Div 4 – who would have thought water would cause canoeists such problems

So 3rd week saw the canoe polo A team challenge teams from across the south west for the third time this season at the mighty sport. Sadly it wasn’t our day.

The afternoon began with a drive wade to the shed that was worrying and even more so when the sailors from next door had said the water had risen a foot in the last hour, would we ever escape from the shed let alone make it to the tournament? Luckily we did.

Boats loaded we headed for Cheltenham, via the 5 pence toll booth, I got lost in Cheltenham again, reassuring theme. Tried to reverse in sixth gear and then nearly took our Chris’ car with my bonnet that was longer than I thought, but we had made it, we unloaded, changed and started to warm up thinking we had half an hour until our first match. Sadly not, a couple of teams hadn’t shown and they messed around the playing order resulting in us playing first which wasn’t ideal. Our first match was against Bristol pitbulls and our heads weren’t in the game, and although Joachim scored a great goal, bouncing off the keeper’s paddles and into the top corner we still lost 6-1.

One match off to get our heads screwed on and ready for our next match against the mighty foe, Cardiff Bs, easily the strongest team at the tournament. Although we played stoically with some great saves from a number of our players, and two strong goals from Eike, Cardiff came in for the killing putting 8 shots away in our net.

A bit more rest and some much needed food prepared us for our last official match of the day. Avon E’s the target, they looked our best hope of securing a win that day. We suffered heavily from some terrible reffing, but Eike was able to put away a good shot in the first half and we defended well only letting two in. During the second half a player from Avon made the mistake of spectacularly underestimating the ferocity of the ref and got sent off with a yellow for two minutes for asking for clarification about a foul. Sadly we weren’t able to take full advantage of this as the Avon players stalled for time. However Joachim scored two more goals but Avon were able to match them bringing the final score to 4-3 to Avon.

Eike retaliated to the poor reffing by pulling up the previous ref on a number of points during the next game, although he perhaps could have pulled out a red card when the player threw a water bottle at Joachim’s head when asked to remove it from his BA.

We played a few scratch games which was good for our technique but we ended up staying longer than we intending, resulting in us not getting back to Oxford until 10pm. Probably not helped by Jack’s navigation taking us a truly scenic route that got us high enough that the wind was so ridiculous that when Tom and I got out to check the straps we could hardly open the doors for the force of the wind pushing them shut. As we approached Oxford we started to drive down Binsey lane and the water was worryingly deep. By the time we got to the gate for the track it was pretty clear we didn’t want to go down it by car or foot, the water was not just sat on it a foot deep as it had been in the morning it was actually flowing across it.

So we returned to drier land, but Tom wanted his bike that was stranded at the gate by the flood water, so Chris drove slowly through the floods while Eike held the bike steady out of the window, it was quite a ridiculous site to see ( video to follow).

The boats and kit needed to go somewhere as the cars needed to go back to the hire company etc without it. So Matt agreed to brave the wrath of his scout and Tom his housemates to take the boats, while I took the BA and smaller stuff knowing full well that my scout would kick up a fuss, but given I think that is her hobby I wasn’t too concerned.

With all that sorted I returned the hire car just after midnight, having spent 15 mins at the petrol station trying to work out how to open the fuel cap before giving up and poking it at which point it opened ( typical).
If you would like to get involved with Polo email me ( the polo captain), my email address should be on the committee page, and you will be welcomed onto the squad.

Hi, I’m Sophie