(2 votes, average 4.50 out of 5)

 

Irishman Mark Downey delivers a dose of Rough StuffAs the competition progressed and the teams became graded there were an increasing number of close matches. The Netherlands against France and Hungary against Ireland both went through extra time and full team penalty shootouts as far as sudden death penalties in order to obtain winners.

In the ladies' league, Germany and France were identical in points and goal differences. The only way to separate them was with an additional match with fortunes favouring first one side and then the other, the French finally scoring the winning goal just 17 seconds before the final hooter.

The first ladies' semi final had Britain playing France. Coyles scored with a long shot from the side of the pitch halfway through the first half as the exception to a series of missed shots by both sides. The French equalized 2 minutes before the end but a minute later Coyles was able to sink a penalty.

In the other semi final, Germany and Australia were very evenly matched, each scoring a goal in the opening minutes but unable to beat each other's defences for the rest of the game or during extra time. Had the Australian ladies been more accurate with their long shots earlier in the game it might not have gone to a penalty shootout. One German shot bounced back off the frame and was all it took to put Australia through to the final.

Keith McChlery of Australia finds Dutchman Rene Veltien to be an immovable objectIn the first of the men's semi finals there was no score in the tense first half between Australia and the Netherlands. At one stage De Jong held a capsized Australian upside down as he made about three attempts to roll, action which could not have been seen fully by the referees as he only got a green card for it. The Dutch opened the scoring two minutes into the second half. It was nearly three quarters of the way through the match before the Australians equalized but then their goals came with ever increasing rapidity, taking it to 5 -1 half a minute from time.

Clive Rackham of Great Britain feels the pinch from Germanys Peter KaulfußIn the other men's semi final Britain and Germany managed a goal each, but Vessey and Fancourt both fumbled the ball at times and Vessey looked much less composed than usual. The game went into extra time with Germany finding the decisive shot a minute after the restart.

The crowd included hardly any members of the general public although it should have been fairly predictable that they would not wish to sit inside over a weekend at the height of the summer. The general gloom inside the hot and humid pool had caused problems for the photographers, who had been asked not to use flash except along the centre parts of the sides of the pool. Television lights were available but nobody was prepared to pay the £14/hour needed for their use. For the finals, however, they were switched on. This brought protests from the team coaches but they finally accepted that the lights did not give an advantage to either side and that they were in the interests of future publicity for the sport.

Anne Duncan receives a late tackle from Hayley Watret in the finalsThe ladies' final saw Australia applying pressure on the British team right from the start. Badger received a yellow card for a substitution infringement and Marlow snapped a shaft. The British got in several close shots but the two that mattered came from Makin andn Keast for the Australian team, the second just as Badger was returning to play, to make them the first ever world canoe polo champions.

Chris Van Genderen closes on the German net in the mens finalCochrane opened the scoring for Australia two thirds of the way through the first half of the men's final, a game with fast endnto end play. It was answered by Kaulfuß for Germany after a long dribble to an undefended goal a minute before the interval but Hemsley again put Australia ahead with a shot backwards over his head into an open goal fifteen seconds before the break. In the second half Fleet netted a penalty, Cochrane took the ball alll the way to an open goal, Hemsley homed another and the Australians sealed their bid with a couple more from Van Genderen. Amongst other encouragement from the Australian coach to his team was the cry '6 - 1. In a final. We're awesome!' Few could argue with that sentiment and the crowd rose for a standing ovation.
 



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