Oxford Town vs Gown water polo matches are the highlight of the social calendar in Trinity Term.
The Men's 1st team dominated their match, winning comfortably. Their star goalie, Luca Rottoli was even able to make his debut outfield proving that he is a man of many talents.
The women's team faced fierce competition in an extremely close match. Oxford City just clinched the win in what proved to be a very physical match.
The Men's 2nd team showed why they were crowned Varsity Champions in an excellent display of water polo. The women's team came out en masse to support the men and the whole club celebrated the men's 2nds victory with trip to Vinnie's.
Final score: 7-6 to Oxford
The build up was over, the whistle blew to start the Women’s 2018 Varsity match. The girls exploded into a sprint for the ball. Reached first by our own Charlotte Newman, the ball was flicked back to Oxford to begin the first attack in their possession. In a matter of seconds the ball was stolen by Cambridge, who then proceeded to counter down the pool, taking Oxford with them. Oxford’s defence pressed tight, it was clear already that the strength of both teams was a close match. Just 21 seconds into the game Oxford committed a major foul, leaving Cambridge in an un-ideal man-up. The tabs didn't waste this advantage — Oxford’s strong and intelligent defence didn't quite cut it, and the first goal of the match was scored by Cambridge Captain Ella Erwin.
39 seconds down on the clock. 1-0 to Cambridge. The crowd was screaming for Oxford. The next 8 or so attacks from both teams ended with a sharp steal, a near miss of the goal, or, for Cambridge, usually a powerful save by Oxford’s unbelievable goalkeeper Alice Fisher. With less than two minutes left of the first quarter, Anna Szyszko drops the ball into pit where it’s grabbed by Captain Lucy Wright who scores a flawless back-shot. 1-1, the game is equalised and the first quarter is over.
Not long into the second quarter, Oxford’s Ruby Sedgwick makes a drive towards the goal with the ball, picks it up and smashes it into the back of the net. The crowd goes wild, cheers travel from all directions, Oxford had finally gained the advantage they wanted. However, Cambridge soon sprung back into action, scoring another goal, this time with even players, making the score 2-2. Again, it was clear this was going to be a close game… or was it? Halfway through the second quarter, Anna Szyszko scores a powerful goal for Oxford. Excitement fills the room: the team, the crowd and even the lifeguards are cheering at the top of their voices. On the next attack Oxford quickly steal the ball and Emmie Mediate gives her everything in a counter attack. Finding herself without a defender, she received an unbelievably long pass from the other side of the pool and in one smooth motion slammed it past the Cambridge goalie and into the net. Then, the next attack for Cambridge is stolen again by the Oxford powerhouses. The arc was set up, the press by Cambridge was aggressive, tight and strong but this was never going to stop Emmie from scoring another goal against the Tabs.
An incredible plethora of goals in the second quarter meant the blues finished the first half of the Varsity match 5-2 up.
Cambridge’s first attack in the third quarter was cut brutally short by a tackle from Charlotte Newman. Charlotte sprinted with the ball away from every nearby tab, calmly faked a shot at the goal as defenders approached, and scored. The game became heated and Cambridge scored a goal on their next attack. But, in no time at all a strong and smooth goal from Lulu Vulpe-Albari took Oxford up to a fierce 7-3.
The fast-paced, aggressive match began to take its toll on the blues. Cambridge scored three more goals, bringing the score to a very tight 7-6. Oxford still had the lead, but with more than two minutes left on the clock, the Varsity win was still very much up for grabs for both teams. With 60 seconds left, and no more goals, Oxford’s coach, Dom McLoughlin called a timeout. They talk tactics for slowing down the game and holding procession of the ball for as long as possible. They focus on a strong defence and a safe attack. The teams swim back out as the mental and physical intensity of the game reaches its climax. The whistle blows, 60 seconds began to race down on the clock. Captain Lucy Wright and Vice Jodie White pass the ball between them on the right wing under Dom’s instruction for the last 20 seconds, Cambridge frantically trying to steal.
In what felt like a fraction of a second, the timer buzzes. No goals had been scored. The game was over. Champions Oxford cheered with excitement, Dom and the team on the bench leapt into the pool. The blues held each other in the water, jumping and splashing with overwhelming joy.
Oxford take the win for the first ever women’s finale. A historical moment for both teams, and an unforgettable achievement for the Oxford women.
Final score: 13-13, Oxford won on penalties
The Oxford team carried a lot of momentum into this year’s Varsity match, having recently secured 1st place in the BUCs Premier South, and were aiming to secure a successful season by reclaiming the trophy after last year’s defeat in Cambridge. There were many returning faces from the previous year including Joe Ortiz, Seh Woon Neo, Dominic McLoughlin and keeper Luca Rottoli, however four players as well as new coach Petar Momcilovic were playing in their first varsity.
The game began with an exchange of goals from both sides that would set the precedent for the entire game. Cambridge came out with a very high press, however Seh Woon Neo would present an unsolvable issue playing in the hole for Oxford, scoring two in the first quarter while new addition Richard O’Halloran fired in from the outside of the arc. Cambridge were equal to Oxford for most of the quarter however and even went into the break ahead 4-3 due to some strong outside shooting.
The next two quarters followed this pattern, with neither team able to open up more than a single goal’s lead. Joe Ortiz kept the Cambridge pit attack quiet and even contributed a goal of his own in the second, however Cambridge continued to find success from the outside. At the other end of the pool Neo and Richard continued to work as one-two punch in attack with Neo piling on four goals and Richard a further two. By the third quarter Neo and fresher Saul Blankstone’s work in pit attack had begun to tell with the major count leaning heavily in Oxford’s favour, creating further opportunities for Oxford chances as Josh Silverbeck and Richard looked to connect during the man up periods.
Despite the fourth quarter seeing two Cambridge players wrapped, the Tabs opened up the first two goal lead of the game at 13-11 with 2:30 left on the clock. An intense passage of play saw several successful Oxford steals leading to a man up goal for Richard and an equalising goal with 30 seconds left to play from Neo and even a narrowly missed chance in the dying seconds for Oxford to seal the game. The final score was 13-13, however in a break from tradition the captains decided to finish the game with a penalty shootout. Mention should also be given to Gianfranco Messina, Nick Corbett and Patrick Isaacs all of whom made major contributions off the bench and, as they had all season, proved the depth of the squad and allowed for the Oxford team to wear down Cambridge.
Varsity hero Luca Rottoli (who would then go on to save two penalties in Oxford’s semi-final game vs Durham) saved two of the Cambridge penalties while Joe Ortiz, Richard O’Halloran, Freddie North and Seh Woon Neo all scored - securing the win for Oxford.
This win and the following run to the BUCs championship semi finals capped off a fantastic season for the team which secured full blues for the first time this decade. A major thanks should go to coach Petar Momcilovic who has had a massive influence on all our games (due to his calm and reassuring demeanour) and is due most of the credit for the team’s success.
Men's 2nds Match report: Final score 9-3 to Oxford
Some of the greatest film series have been ruined by a third film: Godfather III, Matrix Revolutions and of course Shrek III, so there was understandable trepidation when Oxford 2s faced off against Cambridge 2s for the third and final time for the 2017-18 season, the two previous league wins like a cryptocurrency in an internet-free zone: useless.
As the match approached, the tension lay heavy in the air, like a writer heavy-handedly forcing tension into a scenario. One man felt no such pressure, as he eased Oxford into the lead just 18 seconds into the match, Jonner Donner-Wittkopf expertly spinning his man and beating the ‘keeper. He was joined on the scorecard by Thomas Morcom, who doubled the Oxford lead going into the first rest period.
The relentless full-bath press of the Oxford, facilitated by a 6-man bench, combined with brilliant front-marking of the pit by Louis Waloschek and others, limited Cambridge to speculative shots from distance, and eased Oxford into a 5-1 lead at half time, goals coming from the two above-mentioned scorers and the mercurial Barclay Bram.
The third quarter was a far tighter affair, as after two Oxford goals to open the quarter, the dark blues attack was quelled by a strong Cambridge defence. The highlight of the quarter was a Hail-Mary by the Cambridge keeper to their cherry-picker, who was unmarked on the 8m, being intercepted by the Oxford keeper and Captain Jack Counsell, who flicked it back for an easy goal for Morcom. The quarter ended with the score 7-3, with Fergus O’Leary inked into the goal scoring ranks.
Oxford earlier in the season had let a 7-1 lead lapse into a narrow 8-7 win, so were very aware of Cambridge’s ability when the game breaks down to counter-attacks and counter-counters. With this in mind, the dark blues continued to dictate the play the way that had been bountiful for the previous three intervals; the full-press sealed as tightly as two of the flat Lego pieces on top of each other. The quarter was scoreless for the opening 5 minutes, and when Cambridge took a time out with 3 minutes remaining, only stupidity could allow a 5-goal swing. An Oxford man-up with 2.20 left was converted with aplomb by Bram, and then with 26 seconds remaining, Waloschek fired in his first to send the dark blues into rapturous applause and into the long night.
Final score 9-3 to Oxford. In the three years that this writer has played in the second team Varsity, Oxford has never been stronger than in 2018 and debatably the scoreline was flattering to Cambridge. It was the perfect apex to a great season, and I’ll leave you with a Wayne Gretzky quote. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”
Michaelango the Sistine Chapel, Nicola Salvi the Trevi fountain, OUWPC Women the Iffley Road Sports Complex; all great artists need their canvases for their magnus opus. The team continued their perfect run of form, with yet another win in the BUCS league. The first quarter was a tense affair, with goals from Emmie and Rosie, tempered by a Leicester goal. However, it was in the second quarter, that the dark blues began to pull away with Rosie finding the net again, along with Anna and Lulu, leading to a 5-3 lead at the halfway interval. The second half started as the first with more Oxford goals, and at the other end, an intensive defensive effort marshalled by ‘keeper Alice, and pit defence Anna strangling the supply to the pit attack. Going into the final quarter 7-5 up, the strong fitness and extensive bench of Oxford showed, with another 3 goals, including a brace from Soraya, to ease to a 10-6 win over Leicester. The counter-attacking improved over the match, with the wing-play strengthening, as to best utilise the excellent swimmer the team possesses. The team looks to continue its unbeaten run over to the Christmas vacation, and hopefully through Hilary, with Loughborough coming up in the next few weeks.
Oxford 2nds 17- 7 UEA
Just like the film crew of Blue Planet 2, Oxford Men’s Water Polo Second Team were back in the water; the millions of years of evolution giving them not the ability to live miles below the surface of the ocean, but the ability to play high level water polo in BUCS Midlands 2A. The team were looking to get into the winning ways of early season, after a close lose to Nottingam last week. There was a debut for Jorrit Donner-Wittkopf, who quickly opened his account with a first quarter goal, to take the team in 2-0 after the first period. The second quarter was a tighter affair, with the half whistle blowing at 5-3. The highlight was a delightful backshot by the debutant, and the full pool press was very successful, pushing UEA back out of shooting range, making the job far easier for deputising ‘keeper Rottoli.
This pressure, combined with excellent match fitness, began to show in the scoreline during the third quarter. Bram, Birch and Isaacs all scored in a fantastic team display, with the arc and pit looking strong, despite lack of usual pit attack due to injury. The team did struggle against man up, but good discipline limited the situations in which this was applicable. The fourth quarter was a true feat of strength, the 7 Oxford goals in no way flattering the team, as wet passes were better directed to avoid interception, and Oxford managed to keep the structure even as the game broke up. The final score 17-7. The second team look forward to the next match away at Leicester, a chance to win the prestigious M40 double.
1. Luca Rottoli
2. Calum Bradshaw
4. Ameen Chekroud
5. Barclay Bram
6. Stuart Birch
7. Alex Picksley
9. Patrick Isaacs
10. Tom Morcom
11. Fergus O’Leary
12. Joost Kimpel
13. Jorrit Donner-Wittkopf
Oxford 17- 1 Nottingham Trent
Oxford were off to a great start when Charlotte won the swim off (no surprise there). The first goal was a belter from Lulu after just over 20 seconds putting the team in front from the go ahead. The Dark Blues were strong in defense with Ashley in pit defense making a superb steal and Alice in goal proving why she is known as OUWPC’s best goalie with some fantastic saves.
Oxford looked dominant throughout the match with Lulu scoring 3 more goals, Hannah scoring a hat-trick and a number of goals from Ashley, Lucy, Charlotte and Ruby. Oxford improved on their man-down defense tactic since their last match. Nottingham Trent didn’t score a single goal from the 3 man-up’s they had across the match. The Dark Blues were held their own in defense against an aggressive team.
Trent seemed to fatigue in the third quarter and Oxford took advantage of this. Ruby, Anna and Ashley scored from a one on one shot against the goalie- the Trent players were no where to be seen. The Oxford girls dominated play and made some really strong and well calculated drives to score some excellent goals. Nottingham Trent’s goal came towards the end of the match but didn’t dent the score line as Oxford claimed a win with a goal difference 16 (apparently a magic number for the women).
Oxford 2s 29- University of Leicester Firsts
The season started as all seasons do, with the first game of the season, as Oxford 2s romped a 29-2 victory against University of Leicester Firsts. Oxford were playing an experimental side, with surely the one of the few times a GB player has played for the 2s. It was a mixture of the old names avid 2s know by heart, and a few faces raring to showcase their talent to the new coach.
The first goal of the new season was slotted in by Matt McLoughin after only 22 seconds, one of 7 goals for the prolific left-hander. He was quickly joined on the scoresheet by Luca Ameri, with a quick fire hattrick before the break; Oxford going in 8-0 after the quarter. The second quarter was largely more of the same, with Silverbeck and Waloschek grabbing their debut goals for the Dark Blues, though Leicester got a consolation before half time, going in 15-1.
The third quarter was probably Oxford’s strongest quarter, with the arc properly setting up, and the dominance continuing, with five more goals. In the final quarter, Oxford scored 9 more, Leicester one, as the play broke down into more counterattacking play, with the fatigued opposition suffering from a severely diminished bench.
Final score: Oxford 29-2 Leicester. The 2s hope to continue their goal fever in two weeks’ time against Nottingham, on the march to BUCS promotion, and – later – eternal fame.
Oxford 11-6 Cambridge
Some absolutely amazing work from the girls, especially considering this was their first match together and they were a goalie down!
The first half was just the team getting used to playing matches again, but by the second half they were on fire with our players holding their own in defence, Cambridge barely got a shot at the goal. Our counters were fantastic- everyone reacted fast to the whistle and swam down the other end of the pool to get a great advantage.
Excellent (and super strong) goals from Lulu, Rosie and Ruby. We can’t forget Charlotte’s double hat-trick! Really amazing drives from Char with the ball, the defenders were nowhere to be seen.
Unbelievable plays from Davina and Lavanya in their first ever water polo match! Well done to both of you, by the end you were sticking to your players and doing some really great passes. Lavanya was marking strongly on the arc, and Davina tackled the ball off a tab! #shoe
Soraya did an incredible job in goal in the shallow end. You made some really strong jumps and blocks, as well as grabbing the ball from pit attack. There was some really nice goal keeping from Emmie and Ashley as well, you both focused really well on the game play, always knowing where the ball was and judging the next pass round the arc.
Anna, your steals we’re incredible! There were so many times a Cambridge player comfortably had the ball and you would just claim it and sprint down the wing. After all that great defence work you didn’t even get a foul! Rosie you made some great calls with switching in and out of pit, this type of communication is really vita in a match.
Thank you to everyone who came, you all played incredibly! Special thanks to Emmie for the heavenly muffins! Cant wait for the rest of the season with such a strong team.
Pat and Saul are the Men's social secretaries.