Match Report – Watford 1st team v Croydon – London League Premier Division, Whitgift School 23rd July, 2018 – Match Report written by Mike Eggleton…
9 o’clock, and with just three Watford players poolside, it looked like I might have to don my Speedos to make up the numbers. Fortunately, Mrs Eggleton’s blushes were spared by the arrival of six players, who’d been outside, taking in the last rays of sun.
Team: Cameron Baker, Danny Davis, Will Eggleton, Andy Holt, Jack Pickford, Peter Pickford, Tanner Regan, Luke Rogers, George Sadler- Team Coach Steve Chambers.
Croydon got off to a good start, with their pitman giving them an early lead, despite the close attentions of two Watford players. It already looked like another home win would be on the cards. But a quickly executed man-up saw Andy Holt restore parity. Then Danny Davis, holding his own in the Croydon pit, coolly picked his spot to give Watford an early 1-2 lead. Watford attacked with gusto, putting Croydon under pressure. But with just two subs, would this early burst of energy cost us dear later in the game?
With the Croydon pitman slow to return to defensive duties, Watford exploited their strength in attack, with Cameron Baker picking out Will Eggleton, who drilled in our third goal from 6m out.
How different a match can be when you have two quality, impartial referees. Ref Michael Choo was doing a great job blunting a Croydon attack, which relied heavily on physicality towards our defence. Back in attack a sublime pass from Baker set up Jack Pickford to tap in from close range with just two seconds left on the quarter, giving us a comfortable 1-4 lead.
Croydon started the second quarter in more determined style, but George Sadler soon set up Baker for his own close-range goal. 1-5. A more determined Croydon attack was thwarted again and again by a series of great reaction saves from Peter Pickford.
And then the old guard delivered a water polo masterclass. With Davis acting as a second pit, pitman Holt drew in two defenders, flicked the ball across to his wingman, who was left with an open goal to fill. Quality stuff. 1-6.
Watford then let Croydon off the hook, allowing them back into the game, with some lapses in concentration allowing them to claw their way back to 3-6.
The old boys got us back on track right at the start of the third quarter, with Davis passing to Holt, who whipped in a snappy backflick from pit to bring it to 3-7. Peter continued to defy the Croydon attack, dominating the final two metres, but one long shot finally found its way through his defences. Another Peter save from close range fell to Holt, who delivered a full-length pass with pinpoint precision to a countering Eggleton, who brought it back to 4-8.
Tanner Regan then picked out Jack on 2m for his second tap-in goal, extending the lead to 4-9. On yet another Watford attack, Baker picked out Eggleton free in the middle, and he drilled in his third of the match from 4m. 4-10.
Watford seemed to go off the boil in the final quarter, satisfied perhaps to defend a six-goal lead. Or maybe the players were too exhausted to keep up such a heady pace? Despite some staunch Watford defending, with both Pickfords coming to our rescue in defence, Croydon slowly closed the gap, but could only reply with two goals. Watford ended the match with a well-deserved 6-10 victory.
Away team coach Steve Chambers said afterwards:
“After last week’s disappointing 12-12 draw at home to Otter it was good to get back to winning ways & tonight I think we played good, disciplined water polo and controlled the game. We were disciplined in defence, and took our chances in attack, confident that [goalkeeper] Peter Pickford would pull off some great saves. We now go into the summer break in an upbeat mood”