Wednesday 13th September saw the Narwhals take to the pool for the first proper game in about 2 months. As you can probably guess, we had all been training really hard over the summer, with a pre-season victory over a group of 17yr olds filling us with false optimism that we were “alright”. If the realisation that we were incredibly unfit and out of practise hadn’t caused some doubts, the promise that Matt “one minute special” Finch would be returning to an out-field position sucked away any of our remaining confidence.
We took to the pool against a 12-strong Chelmsford side. Elder team members continued to reminisce about a game about 20 years ago where there was a bit of a fight, but they were asked to actually focus on the game at hand… The first quarter started well, with the game at 1-1 after 6mins (and Ed Gamble scoring an awesome goal…). Sadly within the final minute we shipped 3 goals and finished the first 4-1 down. The second quarter was a physical affair but finished 3-3 – no majors to be seen and Oggy grabbing a brace. After 14 minutes of polo, Matt “inhaler” Finch was yet to make his mark on the game. Little did we know he was saving himself for the 2nd half…
Rob “right post” Loveless grabbed himself 2 goals in the 3rd quarter – the pick of those being a delightful left-handed back shot from 7m. Sadly, our fitness (or lack of it) was starting to show and Chelmsford began to break off us; 11-6 at the end of the quarter. At the start of the 4th we held our own for a full 2.30 minutes. A brief burst of energy let us keep up with the Chelmsford swimmers and keep the score as it was. We even managed an attack or two. It was during one of these attacks that suddenly the whistle went – holding the ball I expectantly looked at the pit hoping for a man up… how wrong I was.
To my dismay, the referee was pointing towards the top of our arc and a floundering (flouncing) Matt Finch. With three shrill blasts, he was excluded and wrapped. No more polo for Matthew. It turns out Matt had been “punched” by an 18yr old. He was then caught punching him back. Not only did he lose that fight, he also picks up fluffer… (unanimously).
The final score was 15-7. For our lack of match practise it wasn’t a terrible result, but it could have been better. Man of the match went to Rob “left hand” Loveless for his 3 goals whilst moment was shared between Rob and Ed “2m slap shot” Gamble. Race is on for Most Magic Moments!!
Special shout out to Andy Winterbotham who has returned to the club after a 5yr hiatus. It is a shame his return has meant Finchy has to come out field, but he did make some good saves – so welcome back.
Tadija, Gary and Zac are still missing in Portugal. Their next of kin have asked us to call off the search.
Until next time – Forza Narwhali!!