PSUK Championships 2010 (WP)

The annual championship was held for the third year running on a league basis, with some very close and exciting games once again being contested.

On paper the three teams contesting the podium places would be last year’s winners Metropolitan, West Midlands who have been undefeated for three years and lost last year on goal difference, and North West who have won the championship many times in recent years. However a fast improving South West side and a strong Nomads side (who don’t count in the league) ensured the competition wouldn’t be quite so straight forward.
On day one Metropolitan opened up with a good win over the battling South West, West Midlands made a solid start with an easy win over the Nomads, as did North West against Scotland.

The clash between the South West and the Nomads was game of the day, with both sides battling hard throughout a very exciting encounter that ended even at 6 – 6.

Day one’s most important match was between West Midlands and North West, with the victor remaining in a position to challenge for the overall championship title. Despite West Midlands having a stronger side than in recent years, they were no match for their northern rivals, with North West taking an easy victory 7 – 4. Even with a relatively close score line, the North West dominated the match with excellent performances from GB Police captain Steve Davidson (GMP) and ex-GB International Alistair Buckley (Merseyside).

Other wins on day one went to Metropolitan against Scotland and Metropolitan against the Nomads.

Day two opened with North West cruising to a big win over South West and West Midlands having a similar result against Scotland. Things weren’t quite so easy for North West against the Nomads, with the northerners coming out victors at 7 -5 in a very close match.

Scotland versus South West was another close match, and despite Scotland having a weakened team the southerners struggled to cope with the attacking strength of Andy Gilhooly and Roddy Hardy (both Lothian and Borders) at times during the match. South West pulled through for an eventual 8 – 5 victory, with Alex Spratt (Hampshire) and Steve Langman (Devon and Cornwall) scoring several times each.

The first key match of the day in terms of overall position came between Metropolitan and West Midlands. The Midlanders could, at a long shot, still win the title with a win dependant on other results, whilst a win for Metropolitan would ensure that the final match of the day against North West would be for the championship.

Metropolitan got into an early lead, with the Midlanders struggling to get back into the match. Excellent performances from Paul Anjos, Jon Hilliger and new player Hadley Potter ensured an easy win 8 – 4.

Scotland versus the Nomads was another excellent game, with the points shared at 6 – 6 and West Midlands secured third place overall with a hard fought win against South West.

The championship therefore came down to the final match between North West and Metropolitan. The match was neck and neck all the way through, with Metropolitan creating a two goal cushion late in the second half, and the Metropolitan’s two goal keepers enjoying more look between the posts than their northern counterpart. At the final whistle, Metropolitan were the victors at 8 – 6 and took the title for the second year running.

The Russ Sinton trophy is awarded to the player or coach whose contribution to PSUK Water Polo has stood out during their involvement at any level within the sport, and is decided by the opinions of coaches and players of each of the competing teams.

This year’s winner was current GB Police team captain Stephen “Taff” Davidson (GMP). Stephen has been ever present at both the PSUK Championships and GB Police fixtures for nearly two decades, has been top scorer in the championships on numerous occasions and continues to be one of PSUK’s strongest and most committed players.

Championship result:

1st – Metropolitan  2nd – North West  3rd – West Midlands  4th – South West  5th – Scotland

Russ Sinton Trophy

Stephen Davidson (GMP)

Match Results

Saturday 17th April 2010

Metropolitan 9 v South West 4

West Midlands 9 v Nomads 4

North West 15 v Scotland 5

South West 6 v Nomads 6

Scotland 3 v Metropolitan 16

North West 7 v West Midlands 4

Nomads 5 v Metropolitan 7

Sunday 18th April 2010

South West 3 v North West 11

Scotland 2 v West Midlands 9

Nomads 5 v North West 7

Scotland 5 v South West 8

Metropolitan 8 v West Midlands 4

Scotland 6 v Nomads 6

West Midlands 6 v South West 4

North West 6 v Metropolitan 8