Portsmouth City beat hosts Basingstoke 5-4 in the final of the Lady Richmond Brown Hampshire Trophy to claim their first-ever piece of silverware.
It was a superb achievement as the Hampshire division two team beat a string of higher-division outfits on their way to tournament glory.
The men’s water polo outfit saw off defending division one champions City of Southampton – a popular win for those from these parts.
It proved to be an extremely tight affair, with just one goal separating the sides.
Portsmouth began well and took a 2-1 advantage into the half-time interval.
After the break they continued their dominance and led 4-2 midway through the second.
Southampton hit back to lead 5-4 but, in the dying seconds, Portsmouth equalised.
That was only the start of the drama as Portsmouth had a player excluded.
Southampton pressed but failed to capitalise.
However, the returning Portsmouth player came back illegally and another power-play for Southampton resulted.
The favourites again pushed forward in search of the winner.
But they were caught on the counter-attack, in stunning fashion, as Portsmouth grabbed the victory.
The Portsmouth side boosted their status even further when they crushed holders Southampton University.
The teams met in the semi-final and things seemed to be shaping up in Portsmouth’s favour.
University had several key team members absent.
Their optimism was dampened early on as they conceded a very early goal.
However, this was the only disappointment of the fixture, as Portsmouth clinched a place in the final with an emphatic 11-4 victory.
Again it was an against-the-odds mission in the final.
Basingstoke – third in division one – were standing in Portsmouth’s way.
They showed their quality in the first half.
Some impressive play saw them forge a 3-1 lead going into the break.
It seemed like Portsmouth would miss out on their first piece of silverware.
But the impressive drama and intensity of the competition continued in the second half.
There was no stopping Portsmouth as they rallied.
The south-coast side pulled their way back to just one goal behind, with the score 4-3 going into the final minutes.
Both sides missed a host of chances, while magnificent saves at either end kept the game right on edge.
Portsmouth then struck to level as they showed supreme determination and stamina.
They added to Basingstoke’s despair, securing the win with another dramatic blow on the counter-attack.
Landing their first trophy is confirmation of the impressive progress made by the Portsmouth club.
They currently run both men’s A and B teams as well as a ladies team and a junior squad (eight-14 years).
The club are always keen to land new members of all abilities and age levels.
See portsmouthwaterpolo.org.uk for more information.