BASINGSTOKE Bluefins water polo team won the Hampshire Knockout Cup after they beat Southampton Stingrays 19-13 at the Aquadrome.
Basingstoke had an eight-goal head start due to the handicap system and lined up knowing Southampton had to attack from the off to make up the difference and have a chance of winning.
As it happened, Basingstoke started the game disciplined and in control, nullifying the Southamp-ton attack and getting off the mark with two quick goals courtesy of Steve Fairhead and Matt Hewitt.
The tension in the game began to show with numerous sending outs.
Southampton were clinical in the attack and scored with their powerplays and by the end of the first quarter, Basingstoke led 10-3.
The second session began similarly to how the first had ended, with numerous sending outs meaning the Stingrays began to assert their authority.
Four goals without reply gave Southampton hope, but a brace from Basingstoke’s Dave Egan, a constant thorn in the side of the opposition defence, made it 12-7 at half-time.
As the third quarter started, the capacity crowd was in good voice, and cheered the players on superbly, giving both teams a boost in the pool.
The third quarter proved to be the tightest of the contest. Basing-stoke scored twice thanks to Egan and a fantastic finish from James Stone, while Southampton scored three times.
In their desperation to score, Southampton flooded forward and a good counter saw Lay add another to his tally.
As the clock counted down, goalkeeper Mike Sheath saved the final attempt on the buzzer as Basingstoke were crowned champions, completing a memorable final with a fantastic victory, winning 19-13.
Basingstoke’s winning team was made up of Mike Sheath, Matt Hewitt, Jack Taylor, Jake Cleverley, Dave Egan, James Stone, Gavin Bridger, Dave Trewhella, Mike Steer, Steve Fairhead, Alex Pullen, Matt Girle and Josh Lay.
If anyone wants to play water polo, four squads train at Basingstoke Aquadrome.
They are senior men, senior ladies, junior/youth and academy, meaning there is a team suitable for anyone from the age of nine who can swim.