Buoyed by not only the absence of Gimli, but also Dr ‘High and Wide and that’s just the passes’ Loveless, an eager and invigorated 9 Narwhals travelled up to New Malden to take on the might of Kingston II. All of this enthusiasm was knocked out of us in the car park when a certain referee was spotted, would the curse of Mr Lenkei strike our brave boys once more?
The initial omens were not great, Nick “Back to Black” Shute was going up and down the A3 for sh1ts and giggles and leaving us with 8 against an oppo with a full complement of 13. An inexperienced starting seven took to the water more in hope than anticipation….
With the Lenkeisation of the game somewhat mitigated by a second ‘competent’ referee the game quickly settled into a pattern. Kingston dominating possession (the lack of a shot clock helping them out here) but with little cutting edge and with the Narwhals countering efficiently. Two minutes in saw the Narwhals take the lead through a first time shot from Stef ‘New Boy’ Lombardo, this was closely followed by a Floater rocket and a typically well taken pit goal from Dan ‘Organisation’ Bedford. We would have had a clean sheet too if our illustrious keeper hadn’t been ‘distracted’ by some whimsy and let a speculative shot fly in without moving….
Nick blessed us with his presence for the second quarter having finally got bored of the delights the A3 has to offer and the Narwhals continued to dominate, all be it mostly without the ball. Defensively sound except from our awesome keeper yet again literally drifting off and being lobbed from distance, a couple of Dan specials and a Nick breakaway goal saw us 6 – 3 up at half time….
The third quarter, whilst attacking the deep end, saw our moment of the match. A mediocre ball into the pit was plucked from the water by Andy ‘The Scoutmaster’ Ogg and placed in the top corner of the Kingston goal in one motion. Our defence was yet again effective and tight and if our talented goal keeper hadn’t been busy organising our defence rather than watching the ball, Kingston wouldn’t have scored another speculative long range effort (anyone seeing a pattern here?)
The final quarter saw the Narwhals run away with it, a quick fire ‘perfect’ Nick hattrick (lob, near post & far post) coupled with another Floater screamer and a Dan pit goal saw the Narhwals run out 13 – 5 winners on the night. A highly satisfying victory in a pool where traditionally we have struggled with the shallow end, Lenkei reffing and Kingstons industrial physicality….
Man of the match was Dan for bossing it in the pit whilst also covering in defence and ploughing up and down the pool, very much an all round performance despite the five goals! Moment was Oggy’s excellent goal. Fluffer was not quite as unanimous as it might have been. Nick voted for himself for his A3 adventure, but despite that I managed to convincingly wrap up another fluffer on my quest to build a ‘unique’ DVD collection… Messers Young and Mann took an early summer holiday and we last seen enjoying the sites of the Doura valley….