Littlehampton vs. Bognor Barracudas Match 3– Sussex Mini Water Polo League 13 & Under
Venue: Wadurs Swimming Pool, Shoreham-by-sea
7.10pm Swim Off
Halligan Hits Littlehampton For Four!
With the spring equinox upon us, the Drenched Mini Water Polo league entered its third round of games and what a game it turned out to be. The West Sussex derby saw Littlehampton Tigersharks take on Bognor Barracudas at the home of Sussex Mini Water Polo, Wadurs.
Coach Gray’s side, buoyed by their debut win versus Shoreham, started the stronger. Florence Waite-Jones powered up the right wing, cut inside and fired a quick shot in the goal to make it 1-0.
More goals were to follow, this time from Hope Waite-Jones, bringing Littlehampton into a 3-0 lead. Littlehampton’s Tom Crane kept net admirably and made a number of fine saves to keep Bognor at bay – but the number of shots Bognor fashioned gave them confidence the game was not beyond rescue. The quarter ended 3-1 to Littlehampton.
The second quarter started at lightning speed, Bognor tried to recover from the first period and played a high press up the pitch. This led to success and Bognor won the ball back a number of times and hit Littlehampton on the counter attack. Owen Halligan proved to be the cause of Bognor’s issues, his powerful swims and finishes were amongst four goals without response. Bognor’s Tristan Roderick and Lucy Abbott also contributed to the haul. The second quarter ended 5-3.
Quarter three was a tight affair. Littlehampton struggled to make the most of their counter attacks and Jack Lee made a number of crucial interceptions. At the other end Crane made a number of saves to keep Littlehampton within touching distance. It looked as though it would stay 5-3, until probably the best attacking move of the game. Florence Waite-Jones went on another powerful swim up the right, appearing to churn out the Bognor defenders in her wake, she then showed great game awareness to find Lily Dalimore at the far post who made no mistake in pulling one back for Littlehampton. 5-4.
This set the game up for a pulsating final quarter and the crowd was on tender hooks.
The final quarter started well for Bognor, playing well on the counter attack. Abbott scored again and debutant Callum Dwyer also found the net with a cool close range finish. This mean that Bognor moved into a seemingly unassailable 7-4 lead, but Littlehampton weren’t finished yet.
Two quick-fire goals from the Waite-Jones sisters pulled the game back to within a goal. 7-6.
Then, perhaps the defining moment of the game, Jack Lee was hauled back by the head whilst through on goal and referee Hardinge, without the benefit of VAR, was given no choice but to award league’s first penalty. Jack placed his hat back on (and his head), brushed himself off and confidently fired home the penalty much to the delight of the crowd. 8-6.
Littlehampton still weren’t finished. With probably the best individual effort of the game Hope-Waite-Jones launched a thunderbolt from downtown that went through the goal keeper and almost through the net! To bring it back to 8-7 with about one minute to go. With the clock running down there was still time for a great Henry Priest save to maintain the Bognor lead and finally Halligan rounded off victory with a close range finish. Littlehampton Goalkeeper Izzy Cooke made a fantastic double handed point blank save, only for Halligan to score the rebound. “Where were all the defenders?” Izzy asked Coach White after the game…
All in all it was a fantastic and close game. All the children have improved since their first game and the actual pace of the game was very encouraging. Well done all!
Littlehampton Tigersharks (7)
Goals – H. Waite-Jones (4), F. Waite-Jones (2) L. Dalimore
Bognor Barracudas (9)
Goals – O.Halligan (4) T. Roderick (2) L.Abbott (2) C.Dwyer