The Police returned to the excellent 50m pool at Aldershot for this annual fixture and with the Civil Service promising to bring their strongest team for a number of years, the tournament was no longer the two-horse-race it had been in recent times. The Civil Service vs the Combined Services Sports Association (CSSA) was the first match, and a cracking game it was.
The Civil Service were superb for the first three quarters and started the finale of the match a goal up on a strong CSSA side. With less than 2 minutes remaining they still had their noses in front, but suddenly the team imploded allowing the CSSA to score 3 goals without reply! The best team appeared to have lost, but it certainly helped to concentrate the minds of the Police team who were to play the Civil Service the following morning in match 2.
Match 2 got underway in usual fashion for the Police, conceding silly early goals due to rarely having the opportunity to play together. Fortunately that was where the poor performance ended, and within a couple of minutes of the game starting the Police hit full pace, stretching into a comfortable lead which at times flattered them as the Civil Service played some good polo. By half time the Police we several goals clear and could afford to play some creative relaxed polo, and they continued to stretch their lead with the Civil side struggling to get the ball in the back of the net.
Despite a lack of concentration for the last few minutes, the Police wrapped the match up 16-5.
The above scoreline would suggest that the match against the CSSA would be a formality, however 2 full games in the space of 3 hrs for an aging Police side is always unpredictablem, and match 3 for the first half at least was a disaster.
CSSA played some good polo, with every shot seemingly finding the back of the net whilst the Police struggled to even create chances. At half time the CSSA had already all but won this encounter, going in 12-4 to the good.
In the second half, the Police were a different side thanks to Coach Lee COOK's half-time team talk. With minds focused and pride to play for, the Police came out flying and actually took the second half of the game 6-3, making the final score 15-10 to the CSSA.
Against a weaker side the game might have been saved, but the CSSA never panicked and continued to play their game solidly, nicking goals back every time the Police seemed to be really narrowing the scoreline. Massive credit goes to them for the manner of both of their wins to take the Water Polo side of the Triangular Tournament.