match 2 - split v barbarians
The European powerhouses of Split, Croatia were dealt a blimp in their Tom Hoad Cup final search with a last gasp 10-9 defeat at the hands of the All Star Barbarian squad overnight.
The match started well for the Croatians as Split won the first swim up, but immediately they cheaply gave up possession to Barbarians number 6, Milan Nesic, who produced a lovely back hand shot to make it 1-0.
While Croatia’s first attempt on goal fell to Dino Vegar but his shot was blazed over.
The ball was then won and lost countlessly in the midfield until Croatian Marco Maras received the ball and fired his teams first for the night 1-1.
Then, out of nothing, Maras was handed the ball again and allowed time to shoot to put Split a goal ahead 2-1.
But the Barbarians would not die down early and were back on level terms right before the first break when Chris Dyson found Clancy Neesham alone, who needed no invite to blast past Split Goalkeeper Duje Jelovina making it 2-2 at the first interval.
The second period began and it was the Barbarians who made the most of a lovely passing build up to see Marco Bartolocci unleash a rocket that crashed off the crossbar and in putting the All-Stars 3-2 up.
But that would hold one of Europe’s best down and they were immediately level after Marco Bratic was allowed to turn and shoot. 3-3.
Split, spurred on by their recent goal, tried their best attempts to beat Barbarian Goalkeeper Luke Quinlivan throughout the second period but were foiled almost every time.
The score at the major break, 5-3 in favour of the All-Stars.
The 3rd period resumed with a penalty to Barbarian Chris Dyson, who shot straight down the middle and won his battle of wits against Jelovina to make it 6-3 Barbarians.
The moment of the match came in the closing stages of the third quarter, when Marco Bratic was again put through one-on-one and looked certain to score but an outstanding reflex save off the face Luke Quinlivan kept a 7-4 score in favour of the Barbarians going into the final break.
The final period saw the Croatian’s go into overdrive and score 3 unanswered goals to level things at 8-8 with only 3 minutes to spare.
Spurred on by the crowd, the Europeans were looking ever likely to produce the first upset of this year’s cup, but it was not to be as a piece of sheer brilliance from Barbarian Captain Chris Dyson put the Barbarians two goal beyond doubt, seeing them run out winners 10-9.