Double champions Barnstaple open with loss at Exeter

12:42 12 February 2014

Water Polo

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New-look U19 water polo team take positives from defeat

A NEW look Barnstaple U19s team went down 14-8 at Exeter in their opening league match of the season.

Due to fixture congestion last season, the Devon Water Polo League started earlier than normal this year, and with several of last year’s league and cup winning team now being too old to play this year Barnstaple could only muster the minimum of seven players out of the allowed thirteen.

The first quarter was very evenly matched but when Rob Squires committed a second exclusion foul halfway through the first quarter of play, Barnstaple had to switch to an even more cautious mindset to avoid finishing the match a man down. The quarter ended 2-2 with Barnstaple’s captain Sam Wordley opening the scoring with Rob adding the second.

To reduce the risk of being excluded again, Squires then swapped places with keeper Sam Taylor for the second quarter as Sam Wordley scored again but Barnstaple slipped 5-3 behind by half time.

Tom Hutchens then arrived having rushed back from Birmingham, where he had been playing for the South West U16 team, enabling Squires to get back outfield, but the lack of numbers told and with Barnstaple clocking up their eighth exclusion foul including a second for defender Torin Lawson.

The skilful Exeter team pulled further ahead to win 14-8 with Squires adding two more, Will Hutchens one and another goal from Wordley. Conor Smith and Matt Binmore played well throughout and managed to avoid committing exclusion fouls.

But there was still cause to be optimistic for coach Bob Bunney, with six of the eight eligible to play for the U17s and more players to return in the coming weeks.

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