Oct 25

Yorkshire Polo League, by Martin Heywood

The senior A and B teams competed in the first indoor Yorkshire Polo League matches of the season at Yearsley swimming pool in York. Both teams met at the Hobbies centre in Scunthorpe to sort out the boats and kit, before transporting the boats to Annie’s house so that they could be hosed down and brushed clean prior to taking them into the pool. After loading up the cars again, we set off in convoy to York. We arrived a little early (just after 3:00pm) so decided we should build up our energy reserves with some of York’s finest Chinese chips, but to our horror we found that the shop didn’t open until 4:00 pm! Owing to a cold wind, shelter was sought in the nearest pub until food was available. Once watered and fed, the teams and their supporters practiced their ball skills in the car park until the pool doors opened.

For those reading this who are not familiar with the league format, all the teams in a particular division meet at the same venue and during the evening play each other. Points are awarded for wins and draws and a league table is created. This format is repeated three or four times over the winter and a final league table produced. The top team is usually promoted. Both our senior teams are playing in Division 3.

The “A” team this year is captained by Julian Selby. Not all the squad were available to play on Saturday, but Julian was able to field Colin Robinson, Neil Marley, Simon Mitchell, Russ Millington and Peter Heywood. The “B” team is captained by Annie Mitchell. Also playing on Saturday were Martin Heywood, Kim Jollands, Iain Cameron, James Everitt, Kiri Spinks and Bloo Mcgee. We were well supported by all of our youth team, whose own league starts later in the year.

Once inside the pool we claimed are usual spot and prepared for the first match. Both teams were due on the water for the second match of the evening, that is, “A” versus “B”! The overall standard this year seemed to me to be higher than in previous years, with local universities fielding quite strong teams, so although the benefit of regular polo training that both teams have received courtesy of Tony Pell was evident, the “B” team still struggled to get any points on the board (or even a shot at goal!). The “A” faired much better, with 4 wins out of 5. Iain and Kiri were making their league debuts for the “B” team and both performed very well. We had a few swimmers and one or two bumps and bruises, but all the players enjoyed the evening very much. After the last match and we were all changed and the kit loaded, we headed off for the customary post-match McDonald’s before setting off back to the lock-up, arriving home tired and ready for bed (us old ones anyway) around midnight.

We have received two reports on the Glanford “A” versus Glanford “B” match:

A Glanford “A” team prospective of the first tournament 08-09 season, by Neil Marley.

After the 2nd tournament of the 07-08 season, where the “B” team went out with a full on cheating tactic, the “A” team was ready for a grudge match, but never got it in the first meeting of the two teams at the start of the 07-08 season. All I can say is that the intimidation started at the Hobbies Centre and luckily the first match of the season was “A” vs. “B” (hahaha, hehehe, revenge (we don’t hold grudges, honest!)). As the whistle blew and the ball hit the water the game was on. Colin sprinted with Jules in support, not sure how but Annie went in but came up paddleless, Bloo was under but with Annie trying to rescue he ended up swimming (no paddle still). The ball came to me, Jules was in a good position and I looked to him, but no! He’s swimming now with a pile of “B” team boats around him! Arrh! I wonder what happened there? Well, with a back pass we were pushing though their lines as most of them were swimming paddleless or crowding Jules. Well lets say a few goals were scored and a few more swims happened, but not by the “A” team, and I think that all the tension that the “A” team had is now gone (hehe!).

Well From an “A” team perspective the rest of the tournament went well. We made a few mistakes which were sometimes exploited, but on the whole we dominated the ball and slowed the matches down to control and probe defences to win 4 of our 5 games, the 5th being Leeds Uni which we knew would be a tougher match. This match felt more like a Hull International match but we are a better team now and managed to only concede a few goals and I think score one too. Many of the other teams don’t know all the rules and foul a lot, so a few stern words were directed at other players and even some of the refs who didn’t know the rules either. We got to the end of the 1st tournament with 4 wins and 1 defeat.