WALES SNEAK HISTORIC VICTORY AGAINST ENGLAND
SEMI FINAL – BRITISH BEACH POLO CHAMPIONSHIPS
If ever the justification of the Polo handicap system which awards goals to the weaker of two playing teams could be vindicated, it was today. A 9 goal Wales team sponsored by Welsh gold company Clogau, as tournament outsiders, slogged it out against the might of a powerful 14 goal England team in the picks first ever stage official Wales-England encounter and claimed the narrowest of victories with a gutsy display of grit and monumental determination.
Although the weather conditions at the fourth British Beach Polo championships in aid of Help for Heroes eroesHerweren’t doing any favours for the sale of jugs of Pimms, it did not deter the spectators who turned out in their finery to make the most of one of the wettest British Summers on record. Nevertheless, take to the stands they did with their umbrellas, in a scene which looked more like a wet Wimbledon rather than sunny Sandbanks.
The first chukka of this historic match was slow to get going as the players and ponies accustomed themselves to the sand playing-surface which would inevitably cut up quickly and conspire against both teams’ efforts to attack the opposition. Wales started the match with a six goal advantage under the handicap system and on paper were clearly the under-dogs.
It was England’s Charlie Wooldridge however who opened the score with a close range shot which skipped across the top of the sand into an empty goal mouth and got the tournament favourites off the mark. Shortly after, Wooldridge was unlucky to be struck on the shoulder by a pony’s head in a melee and for a few SOUTH anxious moments for the England team, it looked like they were facing an early substitution. Thankfully, Wooldridge was able to continue and went on to be a key play-maker in the host’s numerous attacks. The chukka finally ended 6-1 to Wales who did well to disrupt the play of their opponents and gave them the self-belief they badly needed to take on this talented England side.
The second chukka saw both teams exchange Writer a handful of goals in the first couple of minutes, with Jamie Morrison for England striking first to make it 6-2, quickly replied by Matthews and Cooper to maintain Wales’ 6 goal advantage cheap jerseys at 8-2. As the chukka wore on, the sand predictably slowed things down tremendously as both teams battled to dig the ball out of the sand and drive the ball up the pitch. Into the last minute England pulled another back, only to concede a well worked goal from Blake-Thomas who combined well with Matthews to rifle the ball home and make it 9-3 to Wales at half time.
Into the 3rd chukka, and the England machine lastly fired-up and scored three individually well taken goals by Morrison and Wooldridge. By now the Welsh lead had narrowed to 3 goals and they quickly realized that they needed to play a far tighter game if they weren’t to concede any more. Wales were unlucky to have a penalty saved later in the chukka as England fouled in front of goal, but the 3 quick England goals had given the England team who were now starting to gel a sense of momentum, and for a fleeting moment must have thought that a victory was not too jerseys far away, but the rhythm was spoiled, and as masters of their own misfortune some poor defending led to an own goal and made the score 10-7 to Wales going into the last chukka.
If ever Wales needed to dig in for a barrage that cheap jerseys would surely come, it was now. The final chukka started well for them with talisman Roddy Matthews striking in the first minute from a glorious back-hand pass from Blake-Thomas wholesale nfl jerseys who would then within a minute save an England penalty at the other end. With the score at 11-7 and barely two minutes remaining, Wales, now brimming in confidence tried to kill the game off but were caught on successive counter-attacks and England punished them with two goals, one of which a penalty to make the score 11-9.
From then on it was Of all England and the Welsh defence which could easily have been likened to that of their ancestors at the legendary Rorkes Drift, where against all odds a handful of Welshmen outnumbered and surrounded by marauding Zulus defended their outpost gallantly, conceded just one more goal with 10 seconds to go to bring the score to 11-10 click for info. Wales dug in for the remaining seconds which must of seemed like an eternity and deserved their hard won victory. They now play Ireland in the final tomorrow which is likely to be another hard fought battle against their Celtic rivals.
Teams and handicaps:
R. Prisk (3), C. Wooldridge (4), J. Morrison(Capt. 7).
R.Cooper(Capt. 0), R.Blake-Thomas(5), R.Matthews(4).