BUCS Canoe Polo 2017

BUCS Canoe Polo 2017 Ladies Team

CUCC sent two teams to the recent BUCS Canoe Polo Championships – 28th-30th April. We had a fantastic weekend – with hotly contested games, much improvement in our play and most importantly a fun (and very very colourful) 80’s themed party! Thanks to everyone who drove and refereed throughout the weekend!

Ladies’ report

written by Jen McGaley

It had been at least a couple of years since Cambridge entered a ladies’ team into BUCS polo, but after a recent dominance of ladies at polo training sessions, (initially in number as opposed to skill), assembling a team for this year’s competition was no issue. Gabby and Lucie who had previously played at BUCS were joined by Tamsin (team captain), Jen, Helen and Alex who were newer to the discipline but had trained together hard in preparation for the tournament.

The playlists released on Friday evening showed the team’s first match would be against Leeds, known to be a strong squad including current GB players. With the Cambridge ladies’ mixed levels of polo skills, competition experience, knowledge of the rules and functional kit (although most had eventually made it through scrutineering), it was easy to see why many people assumed the game would be a walkover. The Cambridge team were keen to show them otherwise… The Leeds ladies certainly knew what they were doing but after persistent pressure on the ball from Tamsin and Jen, solid defence from Helen and Alex and spectacular saves from Gabby, the opposition were limited to just two goals and had to defend some strong attacks themselves.

Cambridge went into their next match keener than ever and ready to take on Exeter. It was here that the training really showed with constant possession, controlled attacks, multiple turnovers and most importantly some decent binning leading to one goal by Jen and a hat-trick from Helen to give a win of 4-0 to Cambridge! Next up was Durham, again a skilled squad and against whom Cambridge was again told the result would likely be a severe loss. But on the back of such a win against Exeter the team were confident that would not be the case. With Tamsin rocking the role as captain, Jen sprinting and binning, Helen mounting attacks, Lucie and Alex defending and Gabby saving all manner of shots, the team held Durham to one all. The golden goal unfortunately went to the opposition but it was still a great result to end the day on.

Sunday was a day of literal mud, sweat and tears (oh and some 80s-themed-party-induced hangovers). After nailing it in the party tent with ‘bright and tight’ costumes the night before, Cambridge were ready to do the same on the pitch, in most cases minus the neon clothing. First match for the ladies was against Southampton. After more binning and a goal from our goalie, the final result was a deserved 2-0 win to Cambridge!

This meant the final game was against Bath. While Cambridge appeared to initially have the edge with a powerful goal from Tamsin and score into an open goal by Jen after an intercept, a yellow card and lack of sub saw a full-time score of 4-all. It was yet again time for golden goal which ended up going to Bath.

Overall a fantastic tournament for the Cambridge ladies with huge development seen throughout and a great result of 14th for such a young team! Now to prepare for Varsity…bring it on Oxford!

Men’s report

written by Chris Hedges

The men’s team began their 2017 BUCS tournament with a difficult game against Surrey, in which a couple of quick goals gave the opposition an early lead. The rest of the match was closer as the team both warmed up and woke up. Despite this, a general lack of cohesion in the team resulted in a 3-1 defeat.

After some discussions on tactics, Cambridge were ready to take on their next opponents, Nottingham Trent. Despite having a much better game in defence, the team still struggled to capitalise on key opportunities and attack as a unit, with the match ending in a 3-0 loss.

Unfortunately, these two early defeats put an end to the Saturday matches, but a productive afternoon training session left the team feeling confident about the matches on the following day. However, before this there was the all-important 80s themed party, in which the whole team embraced their tight and bright outfits, individually tailored by Tamsin Banner.

Sunday began with the Cambridge Men’s team first win of the tournament against Cardiff, in which the team made organised attacking manoeuvres leaving the final score at 4-0. The following game was against Swansea, with both teams playing well in attack and defence. The score was tied 3-3 thanks to a hat trick from Nathan, who then also scored the winning goal in the following golden goal.

These two victories meant that Cambridge’s final game was against Surrey again, making everyone even more intent on winning. The match was highly contested throughout, with the team playing the best they had all weekend - making strong attacks and being solid in defence. Unfortunately, Surrey just came out on top with a final score of 2-1, leaving Cambridge a respectable 18th out of 28 teams.

Special mention to Anthony Cooper for his impressive goal keeping; and to Nathan Hammond for being the top goal scorer and also for his coaching throughout the weekend.