten up in the pit with little/no return. The game became quite scrappy and fighty and despite Mr Shute’s claims of innocence, he probably did punch someone at some point… Sadly we lost by two goals, the final score 10-8. Man of the Match went to John Holah for some good fighting in the pit, moment of the match went to Shute who loves a lob vs. Avondale (you think they’d learn) and fluffer went to Finch Senior for some awful passing from goal…

Also, shout out to new boy Gio who has started his Narwhals career strongly. Our first Italian recruit, taking the Narwhals brand global!!

Until next time – Forza narwhali!!

Viscount Kingsborough vs. Penguin

[EDIT – a short but sharp match report today. The editor recognises there have been very few posts recently and apologises profusely. Finch Senior took time out of his 15 jobs and 32 redundancies to write the short blurb below…]

There was a game at some point last week. I got the dates wrong, it was a shambles. No-one was surprised!!

It was all somewhat overshadowed by the revelation that one of our team members was a Viscount (and had kept it very quiet). We lost the game. By lots. A depleted Narwhals played a 1 ½ Penguin team who had some very handy Eastern Europeans. However in the words of Mr Robert Dickinson, this was the “best 18 – 4 defeat he’d ever played in” and to be fair we didn’t play badly, they were just a lot better than us!!

Man of the Match went to Zach for being for only person on either team that could score a penalty

Moment of the Match went to Andy W in goal for saving what could only be described as a rocket, with his face and then needing a little time out afterwards (not surprisingly either)

Fluffer was yours truly having scored 0.003% of my shots and failed to pass to a wide open Rob D on 3 of them… Shooting practice required!!

For those who are interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_of_Kingston

Stats will be updated in full once all match reports have been completed.

Big Daddy’s Big Send-off

[EDIT – This week see’s the debut of Gary “Garreeeeeee” Bowen, providing his very first match report. The games covered in this report were friendlies and therefore (due to considerable complaints from the voting public) do not contribute towards stats. As a result we only get to enjoy the words of Mr. Bowen.]

20th April 14:19 and the call comes from Matt ‘Million Dollar’ Finch – we have a “friendly polo” event against the Kingston Royal Warriors next Thursday 25th. With hindsight could this be the most miss-sold event of 2019?

One by one the yay and nay messages appear, but all slightly confused by someone [edit: a convict] called Birman who seemed to have hacked into the team WhatsApp group on that Saturday evening and was posting pictures of himself superimposed on images of some of the Narwhals having a quiet evening in Streatham. Birman even posted that Phil ‘Big Daddy’ Richards was having lunch with the in laws – he could have thought of something more original – what a poor excuse to miss some beers! And posting that our team elder statesman was still ill 10 days after attending a stag weekend was just cruel. [edit: I still want to know what happened on that stag do…]

By Wednesday, even with the many nays, Million Dollar had summoned a mighty team of eight. So, game on – but what the team really needed was a bit of pre-match training. What better than an extended Wednesday training session at the Khana Peena (http://www.khanapeena.co.uk) followed by a heated game of five-a-side Hungarian Dodgeball – not a game that has made Olympic status yet but it could challenge synchronised swimming (or artistic swimming as it is now known). At the end of the game we won and they lost.

Anyway, on to the match day. In spite of his almost agreed transfer to the US league, Big Daddy came through with an early confirmation that he was good to play. No mention of poo, so can only assume that he was still stacking this for a later mighty session. Perhaps as a left-over from the Saturday hacking, Million Dollar completely messed up his liaison with John ‘The Animal’ Holah and arrived at the pool before thanking The Animal for his offer of a lift. Great to see a bit of team coordination.

But what about the game you ask? Well we played, and it did involve a pool, but was it polo? Perhaps there was some rule confusion, should we follow the new FINA water polo rules or should we use the UWW freestyle wrestling rules? This confusion seemed particularly hard for Zac ‘The Undertaker’ Finch who achieved his second exclusion within 90 seconds of the start of Round 1. The rest of the team also struggled to get their holds right and at the end of the round the judges had scored the match as 3 to Kingston and only 1 to the Narwhals.

Round 2 was better as the hold and release training came back to some of the Narwhals, and the judges scored this 4:2 to the Narwhals with Nick ‘The Hacksaw’ Shute and Big Daddy being awarded 2 each.

Round 3 and Kingston had clearly got to the judges, so despite The Hacksaw being awarded 2 more points Kingston were judged as winners of the round by 5:2. Sadly in this round The Undertaker was caught trying an illegal backbreaker move and was eliminated from the competition.

So, into round 4. Could the Narwhals get Kingston onto the floor? The Hacksaw continued with his grip and release tactics to get two more points awarded and Ed ‘The Hulk’ Gamble and Gary ‘Rowdy’ Bowen were awarded 1 each for clearly confusing the opposition. But sadly Kingston were also awarded 2 points and had their hands raised at the final score 12:11.

Despite a severe lack of votes, in recognition of his valiant attempt to be remembered after his transfer to the US, Big Daddy (Phil-adelphia) was awarded the Man of Match award. The Hacksaw was given the award for the best ‘release from the opposition hold’ moment and The Undertaker was nominated as fluffer for his excessive use of illegal backbreaker moves.

Million Dollar, The Animal, Tim ‘Ultimate Warrior’ Young and Charles ‘Ravishing’ King-Tenison have all been sent to enhance their skills at the Portuguese training camp…….

A keeper, a keeper… my kingdom for a goal keeper!!

Last week saw the Narwhals take on Beckenham 2’s in the London League. Our first experience of the new London League rules and our first failure to grasp them. A sturdy 9 turned up for the game, crucially buoyed by the first appearance of the season by Dan “Iron Man” Bedford. Clearly Nick challenging his record for the year was causing him some concern… Rather unhelpfully, both our goalkeepers were on holiday, so Gary “Gareeeeeeeeeee” Bowen, in the style of Shakespearean tragic hero, volunteered to go between the posts.

April 22nd Stats

Pre-game we had a nifty little team talk. “Remember the new rules” we said loudly several times, “don’t let them shoot from corners, don’t foul them from behind. Job done.”. Oh how we wish it was that simple…

In honesty I don’t remember much about the game. They kept beating us on the counter attack and if we managed to get back and defend properly, we were picked off from distance. Whilst performing an admirable job between the sticks, Gary was very unlucky with some heavily deflected shots flying past him. Beckenham were also equally good at finding the top corner!!

Shute and Bedford shared the pick of the goals with Gamble and Richards chipping in with their own efforts. Holah made a triumphant return with a typical major and Finch Jnr gave away a spectacular penalty, absolutely nailing the pit man after being turned. Congratulations on putting yourself in firm contention for the Catas!!

Scores were 6-10 at the half; 10-18 at full time.

Man of the Match went to Bedford for his first appearance of the year. He did all the things we expected – growled grumpily from the pit, told us we were all rubbish, questioned why he played with us in the first place and scored a few goals. He also won Moment of the Match for a delightful lob into the far corner (of the goal). Not to be confused with one of my shots that went into the far corner of the pool…

Fluffer this week could have been a close run thing with the award being shared. Sadly for one of the pair, we were sympathetic to the one who took the bullet and went in goal. Despite having been warned of shots directly from the corner, and with Weeble’s shouts of “watch him, don’t let him shoot!!” still ringing in his ears, this member of the team decided to turn his back on the Beckenham player swimming to take a corner. Within a moment, the shot was taken and the ball was in the net. The narwhals fall foul of the new rules for the first (and definitely not the last) time this year. Congrats Charles, you win!!

Hopefully we will do a better job of trying to win the game next time.

Forza Narwhali!!

 

The Inevitability of Life…

This week the stats report has been updated to include three previous games vs. Orca, Avondale and Otter. Match reports are sold separately. The following tale includes heroics, stupidity, cramp and a sublime back shot from the least likely of candidates.

April 14th Stats

Some things in life are inevitable. Birth, Death, and Matt Finch forgetting we have a game. Last Wednesday was another one of those occasions. A sturdy 9 Narwhals turned up at Whitgift pool for a 9pm training session, all looking forward to what could turn into an early night. Just before we started our swim set, a warning shot was fired across our decks – one member of the opposition wandered cautiously onto poolside. We told him in no uncertain terms there was no game and he disappeared back into the changing rooms. Oh how we laughed…

Led by Rob D, we then conducted a 20 minute swim session where we did sprints, legs and butterfly. Suitably tired, we were then greeted by a full team of London Otter players who arrived on pool side for a 9.30pm game. Brandishing the London League fixture list, it was clear the game was on… With no table, no refs and barely enough players to service both, the Narwhal Horn was sounded into the night – “BADDOOOOOOOOOPPPP!! BADDOOOOOOOOOPPPP!!”.

“Too far, too tired” came the response from Shute. “I’m working” from Holah. A silent void from the rest – the beacons of Gondor well and truly ignored. Luckily President Ogg did come to our aid, importantly brandishing a match sheet as he ran onto poolside. Also buoyed by the long awaited return of Luke “finals and photo shoots” Penfold, the Narwhals were ready for battle.

In honesty, there is not a lot to say about the game. It was scrappy and Otter had clearly brought a mixed strength team including some (a) very good 1st team player. In the first quarter they scored 4 without response until referee Finch Snr rather expertly gave a penalty for an illegal entry. Even more surprisingly, Weeble dispatched the penalty with a bouncing effort into the bottom corner. 4-1 to Otter after Q1.

Quarter 2 ended 8-1 to Otter and we struggled to get into the game. No goals coincided with Gamble doing the refereeing. Read into that what you will. Unfortunately we lost Penfold to cramp at the end of the quarter. His “easy” return to training somewhat scuppered by this unexpected game. Two quarters on the table was his reward!!

Quarter 3 was a little better. We worked a bit harder and they only scored from outside the arc. A few misplaced passes didn’t help our cause and we struggled to slow down the play and use up the clock. Even so, we got a few good shots away and finally got the goal we deserved. A drive from halfway across the goal by Gimli was picked out by a looping pass from Ogg. Aided by a dubious Finch Snr pull-back, Gimli had enough time to put the resulting back shot into the top corner off the post and crossbar. Assists to Ogg and Finch? Q3 ended 12-2.

In honesty, we played quite well despite the situation. Our drop on the pit worked well and most of their goals came from counter attacks or from 8-9m off the arc. Quarter 4 saw goals from Oggy and Finchy, making the score sheet slightly less uncomfortable reading. 15-4 the final score.

Man of the Match went to Gamble as did moment for the back-shot. You flatter me guys. Fluffer unanimously went to Matt Finch, the Incompetence award wrapped up for another year.

Until next time… Forza Narwhali!!

Into the Archive: The Almost Epic Comeback

[EDIT: Another slightly late entry, this time provided by Mr. Shute. This report was provided in a somewhat more timely fashion, but sadly just after Dr. Loveless’, thus allowing our resident doctor to avoid any fineage. Seems like a good game.]

The mighty Narwhals, depleted by the missing Gimly, Woody, Oggy, Punchy, Floaty and Gingy, travelled to Putney for arguably their first real challenge of the season against Avondale. With so many star players out, victory was but a distant dream, but the Narwhals ploughed on with thoughts of a London Pride that took 10 minutes to pour keeping them interested.

Their hopes were lifted however, when Shutey won the swim off, went in the pit, “turned” his man and slotted in all within 25 seconds. Blows were traded over the next 6 and a half minutes, neither team taking control of the game. With 13 seconds remaining, Avondale took a 5-4 lead and the Narwhals looked like they would be going in behind. But, with 2 seconds left on the clock, Shute went for the audacious parabola from half way. It sailed through the air, rotating majestically, the buzzer went, but it carried on, the keeper could only watch as it sailed into the goal. What was he doing? 5-5.

In the second quarter we really showed what an absolute pile of rubbish team we can be at times. Slack passing, poor balls into the pit and bad shooting, combined with lack of fitness and awareness, allowed Avondale to score 3 unanswered break away goals. The one man up we did win came to nothing, and we went in 8-5 behind after losing the swimming race.

We contained this for the first 2 minutes of the 3rd and found ourselves 12-6 behind with a quarter and a half to play. What happened next can only be described as a Monday night miracle. To sarcastic shouts of “shoot!” from the opposition bench, Timmy “cannon” Young smashed the ball into the bottom corner from 5m. Some clever play (slash slack defending) from Dicky Dickinson and good saves from Andy got us 2 more, with one another lob from half way as the keeper rushed out to try and fill the gap left by the defenders. Another break away goal from Shutey to give Avondale a taste of their own medicine and take the score to 12-10 at the end of the 3rd, the come back well and truly on!

With their horns up, the Narwhals continued to push and Finchy chipped in with another goal, before a sublime blind back hand pass whilst being drowned by his defender found Shutey to slam home for 12-12. Shutey then added another to make it 13-12 to the Narwhals, the come back complete. Could the Narwhals see out the game?

Nope.

The effort it had taken to get us there was too much. Chrissy Mann couldn’t help but drown his man and they scored from the resultant man up. 3 more fairly sloppy goals in the final 2 minutes saw us slip to a 16-13 loss. Not a bad effort considering, a shame about the absolute collapse in the second and half the third quarter.

Man of the match this week goes to Shutey for his shooting. Another 8 goals to add to this seasons tally as he chases down Bedfords scoring record from the previous year. Moment also goes to Shutey for his audacious lob on the buzzer, their keeper certainly taking their fluffer for letting that go in. Shout out to Finchy Snr for his blind back hand pass. Fluffer was pretty unanimous this week with Finch snr picking up all but one of the votes, and that wasn’t even his own vote… Fair play to Charles for voting the whole team for the second quarter.

If we could all work on our fitness and awareness for future we’d win that game. Alternatively let’s just get Woody, Oggy, Punchy, Floaty and Gingy back in the pool.

Forza Narwhali!

Into the Archive – February vs. Orca

[EDIT: Following a long hiatus, we go back into the archives to look at a game that happened as long ago as February. Due to international doctoring commitments on the slopes of Mont Blanc, Dr. Loveless only managed to get this written 3 weeks after the game – this is despite telling us that “once I’ve knocked them out, I’ve got loads of time to mess about…”. The life of the modern doctor…]

Several months ago, the Narwhals took on the Orcas in the latest round of the Battle of the Arctic, this time taking place in the warmer waters of Whitgift pool. 10 Narwhals vs 11 Orcas, the stage was set for an epic battle. As aquatic mammals have evolved, the Narwhal remains in its prehistoric form, it’s majestic tusk a sign of its prowess and presumably used to spear fish when it isn’t grappling with rivals or foes. Such weaponry proved too much for the Orca pod early, as the Narwhals raced to a 4-0 lead, Rob D and Shute providing 2 apiece. Something of an orca comeback appeared after that with the first quarter ending 5-3.

The second quarter saw a resurgence from the men with tusks, as a well fought pit goal from Oggy and an outside shot from Holah combined with 2 more for Shute resulted in the Narwhals extending their lead to 9-4 at half time.

As the second half began the floodgates opened. This was the era of the Narwhal backhook shot as up to 4 shots found the net while eyes were turned the other way. Nick and Rob L both served up offerings of the now famous Wing backshot, one from each flank. These were both nominated for moment of the match with Rob’s effort narrowly winning the award. Also of note this period was a fantastic 1 on 1 save from Andy in goal, keeping the Orca charge at bay, and 4 goals for Shute. 16-4 with 1 quarter to go. A penalty was missed at some stage. No idea who missed it…

The fourth quarter continued in a similar vein with goals from Oggy, Holah and 2 from Rob L bringing the final score to 20-7 and another Narwhal victory. Man of the match went to Nick for 8 goals and an outstanding work rate. Fluffer this week went to Rob D, for several missed 1 on 1s and generally loose shooting. Next match report to follow very soon as we have played again in the time it took me to write this.

Forza Narwhali

2 by 2 is 4, 3 by 3 is 9

[Edit: Today’s match report comes from Finch Snr. Somewhat surprisingly late for someone who has a lot of time on his hands at the moment… we are all very disappointed in his tardiness…]

A long time ago (or so I’m told) [edit: 2 weeks to be exact…], a Narwhals side deflated by the presence of Weeble and shorn of all 3 of our recognised pit men took on a Kingston 2 side full of vigour and enthusiasm.

March 13th Stats

Narwhals, as per usual, started slowly with Kingston taking an early lead – but our brave boys fought back with a well taken 6m free throw goal from Rob ‘dependable’ Dickinson and a fluke (obviously) from Nick (3×3) Shute.

This was the first of many Nick goals, picking up a treble hat-trick (9 goals for the uninitiated). I wish I could remember them all, but alas I can’t. There were a few shots from the arc, a push shot and others. It would certainly seem that Mr Shute prefers us to play with no recognised pitman!!

The Narwhals went into the second quarter 2 – 3 down but had soon drawn level through a Nick goal. The quarter remained level pegged, 5 all at half time.

The third quarter went the same way as the second with both teams level pegging, only this quarter saw messers Lombardo (x2), Dickinson, King-Tenison and another Nick goal keep us level. 10-9 at the end of the 3rd.

The final quarter was dominated by the Narwhals, scoring 6 goals (4 by Nick) to Kingston’s 2, surely as a result of our superior fitness (LOL), in the end it was a comfortable result although the game hung in the balance until the final quarter. Final score 16 – 11 to the Narwhals.

Man of the match went to Ed for his assists*
Moment of the match went to Charles and Nick for the beautifully worked back post goal.
Fluffer went to me for being ill (and useless admittedly 😀)

Messers Young, Loveless and Finch jr have taken an early vacation and are tasting fine wine in the Douro Valley.

Forza Narwali!!

* no not really, Nick obviously won it for his 9 goals!