Certificates Unite Narwhal Team(s)

[Editor: It is awards season this month, so to celebrate, Mr. Shute takes on an Oscar-like odyssey]

January 23rd Stats

Welcome to the 2019 Annual “Certificates Unite Narwhal Team” Awards. Tonight your host is the ghost Amy Winehands, here to take you through the minimal highs, and multiple lows, of the TW Narwhals mighty 23 – 12 win over an unknown team because someone didn’t fill it out on the match sheet and all has been forgotten [Editor: it was Blue Marlin]. All I can say is the Narwhals dominated from start to finish, goals were shared like a raclette in an Alpine Savoy restaurant, all washed down with a 2015 Côtes du Rhône. Anyway, enough about my holiday.

We start with the most uninteresting award of the night, Man of the Match, or as Gimli fondly puts it “whoever scored the most goals”.

Nominations are:

  • Oggy for some great battling in the pit.
  • Andy for some good saves and excellent distribution.
  • Shute for scoring the most goals.
  • Zach for having a good game.

And the winner is………….

Shute for scoring the most goals.

Lets swiftly move on to Moment of the match. That highlight of the game that sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the pile of shit that was likely the rest of the game.

Nominations are:

  • Oggy for a sublime back shot from the put.
  • Andy for great assist passing the length of the pool.
  • Loveless for scoring a goal right handed. Show off.

And the winner is………….

Loveless for shooting better with his wrong hand.

So, we get to the final main award for the night, the Fluffer. And as always this was a cracking contest with a few strong candidates. There were so many 5* fluffs during the game a lot of the smaller ones went completely unnoticed. *Sigh of relief from rest of the crowd*

Nominations are:

  • Charles for hitting the post from 1m out.
  • Gary for his “moment” (can’t even remember what this is just have it written down).
  • Stef for his attempt at a push shot lob when the keeper was meters off his line, only to pass it straight to him.
  • Finch snr for pushing off the wall too early and giving away a foul.

And the clear winner here is Stef, as not only was it truly embarrassing, but it would have been his hattrick!

Finally, we have the Jose Mourinho award for lifetime offering of nothing to the game. However, for the first time in many years, it goes to R.O.N and the flight to Portugal was an empty affair! Shout out to Gary for the single major to save himself, and to Dickinson for getting wrapped in a game we won 23-12…

Until next years awards… Forza Narwhali!!

New Year, New me… naaaaaattt

January 16th saw the first game of the 2019 season for the mighty Narwhals. Eastern Otter were the visitors and everyone was hugely excited to dust off their speedos and take a dip. Charles was so excited for the game that he gave himself a dead leg, meaning he picked up the first MDM of the season. Good one.

January 25th Stats

If I had to pick one adjective to describe the game, it would be rusty. If I had to pick a second, it would be lazy. A third? Clumsy? It wasn’t the best game of polo you could have seen, but at least we got a win. Our typical January “pre-season friendlies” are always an opportunity to re-find that old form and grab a few goals in the process. Messers Ogg, Finch and Shute helped themselves. Passing could have done with some improvement too.

Sadly the game saw a lot of penalties against us. In game where we should have been much quicker and fitter than the opposition, I think we gave away 5 penalties. Perhaps that is because we were still working out our front marking, or perhaps we were just slow and lazy… Andy W did his absolute best to keep the penalties out – I think he saved 2 of the 5 – clearly all the 5 lives practise is paying off… but even so, when half the oppositions goals come from penalties, we need to look at our own defending.

Regardless, a win is a win. Man of the match went to El Presidente, Andy Ogg for a four goal haul and some fine battling in the pit. He also grabbed Moment of the Match for a casual back shot from said pit. He narrowly beat Andy W who got a few nominations for his penalty saves. Rob Loveless ignored his fine training form and proceeded to fire high and wide from all over the park. Clearly when the match day pressure is on, he fails to perform. Apologies to Mrs. Loveless. For his aimless attempts, Rob picks up Fluffer. I think he also got some votes for not being able to pick up the ball properly… was it three or four attempts?

Next week is Blue Marlin. Will we improve? Probably not…

Forza Narwhali!!

Finishing with a limp

Last Wednesday saw a weakened Narwhals team square up against a National League fresh Croydon II’s. As it was the start of the winter season, our triumphs in the London League were two weeks behind us and we were focusing fully on this handicapped cup game. Starting with an 8 goal advantage, we were optimistic. Time would prove we shouldn’t have been…

Nov 28th Stats

We started slowly, staying with Croydon for the grand total of 2 minutes (2-2) before succumbing to an 8-2 end of quarter score… New Rob did pick up a goal, as did Charles, but on the whole, Croydon let us know fairly quickly what sort of game this was going to be. High press, quick counter. Our inability to win fouls cost us more than I care to say here. For the record, we need to learn to win fouls…

The second quarter didn’t go much better, with Croydon scoring yet more quick counter attacks to increase the lead. even when we did manage to slow the attack and set up some semblance of a defence, they picked out the top corner from 7-8m. We did have some highlights from the quarter – Phil with two screamers and Andy also chipping in with a decent goal from the pit. 16-5 the score at the half.

Then miraculously at half-time, the score jumped suddenly to 13-16 – 8 goals appeared as if from nowhere. There was no shortage of claims for those goals, with many suggesting they should be allocated to Chris Mann for his services to the club. Sadly Chris missed a 1:1 counter attack in the 3rd quarter so I decided not to give them out. These goals can be collected at the Christmas party with a fine of one jagerbomb per goal.

The 3rd quarter had few highlights for us. Oggy grabbed another goal, a just reward for his hard work in the game – but the quarter closed at 22-14 to Croydon. Low-light for the quarter was Floater Richards being wrapped up for his potty language. Having not won a foul he felt he was due, Mr. Richards had a big wobble and said some naughty words to the referee. He was promptly ejected. Sad face.

The 4th quarter followed much the same theme. Counter attack followed counter attack and our lack of aggressiveness in the pit also allowed the opposition to get more of an advantage. We had a late rally in the final few minutes, starting our comeback with 3 unanswered goals, but it was too little too late at this point and Croydon saw out the game with a victory of 31-17.

Man of the match for the game went to Andy “El Presidente” Ogg for a lot of hard work and determination for very little gain. Shout out to Andy “keeper” Winterbotham for some good 1:1 saves, but there was little he could do against the Croydon onslaught. Moment of the Match went to Oggy and Weeble for a well crafted goal in the pit. A cheeky lob over the defender to a waiting dwarf who drove it in from 2m. Dan Bedford might have been proud… Honourable mentions to P.Richards screamers & Oggy’s backshot from the pit. Fluffer was unanimous this week. Sorry Phil… better clean up your act!!

Something else to mention – Charles turned 18 last week and was very keen to buy a round for everyone. His next opportunity is at the Christmas party, so I guess beers are on Charles? Matt Finch must have a non-alcoholic beverage just in case he falls over again.

Forza Narwhali

Rout of the Orcas

The 24th October saw the Mighty Narwhals play the final game of the London League. With Enfield having slipped up against Eastern Otter, a win would guarantee top spot in the League and would ensure promotion next season…

6th November Stats

Our solid 9 was whittled down slightly by the fact we had no keeper and needed one person on the table. This meant at any one time we had one sub and no reliability between the sticks. Kudos to Oggy, Shute and Loveless for taking up the challenge and being our Keepers for the day. It actually worked quite well – our first clean sheet of the season!! This now means that Oggy, Loveless and Gamble are all in contention for “keeper of the season”, having the lowest goals conceded to game ratio…

The game started well with the Narwhals racing into a 6 goal lead, with 6 different scorers. Our clean sheet was threatened in the last moments of the half as Nick “clumsy” Shute gave away a penalty. Lucky for him, El Presidente saved the shot gloriously to his right.

The second quarter went equally well, this time with the Narwhals recording 5 goals without response. This quarter we had Nick “Flappy Hands” Shute in goal and he acrobatically and rather theatrically saved a number of shots, batting them away in all directions. There was a delightful moment with a minute left in the quarter where all Narwhals had scored except for Ed “high and wide” Gamble. Luckily for him, he managed to grab a goal (it was spectacular… I think) and so all Narwhals managed to get themselves on the match sheet. No trips to Portugal this week. There was also some dubious passing from Shute in goal… two passes landing well outside the pool… even worse than Finch…

Third quarter saw another 6 goals to the Narwhals and some rather wayward shooting. Highlight of the quarter saw Shute one on one with the goalkeeper where he then proceeded to hit the post, catch the rebound, have a shot saved by the keeper and then finally score on the third time of asking (just on the buzzer). No one wanted to give the goal, but sadly the referees did (BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!) much to the disappointment of both teams.

The 4th quarter saw another 5 goals to the Narwhals and Woody’s second quarter in goal. For the first time he was “saved” by the woodwork rather than punished by it, with a low shot cannoning off the inside of the post and back out into his waiting arms. We saw out the end of the game and were victorious 22-0. Solid effort.

Man of the Match went to Rob “woody” Loveless for his two quarters in goal and taking one for the team. Moment of the match (unanimously) went to Andy “Marathon Man” Ogg for his superb penalty save. Fluffer was awarded to Nick “Off Target” Shute for a number of errors (despite his 5 goals) – bad passing, gave away a penalty, laughable one on one.

Our shooting was terrible and our passing was worse, but we got the win. Champions of London!! On the Narwhals march!!

Forza Narwhali!!

A long (long) trip to Hornchurch

A Thursday or two ago saw a rag-tag group 10 of Narwhals sacrifice their time to travel to the wastes of East London to play Eastern Otter. Having previously had the joy of trekking to Beacontree and Walthamstowe, Hornchurch was an extra special location, picked for its inaccessibility and uniquely positioned to be close to absolutely no public transport…

October 23rd Stats

Buoyed by a cheeky pre-game nandos, the majority of the team took up the challenge of travelling 400 stops on the district line to somewhere in East London and then take a bus through Romford. Mr Shute enjoyed taking photos of all 17 Wetherspoons pubs… he is now a fan of Romford.

The warm-up to the game started admirably. The unfamiliar Hornchurch facilities were duly christened by the team and John “Punchy” Holah had clearly turned up having had too much Nandos Peri-Peri Fighting Sauce. The gloves were off and he was ready to go. The game also saw the first game of the year for Luke “Tour and Finals only” Penfold”.

We started well, moving into an early 3-1 lead with goals from Bedford and Loveless. That was further built on in the second quarter with a further 3 goals, leaving the score at half time 6-2. Holah, acutely aware he was lagging in the Major King stakes quickly picked up 2 majors before half time. A travesty occurred in the dying minutes of the half when the ball fell kindly to Senor Weeble – the buzzer sounding just moments before the ball could be scooped up and buried into the net… had the ball been made of cake – perhaps I’d have got to it quicker…

The third quarter was a slightly more balanced affair, with 3 goals for both teams. The Narwhals took our foot of the gas (slightly) and perhaps it was those chicken wings making a re-appearance!! The game had lowly descended into a 3 up, 3 back kind of game as we tried to move the opposition into our half for a change. Fearing Holah would over-take him in the stats, Gamble took the opportunity to pick up two majors of his own. With few games left – odds on favourite to claim the Catas-Trophy!!

The Fourth quarter saw a flurry of goals… 20/20 Shute bagged a 4th quarter brace including a delightful flick over the advancing keeper. Bedford bagged another, taking his tally to 6 and ensuring he set a new season record for number of goals. To round off the game, Ed “awesome player” Gamble bagged a long range screamer. Final score 14-9.

This game saw the second triple crown in as many matches, with new boy Luke “RD” Penfold winning all three of our awards. Man of the match was for grabbing two goals and playing like he was in a Cup Final. Moment and Fluffer were “awarded” for the same thing – in honesty, the fluffer more for the joy of having a second triple crown, but still… With the clock ticking down to zero in the 4th, Rob “Woody” Loveless wound up his arm for a high and wide attempt on goal from half-way. As he released the ball, Penfold leapt from the water, graceful like a salmon, and blocked the shot with an outstretched arm. Who said Tour Polo was dead? To hoots of laughter from both sides and with a visibly shell-shocked Loveless, the referee’s blew for full time. The fluffer award did save Bedford from two weeks of Fluffing (after missing a 1-v-1) and also Loveless for some “wayward” passing…

Post match, we went for a beer and then took 3hrs to get home. My car got a lovely tour of inner London and a trip over Tower Bridge. A magical evening…

Until next time – Forza Narwhali!!

The Game that Time (Finchy) forgot…

You’d like to think that a game which we handsomely won against a Central London first team would be a memorable affair, but I can’t recall a single thing about it. It started like any other game, 16 yays and the very real possibility of me having to ‘select’ a team. Alas, the usual match day drop outs left us with a solid 11 and given the oppo only brought 7, we had a good numerical advantage. From my very sketchy memory the game went something like this:

We win swim off
Our keeper makes a top notch save
Dr Woody hits target and scores (shocker)
Our keeper makes a quality interception
Somebody else scores for us
We score again
And again
And again
Top notch keeping denies the opposition a certain goal
The opposition score through a tremendous shot
Somebody scores for us

6 – 1 to the Narwhals at the end of the first with Dan ‘100 not out’ Bedford picking up 4 alone.

The second quarter went a bit like:

We win swim off
Our keeper makes a top notch save
Dr Woody hits target and scores
Our keeper makes a quality interception
Somebody else scores for us
Dan scores two more
We can’t pass for toffee so Dr Woody takes control and lashes it in from 8m, 3 goals from 3 shots for him, who says a Maccy D’s isn’t good for you?!?!?

11 – 1 to the Narwhals at half time

We won the second half 6 – 0, final score was 17 – 1, nothing really happened, we didn’t even play that well (other than our keeper of course who was top notch.)

Man of the Match went inexplicably to Dan, how the keeper didn’t win it is one of life’s great mystery’s… something for Alex Jones and Infowars to get their teeth into if you ask me. Dan also picked up moment, I don’t recall for what, probably a goal or something equally mundane. He does however round off the Holy Trinity by picking up fluffer for a shocker of a pass to Dr Woody.

On to next week and something more memorable…. (like an updated stats report)

Forza Narwhali!

A trip to High Barnet

Monday 23rd September saw the mighty Narwhals go for a cheeky Nando’s before travelling to the northern end of the Northern Line to a potentially league deciding clash with Enfield 2’s. It was a game of mixed fortunes and emotions, with arguably the high point being the Nando’s and the low point being a severe lack of facilities for the PMP’s…

28th Sept Stats

The evening started well as the Narwhals assembled at “King’s Cross” for a swift Nando’s. Some like their chicken hot, others mild, and some like it resembling “Burnt Oak”. Upon finishing our meal and being “Stock(ed)-Well” with carbs and chicken, we prepared ourselves for a journey to the end of the Northern Line – glad we weren’t heading to “Morden”. The approach to “High Barnet” was interrupted by several smelly “Tooting Bec’s” and “Tooting Broadway’s” – badgers a plenty – that chicken was ready to create some epic PMP’s.

Upon arrival at the pool, I felt like an “Elephant and Castle” were trying to leave my bowls, but to my horror, none of the facilities had a suitable supply of paper with which to wipe my “Goodge Street”. It was quickly pointed out that in fact Woody McLoveless had used the last of the paper to clean his own “Mornington Crescent”. Thus I was forced to start the game without a PMP – terrible preparation in itself – but I also had to avoid any kicks to the stomach in case a train were to leave my “Clapham South”.

The lack of team PMP’s was obvious at the start of the game as our passing lacked precision and our press lacked aggression. Our “Archway” was rarely set up well meaning our attack lacked an “Edgware”. Sadly as a result we slipped to an initial 3-0 at the end of the 1st Quarter. As the game progressed into the 2nd quarter, it quickly became apparent that the referees were a bunch of “Kentish Town(s)”. Pull backs were not given and a number of questionable reversals led to tempers flaring and Mr Shute getting very “Charing Cross”. Nonetheless, our play improved and we began to pass the “Oval” ball with more precision. We ultimately won the 2nd Quarter 4-1 (4-4) with goals from Oggy, Lombardo, a dribbler from Holah and a deft, Bedford-esq goal from Gamble – rising like an “Angel” from the pit. Delightful.

As the game progressed into the 3rd quarter, the refs began to show their themselves to be real “Belsize Park(s)”. Inexplicable decisions were made and the game became very “Tufnell Park”. We struggled to get ahead but won the quarter 5-4. Gary saw it as an opportunity to have his very own “Waterloo” and promptly received two majors. Oggy also captialised on Bedford’s absence from the pit and “Bank(ed)” three goals in the quarter. highlight of the quarter came at the end when Floater shot a good 2 seconds after the buzzer and stole a goal from the opposition – much to their coaches frustration.

The 4th quarter was a scrappy affair. the Narwhals began to get frustrated with the reffing decisions it affected out play. Mr. Richards got very “Brent Cross” and at one point got very shouty. The game was tied at 11-11 with 30 seconds to go when Enfield called a time out. We quickly set up our arch and decided we would be playing a “High(gate)” press. Sadly as part of the defence, “Finchly Central” was ejected with a major and we conceded a goal with 12 seconds to go. Some dubious clock management later, and we fell to a 12-11 defeat.

Man of the match this week went to Oggy for his 4 goal haul. I suppose that makes him out “Golders Green”. Shout outs to Rob “Woodside Park” Loveless who ended his drought with a goal and to Zac “East Finchly” for having a cheeky fight on half way. Next time punch harder!!

Moment of the Match again went to Oggy for a superb back shot from the pit.Very few other nominations but a shout out to Rob, Phil and Gary who played a delightful passing move before putting the ball into the pit for Oggy to score.

Fluffer this week goes to Matt “West Finchly” for his final minute exclusion. Arguably it wasn’t him that cost us the game, but you can’t vote for the refs and this is a democracy. Rob got a customary nomination for wayward shooting and I think Shute is still wobbling.

Sadly this game means we have now lost 5 games in a row. It would be good to turn this around sooner rather than later – but I am confident for the next match.

If you can fit anymore Northern Line stations  in – add them to the facebook post… (look at that – engagement with the fans!!)

Forza narwhali!!


A Blue Planet Special

A Blue Planet special spoken in your best Attenborough voice.

21st September Stats

As the unusually warm summer draws to a close over the vast southern plains of London, preparations begin for the cooler months to come and the arduous task of the winter hibernation. The hot summer has taken its toll on the local wildlife with excessive energy wasted on frequent visits to watering holes, an extended mating season for some of the Bullfinches and prolonged summer migration for the lesser spotted ‘Bowen Great Bowerbird’.

A neighbouring migratory flock from the woodlands of Cheam pass through the southern plains in waves and according to physical superiority, the elite of the flock are the first to pass followed by the supposedly weaker of the flock in a second wave. It is this second wave of invasive species that the native animals fight for resources.

As the natives become aware of the onset of an apparent invasion of their territory, the affects of the long hot summer become apparent as they are slow to form a defence falling to a 0-5 first quarter loss.

High up in the jungle canopy the squawking siege is overseen by another migrater new to these plains, the Whistling Green Pigeon, who appears to be easily flustered by the apparent onset of danger. The slightest of movements from the Red Headed Woodpecker seem to perturb the green pigeon who repeatedly sends ear splitting whistles his way.

Awakened by the squawking and whistling furore, a response is mounted with two goals from the red headed woodpecker and the ever energetic Vine-Handed Gibbon. However a meagre attempt at best as the onslaught continues; 3-11 to the Cheam migraters at the halfway mark.

With local pride bruised and defence lines seemingly wasting away with the leaves on the jungle floor, pockets of resistance are mounted from the swift and agile ‘Bald Ukari’. Known for their peculiar excretion habits in the face of battle, the Bald Ukari dispatches a remarkably disguised pit flick to unsettle the visitors. Another strike from Ukari and the Red Headed Woodpecker, a mere formality to proceedings. 6-16 and defeat looked certain.

The exuberance of a juvenile Gouldian Finch, uses its majestically colourful plumage to both attract a mate and to confuse its prey with sudden movements. This is put to good effect as the juvenile finch launches a dart past a bamboozled defence. Perhaps also a demonstration of courtship and coming of age to impress an onlooking female finch.

The increasingly flustered Whistling Green Pigeon could not resist further squawking at the typically aggressive Holah and Weeble Tailed Macaques with two expulsions a piece. A feeble attempt all round finishes 8-24. The pin point accuracy from the migraters proved too much for the White Headed Winterbotham Capuchin. As the Autumn leaves fall in the South London plains, the natives lick their wounds and plan their own migration to the Northern Atlantic archipelago of the Portuguese Azores.

MoM – Dan for this 50% goal contribution
Moment – Floater for a neatly dispatched pit flick
Fluffer – Almost uncontested and unanimously awarded to Gamble for his row Z attempt. Pretty much everyone off to Portugal for crap passing, attack and defence.

Achtung Polo!

Guten Tag meine Polo Friends. Zer Report on der Wasserpolo matchen gegen Zer enemy Croydon from our very own Deutsch correspondent, Herr Floater von Pooheim

So jetzt gehts loss.

September 7th Stats

Erste Quarter. Narwhalz on ze rampage. Some superb schitzenshooting on zer goalen from ‘Holzschieser’ Rob, Frau Weinhände und Herr Ginger macht das 5-5. Being zer Team with all zer cunning, we had one Scheissrichter pfifenblower who was a secret spy for das Narwhalwasserpolomanschaftgesselschaft. Er blowed sein whistle, aber ze other really Scheisenrichter blowed in zer other way. All zer time. Croydon must have offered zis dummkopf more Bratwursts as payment that ve could. Scheisse!

Zweite Quarter. Nicht gut. Wenig goalen, viel scheisse shooting und splish-splashing ohne result. Zer zer schlecht. Scheiss wasserpolo game. Narwhals sinking faster zen zer Bismark.

Dritte Quarter. Sehr sehr gut. Frau Weinhände und Herr Gimli von Weeble mit goalen, mit zwei Tore von Herr F v P macht viel better scoreline. Jetzt sind wir nearly level. Achtung Narwhali – jetzt kommen wir!

Vierte Quarter. Also gut. But nicht gut enough. Herr Ginger und Frau Weinhände again viele schitzenshooting mit goalen und swimming. Stephan der Puncher mit eine toppenpunch in der letzten minute – Croydon now only mit sex. Sorry, sechs. Aber nicht mehr Goalen von Narwhali, und some mehr other goalen von scheiss other manschafteam. Eine minute von very very Kackscheissspeielen von Finchy, Graf von Babymachen – nicht again bitte!

We haben verlohren 20-16. Aber – sehr gut playing, viel wasserpologoalen und splishen splashen.

Frau des Matches: Frau Weinhände
Moment des Matches: Herr Holzschieser with ein Tor das very gut wahr. Herr F v P also shooten a gut goalen.
Fluffer: Bren ‘der angryman’ Heath mit zwei disallowed goalen und sehr viel arguing und general dirty spielen.

Danke. Aus.

Forza Narwhali

One bottle of wine, One glass Club

Several Wednesdays ago, the Narwhals played Sutton and Cheam 2’s at Whitgift in a London League match up to add excitement and intrigue to the usually empty water polo month of August. This report was intended to be written at the time, but like a fine wine we can only hope it improves with age. Our regular report writer has spent the last 2 weeks sampling France’s finest reds, whites and fizz, so we shall consider the game as a wine tasting experience for you, our global fanbase.

August 30th Stats

There is a gentle start to our gastronomic voyage of discovery, a smooth, light Pinot Noir from somewhere in South America. Jut as the fruity notes of cherries, raspberries and strawberries offer a perfect but distinct contrast to the vanilla middle, the Narwhals were, in stark contrast to Sutton, informed of the correct start time of 9pm due to school holidays. We were optimistic of our chances when, at 9:10, we enjoyed a distinct advantage in manpower of 10 to zero. Alas this pinot noir had a bitter finish, as where one would expect a smooth rounded palate, the opposition duly turned up.

For those of you not so well versed in wine appreciation, there are 5 main elements to a wine’s profile: acid, alcohol, sugar, tannin and water.  While the Narwhals might claim to be experts in the water (and almost certainly the alcohol), a fine wine requires that all 5 elements come together in harmony to form a well-balanced taste. The next glass on our tasting card is a French Bordeaux red. Specifically Chateau Norbert, 2018 vintage. An evenly balanced wine (specifically 1-1 after 6 minutes of the first quarter thanks to a fine goal off the arc from Phil), fragrant and ripe in character, but this particular offering had perhaps been corked as the finish was sharp and not to the Narwhals taste – a generally stoical and well organised defence found Sutton’s combination of strong pit and accurate outside shooters too much and fell to 2-4 by the quarter end. One diamond in the rough of this forgettable wine was a particularly handsome goal from Dan, ghosting off his defender at the back post to catch a lofted pass and convert into the back of the net.

Moving on from the Chateau Norbert with a shattered reputation and tastes of bitter disappointment we come to a pleasant surprise. We next travel to Georgia, to sample their signature red, a piercing and punchy Saperavi. The Georgian traditional grape, grown in clay soils on the terraced vineyards of the Kakheti region, is the upstart of European reds, and its high acidity and phenolity give it a razor sharp edge, with a sweet finish. This is the Narwhals second quarter, a fine comeback (albeit from a familiar source with Dan scoring twice in much the same manner as his excellent first quarter effort) meant the Narwhals drew within 1 goal at the half, a well poised contest at 4-5.

We enter the second half of our tasting in a similar vein with balance of acidity and body being the order of the day. A hearty Argentinian Malbec of a struggle awaits us in the third quarter, with hints of plum and chocolate. A strong full bodied contest, with quality pit defence and disciplined drop in equal measure held a challenging Sutton team to just 2 goals, with the Narwhals answering with 2 of their own from Dan and Nick. The finest of these two was Nick’s long range bounce shot, combined with the hearty punch of 2 Gamble majors formed a strong middle to this well apportioned offering. 6-7 after 3.

4 wines in already, and the Narwhals are starting to feel the effects of a long evening’s tasting. Perhaps it’s the alcohol causing a haze to set in, or perhaps its just that August holidays have meant leisurely drinking as opposed to effective training for such a wine tasting challenge. Either way, as giggles appear and chairs are fallen off, the pickled Narwhals had put up a strong fight, but now needed an Uber home while trying not to vomit over Pietr in his Prius. There was a final goal for Nick, and a rare Gamble special, but these 2 goals did not make up for a tired defence cracking and 5 Sutton goals finishing the game off to a disappointing 8-12 final score.

Hungover reflections would see this experience as a tale of excellent defence only tiring at the final hurdle, and some good individual moments in attack not quite making up for a lack of effective attack from set play.

Man of the match this week goes to Dan, for 4 well taken goals (almost all of them at the back post). Moment also goes to Dan, for the second goal of the contest, the aforementioned perfectly placed lofted pass to the back post with a strong break and a great finish. Fluffer this week was Matt, who succeeded in letting in a 12m shot just as the quarter expired in truly embarrassing style. 5 Narwhals head to Portugal this week, Oggy, Chris Mann, Zach, Tim and Rob will all be hoping for more success against the Amphibs next week.

Until then, Cheers! And Forza Narwhali!