England secure historic Commonwealth double
12 April 2014
The England men and women’s water polo teams have been crowned Commonwealth champions for the first time after memorable victories at the 2014 Commonwealth Water Polo Championships in Aberdeen.
Neither English team had done better than bronze at previous Championships in Manchester and Perth respectively but both secured titles with outstanding performances in their respective finals.
On the road to the final, the women’s team won three of their matches with the biggest victory coming on day one with a 35 -1 win against Wales.
The English team went on to beat South Africa and Scotland before losing their final group game 9-8 to Canada.
But the English women were hungry for revenge and took the fight to final opponents Canada with four goals from Ciara Gibson-Byrne helping them to the gold medal.
England had to dig deep to hold off a comeback from Canada in the final quarter but ultimately took victory with a 10-9 (3-3, 3-0, 3-2, 1-4) win.
Canada looked to do the double on England this week started the better, as Nikolina Mihajlovic put them ahead in the first minute but Gibson-Byrne soon equalised.
England then took the lead through Hazel Musgrove but two goals from Canada’s forwards Kyra Christmas and Kelsey McKelvey put them ahead.
England began to gain confidence and started to gather momentum in the second quarter, racing to a 6-3 lead on the strike of half-time.
A Gibson-Byrne penalty just before the end of the third quarter took the score to 9-5 before Musgrove scored at the start of the fourth quarter to take England into double figures.
The England men’s team won all of their matches on the way to the final including a 20-1 victory over Singapore and a 10-3 win over Malta just ahead of the final.
The English took on Malta for the second time in the final and secured victory with a final score of 16-9 (5-1, 5-2, 4-3, 2-3).
England started full of confidence and got off to a winning start, leading the first quarter 5-1.
Joe O’Regan opened the scoring before goals from Tom Curwen, Glen Robinson and Jake Vincent established their lead.
England continued their dominance in the second quarter as Sean King added his name to the score sheet before O’Regan completed his hat-trick as England increased their lead to 10-3 at half-time.
Malta scored early in the third quarter but goals from King, Curwen and Jonny Jonny Kirk put England further out of touch, leading 14-6 at the end of the third quarter.
Curwen scored five of England’s goals as they finished the match and the tournament as victors with a score or 16-9.
Scotland’s men’s team won the bronze medal after beating South Africa 6-5 while the Scottish women’s team finished fourth after going down 16-1 to South Africa.