This week’s match report courtesy of Rob “High and Wide” Loveless. Has he “hit the target” with his writing? You be the judge…
Tales of the Deep:
The odyssey of the Narwhal horde continues as our intrepid knights of the cool waters headed into the unknown pastures of Walton upon Thames to face another battle. Some compared the battlefield for this bout to the borderline watchable 1999 Renny Harlin thriller “Deep Blue Sea”. More vigilant observers pointed out that this pool was neither deep nor blue, and really wasn’t very close to the sea. 2 shallow ends in fact proved a novelty for Narwhal and observer alike. Genetically modified sharks were nowhere to be seen, but in their place the formidable Blue Marlin stood in the Narwhals way. The game started much as a trip to the fabled Elmbridge Xcel centre often does, with 14 brave souls splashing about in the shallows waiting for something resembling Water Polo to happen.
“Standing” cried the Narwhal travelling support. “Set up the arc”, “Do something!”. The horde responded to such criticism initially with a resilience unseen before as they avoided anything resembling attacking play. The horde’s defence is where their strength lies, although sadly those championships that many suggest are won on the basis of defence do not appear to include the London or Thameside Water Polo Leagues…
Finally, mid way through the first quarter one Narwhal rose above the rest, and following 3 outstanding assists (which never seem to get credited?), Dan had scored a hat-trick. Attacking the deeper of two shallow ends appeared to suit the Narwhals. A further man up goal from Holah completed the quarter’s attack, but as the spoils appeared plentiful the defence lost concentration and allowed 3 goals in return.
The second quarter proved as memorable as 2003’s suspenseful bore-fest “Open Water”, to the point where I remember 3 things. Dan scored a second hat-trick, Ed got his first major, and we conceded only once. Evidently defending the deeper shallow end was also to our taste.
After the customary rousing team talk from Dan (“I know no-one wants to be here but lets not lose”), the third quarter began. At this stage Dan would then go to sleep for the remainder of the game and allow Nick to come to the fore as the Narwhals attacking threat. A fine goal off the right flank for Charles and a particularly well worked lobbed goal under pressure from Nick both gained votes for Moment of the Match, but that crown was to be grabbed with both hands, and the head, by Gamble.
Valiantly defending the pit against a man twice his size (difficult I know…), the referees called major as he battled to regain the ball. He dutifully swam to the corner, not anticipating that the Marlin sharpshooters would prove sharper than usual. The shot cannoned off the back of Gamble’s head, he was felt to be interfering with play (it remains unclear whether he had any idea of what was going on, or any lasting memory of the event), and a third and final major was awarded. Wrapped. Disgraced. Wobble. He earned moment of the match for his troubles.
By the fourth quarter the game was well in hand, and Nick continued his scoring escapades. This was in stark contrast to Rob, who continued to push the realms of possibility with shots further and further off target in spite of considerably larger goals than usual. One particular effort was so far high and right that landings at Heathrow were temporarily diverted to avert disaster. Shooting practice prescribed, he wraps up Fluffer for another week, extending his streak to 2.
The final score was 19-7 to the Narwhals who returned victorious to deeper waters. Man of the match was awarded to Dan for his 7 goal haul, with special mentions to Nick and Chris Mann in attack and Andy W in goal who made several good saves. No trips to Portugal this week, although Zach’s last quarter major has warranted referral to the DMC, considered very dubious. The Narwhal undefeated run of 2018 survives, as they await their next challengers.