Champions! MMU Invincibles claim Premier title in undefeated style
- A 13-10 win over Durham secured the Premier Division championship, and Invincible status, for MMU men’s water polo team
A draw at the Aquatics Centre would have been enough to see MMU crowned as unbeaten champions but this result was a victory in style.
MMU dominated the first quarter, putting 5 goals past Durham without reply, and by half time were in a 7-3 lead and very much in control of the game.
Durham rallied in the third quarter and tried to force a comeback from 7-4 down but strong MMU pressure in defence and swift counter-attacks enabled them to extend their lead to 10-6 going into the fourth and final quarter.
Just eight minutes from being crowned undefeated champions, MMU’s forwards showed deadly finishing in front of goal to snuff out a second Durham rally and rack up a further three goals.
Team captain Dan Paddon said afterwards: “We knew it was going to be a tough game but we had a plan. We went 5-0 up and obviously you can never get complacent.
"They came back, but we’ve got a few boys who have played at a high level, who have played for GB, so we know what water polo’s like. The job’s not done until the end.
“We knew we had to keep playing our game and not get complacent. Everyone knew their job and kept calm till the end. It was a great team performance – now we’re going to celebrate.”
MMU water polo coach and sports performance officer Jerome Read has worked with the side for the past three years and developed their style and tactics, and coached the team from poolside to victory.
After the game he said: “We knew Durham were going to be a strong side and they’ve got some incredible players, but our players were very strong and nullified their key shooters. Seven of our guys scored – that made a big impact on the game.
“We have such a solid group of players. It’s taken us three years to come from the bottom of the second tier of University level polo and we’ve built this using a small squad and got promotion to the Premier Division. We saw the opportunity and we used it, and obviously now we’re Premier Division winners. It’s a nice feeling”.