Liverpool based Friends of Allonby (FOA) have won two medals at the ECA Canoe Polo European Clubs Championships, held at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham.
In the women’s event FOA won the European Clubs title with an impressive 7-3 victory in the final over the French side and reigning Champions CD Loire-Atlantique IF.
An attacking first half saw both teams trade goals and at the half time break FOA were leading 4-3, thanks to goals from Katy Farley (2) Pru Blyth and Ginny Coyles.
The second half was a much closer affair, with both defences on top. But in the closing stages Ginny Coyles was fouled whilst shooting and the resulting penalty from Katy Farley, to complete her hat-trick, gave FOA a decisive two goal lead.
With Loire-Atlantique looking to reduce the deficit Pru Blyth and Danielle Brain calmly scored to give FOA a decisive 7-3 victory and the European Clubs Championship title.
FOA won all of their matches in the Championships, topping group A on day 1 and defeating German opponents PSC Coburg-Schney (4-3) and ACC Hamburg (3-1) in the quarter and semi-finals.
Great Britain women’s captain Pru Blyth was also top scorer of the Championships with 14 goals.
In the third place play-off KV Keistad form the Netherlands won the bronze medal with a golden goal to defeat ACC Hamburg 3-2.
British side Meridian also qualified for the quarter-finals but the team from Bexleyheath were defeated by ACC Hamburg 4-1. Further losses to PSC Coburg-Schney and Montpellier saw Meridian finish in eighth position.
In the men’s draw it was a different story for FOA who struggled in the group stages, winning only one of their matches.
But the early morning start on day 2 suited the Liverpool team who defeated Spanish outfit Club Vallehermoso Retiro 4-3 in the round of 16, before winning a nail biting quarter final 4-3 in extra time against KSM Essen from Germany.
In the semi-final FOA defeated Dutch side Odysseus A, with Kartik McCutcheon claiming a hat-trick the 7-3 victory, setting up a final against the unbeaten Italian side Pro Scogli Chiavari.
With FOA including members of Great Britain’s under 21 World and European Champion winning squads, against the vastly experienced Italian team it was billed as the young guns taking on the old guard.
With defences on top and some excellent saves from FOA’s Shiv McCutcheon and Robert Pest for Chiavari the game was locked at 1-1 going into the final minute.
In a frantic end to the final Luca Bellini put the Italians 2-1 up, before a fine finish from Jack Playford with less than 20 second to go tied the match.
With extra time and the golden goal just seconds away Chiavari used all of their experience to take a quick restart and a long range effort from Bellini gave the Italian outfit the title, with FOA claiming a well-deserved silver medal.
The third place play-off in the men’s event also went to a Dutch side, Odysseus A, who defeated the Italians from Polisportiva Canottieri Catania 6-5.
For Kingston, who finished second in their group, they were defeated in the round of 16 by IRWV Ieper from Belgium. The East Yorkshire outfit were placed in 12th, following defeat to Acigné. Alex Lowthorpe and Ross Martin finished high in the scoring charts with 23 goals between them.
Speaking after the finals Friend of Allonby Coach Mike Moffitt was proud of the performances from his players, saying:
“It’s brilliant, two club teams in the final, I think it’s the first for a British team and maybe even a first for the European Clubs Championships.
“We couldn’t ask for more from the club to win one gold and one silver.”
Full details from the ECA Canoe Polo European Club Championships, including results, standings and statistics are available on the tournament website:
Feature on Mike Moffitt - British Canoeing 2016 Volunteer Coach of the Year
Day 1 report
Nineteen men's and 12 women’s canoe polo teams took to the water today at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham for the first day of the ECA Canoe Polo European Club Championships.
With a packed agenda, all teams took to the water in the group stages to determine the standings for the knockout matches tomorrow.
In the men’s group stages Pro Scogli Chiavari topped Group A winning all four of their matches, with Montpellier also proving unbeatable in Group B.
Club Vallehermoso Retiro lead the charge in Group C, winning three of their four matches while Polisportiva Canottieri Catania topped Group D.
British teams Friends of Allonby Liverpool and Kingston have both progressed through to tomorrow’s knockout stages, with Kingston finishing second in their group.
The women’s group stages saw Friends of Allonby Liverpool keep a clean sheet, finishing atop Group B unbeaten. Likewise a dominant CD Loire-Atlantique IF were unbeatable, winning four from four in Group A.
CD Loire-Atlantique IF topped group C with three wins out of four and it was a similar story for Polisportiva Canottieri Catania in Group D.
Eight women’s teams will progress to tomorrow’s knockout rounds with four playing for 9-12 placings.