match 1 - fremantle mariners v japan

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The first game of the 2012 Tom Hoad Cup saw current NWPL (National Water Polo League) Champions, Fremantle Mariners take on the giants of Asia, Japan, in game 1 of this prestigious tournament.

The match sprung to life with patrons still trying to find their seats as the Mariners scored the first goal of the tournament, within the first minute. Three minutes in and it was 2-0 to the home side after Mariners keeper Edward Slade put through Daniel Lawrence one-on-one with his Japanese counterpart and he duly converted with a well-placed shot in the top corner.

Japan’s first chance came some five minutes into the first period when the lively Yuta Henmi tried his luck but was disappointed to see his effort crash off the crossbar. But nevertheless, they were back in the game two minutes later when Mitsuaki Shiga found the net to make it 2-1. Seconds before the end of the opening quarter, Japan were awarded a penalty, up stepped Koji Takei but Mariners ‘Keeper Slade was equal to his effort and the Mariners went into the first break a goal to the good.

The second quarter proved more enticing than the first, with goals leaking from both defenses, notably the presence of Australia International Aaron Younger who brought his side further ahead with a penalty mid-way through the second quarter, 3-1 to the Mariners, but a frantic final two minutes saw Japan come within a goal once again to make the score 5-4 at half time.

The match went out of reach for the Japanese in the third period as the Mariners went on a five-goal haul to see the score at 10-5 going into the final break.

Fourth quarter started like the third with Mariners dominating possession and passing around well, the home side kept on scoring, and with the minutes counting down for Japan, they launched an all out attack to score two quick-fire goals from the lively Koji Takei. But the game looked all but over when Luke Pavillard broke clear of the visitor’s defense and sealed the game at 15-8.

The Mariners with their first win in this year’s Tom Hoad Cup, and now look forward to their round 2 clash with Split, Croatia, while Japan take on China.

KARL TRAVAGLINI

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