Exeter City Water Polo men’s squad travel to Grantham this weekend to play their final British Water Polo matches of the 2019/2020 season. A challenging second half has seen promotion slip away after what had been a promising start to the season. Now with just pride to play for, Exeter City will face Portobello on Saturday, and a Westcountry derby will conclude the season as they play Cheltenham.
The last weekend saw long-standing captain Darren Heagarty play his final games for the side as injury has forced him into retirement. Under Heagarty’s leadership Exeter have risen from Division 4 to Championship 1. He has led a largely young and home-grown squad to where they are now. Commenting on the team’s progress, Heagarty said:
“The team are so close to achieving promotion. We have the talent, however at certain moments we switch off and let teams pull away on the scoreboard. If the team works hard and gains the necessary experience, I have no doubt Exeter City Water Polo Club will have a Division 1 side in the coming years. This will not only be great for the club but fantastic for South West Water Polo.”
Captaining the team this weekend is experienced Spaniard Alex Marcos. Already a well-respected leader amongst the group Marcos commented:
“It is an honour to captain this team, and I expect us to finish the season playing good Water Polo with positive results. The captain for the 2020/2021 side will be decided in the off-season, until then, leading these boys is something I can take great pride in.”
The first match on Saturday will be against a Portobello side who are one place and one point above Exeter in the table. When the sides met earlier in the season it was Exeter who took the points with a 15-14 victory. Saturday promises to be another close game and Exeter will have to be at their best to take the points.
The last match of the season, against Cheltenham is for bragging rights, recognising the winning team as being the number one team in the Westcountry. While the two clubs have great respect for one another this will be a fiercely contested derby. The two sides have not met at this level for many years and a victory here would be the perfect way to wrap up the season.