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.