Alex Counsell in goal for Sunderland. Picture credit: Antonia Barraclough

Goal keeper has been a problem position for Sunderland since Alex Counsell left the university last year. Picture credit: Antonia Barraclough

University of Sunderland Water Polo player Sam Balmbra believes that friendlies are important in preparing the side for competitive games this season.

The University team lost 14-9 to City of Sunderland in a friendly but have seen a massive improvement since the last time the two played last year.

Reflecting on last Sunday’s defeat, Balmbra, who captained the side last year said: “Playing friendly’s, especially at this time of year is great as it gets us on the front foot and enables us to work on areas which are difficult to work on in training, due to lack of numbers. The City team really help us out with this.”

The team featured several new players who played their first game for the side and Balmbra believes that friendlies will also help give them their first experience of a Water Polo match.

“The friendly was a great chance to give players who have never played before their first run out, and also to get some of us who are slightly rusty back into shape.”

The University team played four different keepers, including Balmbra, during the game as they try and establish a permanent keeper for the up-and-coming BUCS and U-Polo league.

“I will play where I am put. As we don’t have a permanent goalkeeper this year we will probably be rotating keepers but apart from that I’m unsure,” explained Balmbra.

 
 

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