Varsity 2017 Preview: Water Polo

Much intrigue surrounds the Water Polo Varsity fixture this year, as it emerges from the shallows of Super Wednesday to have its first own standalone event. Although Oliver Bowen-Ashwin, the club’s President, expects last year’s comfortable result to be to be replicated, he told Impact Sport that he anticipates quite a spectacle at the David Ross Sports Village on Sunday 7th May.     

The 2016/17 season has been relatively mixed for the men’s 1st team. Success in the league, coming second to Birmingham 1st’s, was somewhat overshadowed by a disappointing performance in the BUCS Trophy, when they lost out to Liverpool in the opening round.

Despite the underwhelming performance in the Cup, the men’s side enter the tie in a rich vein of form, having won four out of their previous six games. As a result, there is an expectancy for UoN to comfortably see off the challenge from Trent.

Although the UoN’s 1st team have yet to face their opponents this season, Trent are certainly no strangers, having faced the 2nds three times throughout the year.

Having defeated the UoN 2nd team three times this season, on their way to winning both the Midlands 2A division and the Midland’s Conference Cup, Bowen-Ashwin warned that Trent are going to be a ‘lot harder test than last year’.

Varsity events have the tendency to boil over, and having watched Trent play this season, Bowen-Ashwin expects tempers to flair on Sunday, with one Trent player in particular “expected to try and rile up our side”.

If this might appear to be troubling reading for the Green and Gold fans, Bowen-Ashwin assured us that there was nothing to fear. Not only have UoN had their own significant triumphs this year, having claimed the considerable scalp of Premier Division side Loughborough, but they also have the advantage of the new David Ross Sports Village on their side.

The new improved weight room, which is vital for dry-side training, and pool have been key in helping the club’s preparation for Varsity. These advantages should come in handy for UoN Water Polo, who were so successful on last year’s Varsity Super Wednesday with their demolition victory against Trent in the pool. The spectacle was so good that the sport has been given it’s own event this year, and the home side will be hoping for a similar display on Sunday.

For many, Water Polo is a relatively unknown sport, which is only watched once every four years when the Olympics resurfaces. When asked what spectators can expect if they rock up at the DRSV on Sunday, Bowen-Ashwin immediately compared Water Polo to Varsity’s showcase event Ice Hockey. A fast-paced, aggressive match, with plenty of goals, has been promised. Those attending will not be disappointed by the spectacle, even if they don’t quite get the rules.

Like Bowen-Ashwin, who is expectant of a win, I can only see one winner, with UoN’s superior quality shining through.

Alex Buxton

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