Going into the final game before Christmas, everything was going so well for the Glasgow uni Men’s Water Polo team. They had qualified for the next round of the cup and had won all their league games. Then along came Dundee. The two teams battled out a huge game that Glasgow were leading going into the final quarter, but let slip as Dundee won that game 12-11.
First game after Christmas threw up a rematch in the cup, Glasgow travelled to Dundee with a weakened team and despite playing better than the previous game, lost 13-11.
Glasgow made amends, winning their remaining league games while Dundee let slip a poor result meaning that both teams were on 24 points.
Fast forward to the 7th March and the scene is set perfectly for the last game of the season, as Glasgow travel to Dundee on level points, for a winner takes all clash of the titans. An away win, would mean Glasgow win the league outright. Given how tight the previous games had been, Glasgow knew this was going to be a game of fine margins and prepared extensively on how best to keep the hosts from scoring.
Cheered on by a full bus load of noisy Glasgow supporters, the atmosphere on poolside was electric. As the teams lined up for the swim off it was hard to hear the referees whistle as the game started at a frantic pace. The first quarter was dominated by superb defence from both teams, as neither could take advantage of exclusions as both keepers Glasgow’s plan of containing Dundee’s main threat was working well, but was hindering their attack. However with the last attack of the quarter the black and gold’s set up Mannix O’Boyle who faked cleverly, and shot into the near corner, giving Glasgow a 1-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter continued at a fast pace, and Glasgow worked Graeme O’Flannagain into space at the deep end who scored making it 2-0. Dundee got on the score sheet soon after that goal, and then took advantage as Glasgow were down to 6 men for an exclusion to equalise. They then scored again to go into the lead for the first time, making it 3-2. A Rob Slater goal from the right wing brought it back to 3-3 at half time.
Some serious words were spoken at half time, along the lines of this is our night, and we will not lose. It had the desired effect as tight defence, great saves by keeper Greg Carr and goals from Rob Slater and Oli Coombs took Glasgow into the final quarter leading 5-3. The Glasgow supporters, including GUSA president Stu Law, were doing a fantastic job of making it feel like a home match for Glasgow, as they shouted, sang and screamed their encouragement.
Final quarter: Dundee scored the first goal of the quarter, but this was cancelled out in the next attack by another (air)Mannix special making it 6-4. With a little under two minutes remaining Dundee cranked up the pressure with another goal bringing it to 6-5 to Glasgow. Dundee only needed a draw to win the league and threw everything at Glasgow in the last seconds, but the defence held firm, and a second Graeme O’Flannagain goal with forty seconds left sealed the game for Glasgow, who held on to win 7-5. The crowd went wild at the final whistle, and as the teams shook hands, everyone could agree that it was a special night for University sport, and for the Glasgow Uni men’s Water Polo team, at last, on the final game, Scottish 1a League Champions, 2013/14.
- Greg Carr
- Soma Molnar
- Tom Gebbie
- Edward Mallinson
- Ibrahim Kraria
- George Hall
- Rob Slater
- Graeme O’Flannagain
- Alex Zegart
- Mannix O’Boyle
- James Pulham
- Oli Coombs
- Sean Kelly (captain)
By Sean Kelly