The sun shone upon Hatfield Marina in Doncaster last weekend for the BUCS Canoe Polo Championships. Cambridge University Canoe Club descended en masse and set up camp on Friday night, ready for a fantastic weekend of polo.
The club entered teams in the open championship, ladies’ championship, and also the B team and Old boy’s league. Matches kicked off at 7.20am on Saturday morning whilst frost was still glittering on the ground. Wetsuits were soon shed as the sun came out and the competition heated up. The men’s team started the day strong, beating Sterling and Cardiff comfortably in quick succession. Sadly their day of victory was cut short with a defeat to Sheffield in the evening.
The women’s team, plagued by injury this year, fielded an enthusiastic but partly inexperienced team. They were denied a win on Saturday but took their defeats well, and the team quickly came together, playing better with every match. The Old Boys returned to the water with vigour to represent their former university, taking both defeats and victories, and even a little swim in the case of one of the players. A motley crew of skilled paddlers and inexperienced polo players took the chance to join in the fun in the B-team league, but were sadly outclassed by teams who seemed to actually have been in a polo boat before. In the evening the fun moved on to dry land, as wetsuits were shed for superhero costumes and the legendary BUCS party got underway. The Cambridge teams continued to do the university proud, embracing the cheesy music and spandex in true Cindies style.
With an early Sunday start, the men took a while to warm up, taking defeats at the hands of Cardiff and Nottingham. However, their determination was rewarded as they beat Liverpool 2-1 in extra time in a nail-biting final match, finishing 11th out of 33 in the competition. The women’s team saw their persistence pay off with a 1-1 draw with Leeds, and a comfortable 3-0 win over Exeter. James Cooper, the men’s captain, said “The men’s team had a good tournament, finishing 5 places above Oxford, which is a good sign for Varsity next week. The ladies’ team never gave up and were rewarded with victory in their last game, and the old boys gave their all both on the pitch and at the party!”
Photo Credit: Randolph Brazier