On Thursday, 20 June, the staff entered the water with grim determination to win the Water Polo match against the students. Many of the staff still carried the emotional scars of losing to the students last year. Their saturnine mood contrasted the frivolity of the Student team, which had been supplemented with a few superstar alumni.
A crowd of some 250 chatted and joked in the warm winter sun, seemingly unaware that the Staff had decided to play with the ferocity of a state-of-origin clash.
''In the beginning we were a bit confused about defence in water polo, so we decided to attack, attack, attack, even when we did not have the ball,” quipped the Staff captain, Mr Damien ‘Flipper’ Healy, in his post-match interview.
“There was no way we were going to let these peeps win”, Healy intoned to a confused Somersetonian reporter.
Thus, the Staff dominated the first three quarters. Every attack by the Students was swiftly blunted. The Staff ploughed through the water with turbo-charged speed. The crowd was agog as Mr Spence ‘Otter’ Attoe easily overtook the fastest student swimmers. On the whistle signaling three quarter time, the Staff led 3 nil.
But, the match turned. Ashleigh ‘Pocket’ Childs, captain of the Students, asked the teachers to remove their fins. In in final quarter, the Students whittled down the Staff’s lead. With one minute to go, the score was deadlocked at 3 to 3. The Students had all the momentum. The commentator, Mr Andrew ‘Walrus’ Wrigley, struggled in calling the play as the ball rocketed all over the pool but, there was one more twist in the game.
With muscles aching, shoulders torn and pride wounded, the red-eyed Staff dug deep for one more counter attack. Mrs Katie ‘Sharky’ Hodge, snatched the ball from a bewildered Student shooter. With the grace of Sea-World seals, the Staff tossed the ball once, twice, thrice down the pool. It was all on Flipper Healy as he went one-on-one with the Student keeper, Holly ‘Clem’ Clements. The final, perfect shot ended the game in the favour of the Staff, 4 to 3.
The crowd cheered. Smiles on faces. Teams handshaking and patting each other with goodwill. The spirit of Somerset was at its bubbling best.
A Year 7 student was heard asking, “Will there be free ice cream next year, sir?”
Oh yes, it will be game-on again next year. The students are resolved on revenge in Water Polo and the spectators will get ice cream.
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