May 13

BUCS Canoe Polo 2017


On 28th – 30th April, EUCC members headed to BUCS in Nottingham to pit themselves against other universities in the niche but fantastic sport of canoe polo. During this weekend filled with cake, glowsticks, and getting lost (it’s hard to believe we found time to play any polo really!) I somehow managed to find time to write down stuff for the following writeup…

Wahey, we made it! The Polo event of the year, British Universities and Colleges Sport Canoe Polo Championships. The event was held this year in Holme Pierrepoint, a 5 hour drive from our home ground. Team Bus met at the cave at 12.00am on Friday 28th, ready to load up the bus with the boats, kit, and camping stuff, then hit the road relatively quickly (if you ignore the time taken to stop off at Sainsbury’s for barbeques and food.) Those of us in the front (Sab and Myself) were treated to a free driving lesson on the perils of driving on motorways; “DOUBLE!!” before Adam stalled and a lorry driver glared at him. Some dubious and rather questionable jokes from Hammond and top notch banter from the back row, and we made it to Nottingham in one-piece, despite the emergency stopping of the bus a mere 10m before parking so people could dash to the toilets and pee. After this we set up our tents and got our kit scruntineered (no issues there then… ), before lighting a barbeque, eating, and settling down for the night.


Open Team

The open team got off to a 5.45 am start on Saturday and were on the water 45 minutes later to put in some good practice before their first game against Warwick at 7.00. This game was an intense one, ultimately resulting in a 4-0 loss. However the true steel and grit of our players really came to play after this match, despite being placed in the bottom half as an outcome of this preliminary match, over the course of the weekend they rose through the league tables. Cheered on by a horde of screaming girls, a nail bitingly close match with Liverpool (coming down to golden goal) and Bath resulted in us placing 16th out of 29, a 12-place improvement on the previous year.

Adam Finley
Matt Noble
Alex Hammond
Ben Cockshull
Nic Reay
Tristan Bracegirdle


Ladies Team

Unfortunately after all my hype in the SW Uni final review about BUCS, I managed to trip over my own feet and break my foot the week before BUCS. Encased in a very fashionable but rather oversized leg boot, I was physically unable to fit into a boat, rendering me a little useless to the team. Thankfully Swales stepped in to save the day, and completed the team. Unfortunately, the ladies pitches were 100 miles (…or 20 metres) away from the viewing area so it was a little hard to watch what was going in these matches, however from what I could see the ladies team played very well, winning matches against Swansea and Teeside, alongside some close losses. Overall the Ladies Team came 21st, which for a team that was formed 2 months ago is a massive achievement, and shows huge promise for the future.

Claire Below
Ella Waples
Emily Swales
Esme Bateson
Lowri Peters
Sabrina Draude

At the end of the weekend we packed up our stuff, and after a quick vote for next year’s team captains, and a round of goodbyes, we began the long drive back to Exeter tired but proud. Thankfully this is not the end of polo for the year, as plans to compete in London in the summer are underway, and despite exam season training continues so we can come back even stronger next year!

#yfp (YoloForPolo)

Love Natalie


Photos courtesy of Noble-Photography©

Apr 26

South-West Polo Finals: 25th March

EUCC Canoe Polo (Open and Ladies)

EUCC Canoe Polo (Open and Ladies)

On 25th March 2017 members of the EUCC polo teams travelled up to Bristol for the final of the South West University Tournament! Once we made it to Bristol (we didn’t get lost on the way and take a 20 minute detour this time = achievement) we quickly got the boats and the A-team on the water for their catch up games with Swansea. Unfortunately the other universities were all late, and as we were relying on them to lend us paddles, we were treated to an excellent demonstration of flip-flop paddling (yes it is as weird as it sounds), curtesy of yours truly Mr Adam ‘Ronaldo’ Finley. Once Swansea arrived the games began, and although the A-teamed played very strongly, showing off some excellent passing, defending, and attacking, they were beaten by Swansea team followed by 2 more games against the welsh team!

In the Ladies’ games there were only 2 players for our team (Claire and myself), however we did not let this phase us, and played as a 2 man team, going on to single/double handedly beat Swansea, UWE, Bristol, and Bath. Haha just kidding, I am pretty sure it is illegal to play with less than 3 players anyway? Thankfully Swansea Ladies very graciously let us play on their team for the semi-final and the friendly games after the tournament. I have no idea what the scores in these games were, however for the 2 of us it was a great chance to practice the skills we had been developing on the Wednesday training session before this, featuring some amazing Oliver Wood style goal saving from our very own Claire, and some successful sprinting from myself. We also got the opportunity to train with Bath Uni, shout-out to Ted for organising the tournament and for kindly letting us practice with your team.

Finally some fond memories that I will think of in years to come…

1) Chris’s “it’s fine, just keep playing” after my paddle literally broke into 2 pieces mid-game, rendering it completely useless

2) Despite the 20-degree sunshine, Matt hiding under someone’s fluffy coat hood to avoid getting burnt.

3) Getting to use the Bristol Streamlyte Paddles, they are amazingly light weight and the whole team could probably rave about them for hours

4) Being sat with our team in the sun eating cornflake cakes and watching the other teams play, although they were all fighting as hard as they could, the atmosphere, comradery, and respect between the teams was fantastic, in that moment I felt so grateful to be able to be a part of this amazing sport and cannot wait for further competitions.
All in all it was a fab tournament! The improvement of our team since September was phenomenal and these games showed that all of the training had clearly payed off, putting us in good stead for BUCS later this month.

Natalie xx



Feb 24

South West Polo: 21st Feb


On Tuesday the club headed off for another installment of “Exeter takes on South West Uni’s” Polo edition. After much faffing to get petrol money, despite being reminded by Ben about half an hour before (cough cough Alex and Matt) we finally hit the road in the bus and Adam’s car. Despite getting lost as we careered round Bath Uni, almost mowing down a group of runners in the process, us and the bus made it to the car park in 1 piece, and in high spirits. A short walk and quick change into polo gear led us to ogle in wonder at the pool, 50 beautiful metres of clean, warm water, as well as 18 carbon boats, surplus polo paddles, BA’s, helmets, and decks (needless to say, we were very jealous).
The tournament kicked off with an Exeter A team vs Bath match. After this it was the turn of the B team, and the debut of our very own Exeter University Ladies Canoe Polo Team + Tristan (what a mouthful!). Nervous but excited (this was the first competition for most), the game commenced after a quick change over of boats and some encouraging motivational pep talks from the A team. Sadly we suffered defeat to Bath (an all male team,) failing to score. After this it was the turn of the A team again. Play had definitely picked up by now, featuring goals from Adam and co making for a nail-bitingly close match (7-4, 4-4 at half time). After a no-binning pact with Bristol University it was the Ladies team again. Playing yet another all-male team, our play dramatically improved in this game, leading us to almost score during the 1st half! This game was also an excellent opportunity to get some shots of the team in action, in addition to the usual post-match team photos. We left the pool tired but in very high spirits (partially due to the Kayak themed cake made by Daisy and myself earlier that day, #blowingmyowntrumpet) and started the long journey back, excellently driven by Ella on her first time driving the bus with passengers. A quick stop at McDonalds at the insistence of Sam, and we continued back home to Exeter.

Whilst we did not win any matches, overall we had an amazing time competing and getting the chance to bond as a team, proving that EUCC is definitely “probably the best canoe club in the world”. Bring on BUCS!!
#yfp (yay for polo)
Natalie xx

Feb 21

Ladies Paddling Weekend: Feb 2017


Heading up to North Wales, a group of ladies from Bristol, Bath and Exeter university joined coach Lowri (from FlowFree) for a weekend of river reading, leadership skills, safety & rescue tactics and confidence building. We spent Saturday on the Dee, where the group practiced their decision making skills as well as performing real rescues and doing some awesome boofs on Town Falls.

On Sunday it was time to try something completely different, and we headed to the slightly wet rocks of the Gamlan to practice group management on steeper ground while also having fun whizzing down what was some people’s first waterfall!

It was an absolute blast and we saw a huge step in confidence, skills and knowledge. I will put it to good use, when the rain finally comes!






Feb 06

Southwest Polo league 4th Feb 2017

Canoe polo is a game played with a team of 5 and 2 subs, normally with banks of cheering teammates on the side, we decided to buck the trend and play ALL our games with JUST 3 people. The brave trio of myself, Adam Finley and Lowri Peters set off with plenty of time to spare for stops at the *apparently blessed* Gordano Services described as ‘just a very nice services’ by Marco Polo (ey polo pun #1) on his 13th century epic to China.

Upon arriving we threw caution to the wind and made the ballsy decision to attack all the teams full on with our plucky team of 3 (imagine a rowing boat taking on an armada of 15th century galleons, although the galleons are carbon polo boats and instead of wind they are powered by Streamlyte carbon paddles). And if I’m honest it was by far the best decision we made! Playing with a team of 3 doesn’t half tire you out but it was brilliant training for endurance, tactics (OVERLOAD RIGHT) and general polo stuff.

We were very pleased with the results (5:1, 5:1, 6:0, 3:2 – Bristol, we almost had you…) although we may have lost every single one…. Basically we were the underdog of all underdogs, although this did give us an added novelty and much support from all teams attending! This novelty truly came into its own when I swam (cry) and there had to be a timeout due to not having enough players (an event which none of the refs had ever experienced before and may never again!).

All in all brilliant set of games!

PS. I was a binning machine with 4 bins to my name, and I must say…. Binning is most definitely winning!


Comps Sec
(Ben Cockshull)


Dec 02

Exmoor River Barle trip: 27/10/16

…Turns out we didn’t sacrifice enough freshers. With the lack of rain in the south-west, Flozza consulted the Captain of timings about what us desperate mortals could do in this hour of need. He remembered a river from a previous life and suggested it. This was on a low at the time of suggestion, the highest river levels around, so Flozza thought he might have telepathic links to the river gods of Exmoor, and trusted the advice.

After hearing the moaning from “experienced paddlers” about how there was no water, and deciding where to get on and paddle, we efficiently left James’s car, without boats, at Exebridge, ready for the shuttle, and put on at the slide in Dulverton. Team drivers went first as the plan was to sort the shuttle before the rest of the club arrived (or at least this was the plan). A group of canoers doing their 4* training were just ahead and slowed down progress for some time. When we overtook them the bumpy rapids of the Barle came to life and the leaders utilised this rare occurrence of decent white water this year to practise some much needed skills. Looming round the corner was a simple low volume weir where a perfect playhole was formed on the other side of the river. This provided the safety, in all manner of boats, with as much fun as their group would let them (David dropping his poggies while surfing and disappearing round the corner to find them, and Matt leading a bunch of fresh off into the unknown) but alas we had to part ways. The river wound down till the get out and everyone agreed it was well worth the time and effort getting there even at low levels.

At the get out team drivers tried to make a hasty and efficient shuttle. However, because James was new to shuttling a river trip, he didn’t ask anyone to take his car keys and left them at the top of the river… This classic mistake was rectified by a local offering to drive Swales up to get the bus, and then Daniel and I could get our cars when James got his keys from the bus. With a quick change and loading of bus, we sat down in the pub with a drink and ogled at the carvery sitting only meters away.

Well done to everyone who hadn’t experienced much white water before and especially well done to Daisy who had her mandatory swim on her first river trip but smiled the whole way down. Still praying for rain, although the season doesn’t show hopes of getting better anytime soon 🙂

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