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Roses 2017 spotlight: women’s water polo

Scenes from the final quarter of the match.
Scenes from the final quarter of the match.

In the last Roses 2017 event at the York Sport Village tonight, the women’s water polo team from the University of York Swimming & Water Polo Club took on their counterparts from Lancaster University. Though victory belonged to the visitors, York showed their sporting excellence in the water and should go away feeling proud.

York’s team faced challenges before even entering the pool. A few of the UYSWC players, including their captain and goalkeeper Fran Falcini, had sustained injuries prior to Roses 2017. Furthermore, rumour had it that Lancaster’s team included new players who were already of a national competition standard. Having failed to trump the visitors in the water thus far, York’s women needed to win a victory for the white rose tonight.

In the first quarter, Lancaster could not penetrate York’s defense. Numerous challenges were seen off by York’s defenders, notably Beth Richards who blocked many a goal. With their goals safe, York took the fight to Lancaster’s side of the pool. The visitors tried their best to deter York’s challengers – York’s Jenny Worrall was at one point locked in a Lancastrian’s grapple and held face-down in the water – but York went on to end the first quarter with two goals against Lancaster’s none.

Lancaster struck back in the second quarter, bringing the score to 4-4 before half time. The third quarter was tough for both sides, each scoring a goal. A brief break to address a Lancastrian’s nosebleed gave the players a breather.

UYSWC's team gathers in a match break.
UYSWC’s team gathers in a match break.

Then came the final quarter and with it Lancaster’s final assault. Taking the lead with eight goals to six, Lancaster appeared the victors. The commentators, both from UYSWC, one being its President, broke into emotional, Churchillian rhetoric, promising listeners that York would continue fighting until the very end. For a moment a recovery seemed possible, but in the last minute of the match, York had two goals to score to secure a draw. Unfortunately, those two goals went to Lancaster, finalising the game’s score at 11-7.

UYSWC’s ladies faced plenty of obstacles in this match but fought valiantly to try and earn a win for the home side. Fran Falcini and her defenders stopped a number of goals in the shallow end, but when York held the deep end, things just didn’t go their way.

With Lancastrian victories in the swimming and men’s water polo earlier today, it seems that Roses 2017’s duel in the pool was theirs. However, will Lancaster’s pool victories help a victory for the red rose? Apparently not, York won with 206.5 points against Lancaster’s 159.5, the largest margin of the 2017 competition so far.