Nothing beats paddling in the sun... http://t.co/EuRP3ytUB0
Nothing beats paddling in the sun... http://t.co/EuRP3ytUB0
Fancy reading about how Durham got on at BUCS polo 2015? Well you're in luck, head over to the website to find out!
Approximately 4,523 weeks after 4 score and 7 years ago Durham uni canoe club ventured forth to BUCS polo 2015. The majority of the team went down to Doncaster on the Friday night, with the exception being me, who due to a vital derby couldn’t come up until the Saturday night #bleedslightlymauve. So while everyone else was travelling up I was learning a rather interesting fact about ants in a fantastically timed lecture on Friday evening: you can determine ants gender by if the float or not; if the sink = girl ant and if they float = boy ant. The main event on the way up seems to be Harry’s decision that his true calling in life is as a highway maintenance worker. Who knows where this desire came from, Harry himself does not seem to know the exact moment when he knew, but the moment of truth came when nearing the end of the journey. With roadwork’s on the leftmost lane a gap in the cones was suddenly before him. A chance to live the never before realised dream was suddenly his. He hit the gap. He could hear the shouts of support (that definitely weren’t of terror) from the passengers of the car. After an all too brief moment of euphoria he remembered the polo competition, he knew that roadwork’s would always be there waiting for him, it was time to head out of another gap and back onto the actual road and meet his destiny at BUCS polo 2015.
In order to prepare best for the weekends polo, the team did as all top athletes do and went out for a carvery. Given the inevitable rigors of the competition to come, Ant Stewart, Harry Ward and Dan Sheppard went for the King Size option. According to my calculations this meal consisted of a solid 2,322 kcal of pure health. Dan and Ant had sufficient commitment to the team to finish and be raring to go for the next day’s exertions.
When the team arrived in the morning they were simply inundated with expressions of admiration for the Team Durham kit tent, some walking past with open looks of jealousy and awe. To continue the display of dominance the ladies team beat Teeside 3-0 in the earliest game of the day. The men’s A team clearly saw this result and decided that Teeside hadn’t suffered sufficiently at the polo ball wielding hands of Durham and won a fairly convincing 14-0 win. It is also possible that they were just making the point that the single digit score boards were inadequate for their requirements. The B team could sadly not continue this winning trend and succumbed to Nottingham in a closely contested 1-0 defeat. In Durham’s fourth game of the day the women’s team showed the B team how it was done by beating the not a proper northern university of Manchester by a resounding 5 goals to 0. The men’s A’s frankly let themselves down in the next game, maybe it was complacency, or possibly they didn’t want it enough. The 10-0 win shows this well, barely reaching double figures; disgraceful. Much like the sea at 8.59 in South Shields that very same day, the tides were turning for the B team. A 3-1 victory over Birmingham B gave the team a much needed boost. While all these games were going on the old boys team was officially being remarkably consistent by losing every game they played 3-0. The reality is much less neat, what with variable scores in every match. However winning every match by approximately all the goals to very few or none cannot be complained about too much.
Our afternoon games kicked (thrown?) off with the women’s team suffering a 3-1 to one of the few alliteratively titled teams in the competition; London ladies. Durham B drawing their next game against Leeds B 2-2 (wordplay was definitely not the result of a typo). The ladies team ensured Southampton were moving south with a 4-1 win. The results document I’m checking the scores against tells me this game was a knockout game, so Southampton may not have been moving south, possibly sideways, it’s hard to tell with polo. The men’s A’s recorded a 10-0 win against Sheffield as the day approached the evening, which I think was the joint second highest score of the weekend, being only equalled and beaten by themselves in earlier rounds. A comparatively normal score came next for the men’s A’s against Warwick, however I am assured that the 4-0 victory should have been more with Matt Fletcher especially rueing a dip in his performance in front of goal.
For reasons that remain somewhat of a mystery we went out to eat at Sambuca Doncaster that evening, a restaurant that the especially observant among you will notice is one of the 3 places to eat out in Durham. After witnessing Doncaster’s finest specimens of sophistication on the way from the train station, I joined up with the team, filling in for Ant while he met the queen. Also getting on the wrong train because you were looking at train times for the next day on your phone is totally something everyone has done and very much not something that one should feel embarrassed about. After the meal everyone got the proper amount of sleep of about 5 and a half hours, though part of that was my fault for staying up to watch Hull city’s triumph over Crystal Palace, the first of two clean sheets in a row, the first in the premier league since 2013. I digress however from the beds that inexplicably had a hard rope like border around the outside that would offer the optimal comfort to someone with grooves in their ankles. I hear the double beds were great though, so I’m not at all jealous about that.
The morning was another early one with a surprisingly good breakfast from a travel (probably) inn. Anyone that complains about muffins for breakfast is someone you don’t need in your life. As the planned leaving time of 6.30 came and went Beth Barratt in particular being especially calm. Upon arriving at the competition I got my first glimpse of a remarkably graffiti free pretentious, a majestic sight indeed. The ladies team got their warm up going, which given the temperature was rather necessary (ice on the cars cold is not a fun temperature). Exciting times lay ahead for the ladies against another alliterative team (two in two days is a treat indeed!), Lancaster Ladies. 2 goals was enough to ensure that by the end a loss would have been sheer LUNE-acy. I think it was around this gap that Ellie Bacon announced that a bee had stung her, only for her to retract this a few seconds later when she realised it was her jacket zip, wild times indeed. The B’s had their first match of the day at the time of 10.20 against Sheffield B. It was a close game with only a goal from myself separating the two teams (narcissism what?). The game turned out to be one of abundant binning, much to the delight of the crowd. One such occasion meant I had to splash over to the front of a member of the other team’s boat to T rescue myself, in not my most elegant moment. Also it wouldn’t be a proper polo match if I didn’t get a green card, so I earned one by throwing the ball at one of the other team’s head when “trying” to give the ball back. The rest of Durham have a much less lax attitude towards sportsmanship, so no cards were needed in the women’s 4-0 win over Bristol. The approaching sun and its delicate warmth seemed to inspire the team to a solid victory.
It is now that controversy struck. The time was 12.00, the pitch was 4. The ladies were drawing 1-1 with Warwick. It is then that one of the Warwick team got binned and failed to roll back up and took a swim. The ref called a timeout, for some reason. The player subbing on then paddled onto the pitch before the swimmer had all their kit behind the goal. The ref also allowed this for some reason. So Durham were not a player up due to a yellow card for an illegal substitution. The game went to extra time. Emma Kirk was binned and in a rather poor display of sportsmanship (not that I can talk) 2 nearby Warwick players did not rescue her, despite Emma having done that for another Warwick player earlier in the match. Warwick unfortunately got the winner soon after. Dan Robson was banned from the waterside for his protests against the refereeing decisions. Given Dan is well known for his angry and expletive ridden outbursts, this is to be somewhat understood. The Warwick coach openly told one of the refs to duck (you know what I mean) off, and received no censure. Where is justice (apart from isolated parts of the arctic). The result meant the ladies finished 4th, which is a great achievement, no matter the manner of the last game.
The A’s played their first game of the day at 13.00, with blood boiling thick in the veins due to the wrong that had been delivered upon Durham. The team that had the misfortune of standing (or sitting?) in their way was Nottingham, a good team, that could not withstand the march of the righteous as they succumbed to a 6-1 defeat. I did not hear any chants of “Matt Fletcher, he scores when he wants”, but around now it would never have been more appropriate. Shout out to Tom Rawlings, Steve Hopkins and Mark Ledger for having the audacity to line up against Birmingham in a 3v5 game. They sadly lost 2-1, but given they were 2 men down, this was a very good effort. The B’s had their second game of the day against the 4 man Southampton B. Kudos to them for getting so far with a 4 man team, but defeat was all that was awaiting them on this particular afternoon that was getting pleasantly warm. A hand roll of redemption for me and what Harry described as the best day ever when he rolled back up to find the ball sitting there waiting for him. The 2-0 win was a tough one, but well earned. It also meant we finished 9th overall (Rumours going around that thats really the best place to come). After a rather chilly morning there was an unacceptably large amount of complaining about the heat in the afternoon, with a hunt for sun cream consuming some those of the club of a more ginger persuasion. In a very karmically satisfying game Loughborough ladies went on to beat Warwick 5-0. I did get shouted at my Eleanor Marshall for going to help Warwick retrieve a ball in that game though, in what can best be described as holding a grudge.
The only game left for Durham was the Men’s A final against Loughborough. The team displayed their shooting skills to the crowd at the only goal with a large hole and spectators sitting behind it. I can only assume they were trying to intimidate the crowd. With Jasz don’t ask me to try and spell your full name Blows hiding behind her hands, the game begun. It wasn’t tense for very long with Durham reaching a 5-0 lead by half time and dominating the half. The game was more even in the second half, with Durham failing to find the net more than once and conceding only the second goal all tournament. Matt Fletcher adding a few more to his tally to be Durham’s top scorer. There was never a serious threat (he says knowing the final result). The 6-1 result meant Durham retained their title, and given the fact the trophy was a new one, Durham’s name is all that is on there. The group photos of the proud competitors are all on the facebook page and I'll tweet them as well. Big thanks to James Cochran for stepping in at literally (not literally) the last minute to complete the B team despite never having played polo before. Also shout out to Jasz for losing Harry while he stood in front of her. On the way back to Durham some rather good fish and chips were had in Boroughbridge. I mention this as it was here that Ellie chased some ducks and Harry was shocked by a Heron. Given this is the canoe club I feel that’s a suitable note to end on.
Men’s A: Dan Robson, Dan Taylor, Scott Creswell, Matthew Fletcher, Mark Stillings, Steve Hopkins and Beth Barratt.
Ladies: Beth Barratt, Eleanor Marshall, Eleanor Bacon, Parissa Gregg, Issy Braddock and Emma Kirk.
Men’s B’s: Alastair Paterson, Dan Sheppard, Harry Ward, James Cochran, Ant Stewart and Liam Price
Another fantastic BUCS performance by DUCC! Well done to all that came along to help support or compete! Durham... http://t.co/PCKhtGJxDe
BUCS end of day 1 update: Men's A - 15-0 v Teeside, 10-0 v Cardiff, 10-0 v Sheffield, 4-0 v Warwick. Ladies - 5-0 v Man, 3-1 v ULU, [1/2]
BUCS update: Men's B rising back up with a 3-1 victory against Birmingham B, goals by Stewart, Sheppard and Ward #phoenix
BUCS update: two strong >10-0 wins for Men's A v Teeside/Cardiff, Ladies win 5-0 v Man. Men's B narrow 0-1 loss v Notts. #bleedpalatinate
Five of us headed down to Liverpool for the final Div 4 tournament of the season. In our first game against Manners, Anthony started us out with our first goal in what became a 1-1 draw.
Our second game was against the home team LCC Salthouse. A hattrick from Steve, two goals from Anthony and a goal each from Emma and Mark saw us win comfortably with a final score of 7-0.
Next up we faced Red Rose. We did well to keep then honest but a bad pass allowed them a shot at an empty goal and despite a few good runs from Mark and Anthony we never made this back, losing 1-0.
Our fourth game was the hardest, playing Kingston C who had four players trying out for GB U21s. We did well to make it to half time at 1-1 with a goal from Anthony, but in the second half we struggled and despite a great goal from Steve, we lost 4-2.
We were looking forward to our final game against Dee Valley in which we were hopeful for a good result, however, they never showed :/
We did well to play some great polo against much stronger teams. The Durham team was Steve, Anthony, Mark Stillings, Emma and Dan Price. Steve scored the most goals and Anthony managed to win the ball off all 8 sprints.
We'll have to wait to see where we came overall in the league bit we put in some strong performances and think we came between third and fifth depending on goal difference.
Game 4 against four of the GB U21 squad, played well to reach half time at 1-1 but ultimately lost 4-2 :/
A win, a draw and a loss for our div 4 team with 2 games left #bleedpalatinate 7-0, 1-1 and 0-1
There have been some great contests through the course of sporting history, some may point to the title decider between Liverpool and Arsenal in 1989, others may go to the Republic of Ireland reaching the quarter finals of the 1990 world cup in Italy (the more observant among you will notice a sporting theme with those examples). So it came to be that Durham university ventured to the Dolphin center in Darlington to face Kayak Northumbria and Newcastle A and B in the local league contest (of the century, if you fancy some wild hyperbole). The trip started off on a positive note when I found my hat that i'd left in the back of ledger's car, which I'm sure you will all be relieved to hear. Upon arriving it transpired that Northumbria had not brought any boats, which in the immortal words of Pepper Brooks is "a bold strategy Cotton, lets see how it pays off for him". Fortunately for them they borrowed some of Newcastle's boats, so the contest wasn't over before it had begun. The same could not be said for the first game between Northumbria and Newcastle, wherein it was 1-0 on the way to 9-0 within virtually the first play (may or may not be a polo term that). The first game for Durham came next, with a decent first performance against Newcastle B resulting in a warranted 6-2 victory. A mention must go to Ant Stewart for a hat trick (no idea if this is a thing in polo either). Newcastle A came next and provided a tougher game, though the same goal difference. Steve Hopkins netting twice to bring his tally to three helped bring about a 4-0 win. This meant that a big game against Northumbria was set up for the mid way point through the contest. The game was closer than the resulting 5-2 scoreline suggests, and Mark Ledger keeping us in the game with some fine saves and a brace of goals was arguably key. Emma Kirk's anger at everything in the vicinity was also invaluable in defense. It was around this time that Emma found the opposition to be just insufficiently interesting and did some maths instead.
A pair of goals from Ant and Steve meant Newcastle B were seen off 4-2, in a much closer contest than the first game. This match contained the only card of the afternoon, for me, for a really rather blatant foul. I then had to try and get the german referee to explain to me what a green card meant, which meant he just explained what the card was for several times. As he didn't seem to be expecting me to be leaving the pitch i assumed this meant all was fine and I could carry on. The following game against Newcastle A was similar to the previous one against the B team, with a closer 3-0 victory than last time. Northumbria winning the rest of their matches meant a key finale was set up, wherein a win or a draw would mean Durham would be bleeding victorious palatinate, whereas a win for Northumbria would put us level on points. I assume this would mean goal difference would decide the winner, which would likely mean a win for the relatively local rivals. A relatively close contest meant it was 2-0 to Durham with a few seconds remaining, truly a fantastic result, well deserved given the higher than normal standard of play we were playing to. A late opposite of a consolation goal came when a Northumbria player inexplicable passed the ball to me mid attack, which enabled a through ball to Ant who slotted into an empty net to seal the victory. This meant Durham finished top overall with a 100% record and 3 clean sheets, something certainly to be proud of. Ant was annoyed the only sprints he lost were against Newcastle B, so I won't mention that. Some faulty scoring meant that Parisa Gregg's goal was not recorded, which I'm sure the league officials will want a full investigation into. Shout out to Emma for playing through pain that required a bunch of prescription strength painkillers. The team celebrated as true athletes should with curry, which was packed with nutrients and is undeniably the best food for post match recovery.
Team: Harry Ward, Emma Kirk, Ant Stewart, Steve Hopkins Parisa Gregg, Mark Ledger, Issy Braddock and Liam Price.
Top scorer: Ant with 8
Last weekend the club ventured down to the white water course at Holme Pierrepont near Nottingham to take part in the largest kayaking event in the world (apparently). For those of you that haven't been/heard about NSR, it's a this weekend of partying that happens to have a playboating competition added on the side. For the boating side of things we had fairly solid representation this year, in a decent range of classes. We had an highlight with our captain Harry Ward reaching the beginners final, and while we were thoroughly entertained by his efforts, he could not compete with pie throwing and baguette paddling for the win. We had Ben Roberts performing valiantly to represent the club in the intermediate section, despite having virtually never playboated (maybe a word) before. Ant Stewart definitely deserved his place in the expert category, with loops, a helix and even a space godzilla being thrown about. For those that wish for demonstrations of this and other fabulously named tricks have a trip to the barrage and I'm sure Ant will be more than happy to demonstrate (cheeky session plug). I on the other hand thoroughly did not deserve my place with the experts, though I was happy to liven up the afternoon of the safety crews, who were looking a little bored at the time. Ellie Bacon showed much keenness in the women's intermediate section, it only took Harry's suggestion to start and enter the wave to get her going, determined to get an immediate adventage over her rivals. This would have course been a good plan had the run actually started. A decent duo run by Dan Sheppard and last minute sub Jason Pompeus meant they reached the duo heats. A rather large stick was inserted into the rotating bike wheel of life when the duo was on a car picking up Erica from the station at the time of the aforementioned heat. Our final result came from Ant gatecrashing the C1 competition in a boat borrowed from Newcastle uni, where he would have come third, had he bothered to pay for an entry.
As a plug for next years NSR, I highly recommend it, whatever level of paddling ability you have, you will fit in somewhere, whether its throwing mad shapes at the pro end, or having as much fun as possible getting wet in the beginners! There are some great prizes up for offer as well, from boats, paddles to your very own throwline to show off to all your friends. Another reason to come is the rodeo rabbit, which upon tackling to the ground will give you some prizes, as opposed to the restraining order you would normally get in other circumstances. The party mentioned earlier must of course get some more words written about it. On the first night on the Friday everyone has a good time and definitely does not swear off all alcohol ever again the morning after, absolutely does not miss their run due to a hang over and most certainly does not injure themselves jumping off ledges. On the Saturday is the themed night, so this year it was carnival theme, so we all purpled up our clothes and acquired purple hair and scales courtesy of Eleanor and Emma to make our dragon. This evening was one of moderation, which caused no one to get up in the afternoon only when tents got taken down and it can be categorically be stated that no one managed to arrange their airbed so that they fell asleep sitting upright. An unlikely positive outcome of the weekend was the discovery of the joy of waking up to the animal hospital theme on repeat, endlessly. For those that have not had this distinct privilege of this, I encourage you to venture to youtube (other video streaming services are available) to try it on for size. The weekend was ended with lengthy discussion in Sambuca (other restaurants named after drinks are available) about whether jaffa cakes contain apricots or not, initiated by Mark's brithday cake. Despite it being a rather tiring weekend, it was great fun and would really recommend it to everyone in the club, I hope to see many of you there next year.
This last saturday was the day of the AGM, the momentous day when the new exec is voted in. In a much more democratic way than when Valentinian I became the Roman emperor on the same day in 364, it must be said given that question will inevitably be asked. The club gathered in the hallowed seat of democracy that is Elvet Riverside 141 to assess all the candidates. Such questions as if you were a vegetable what would you be or can you roll yet tested the wits of the candidates to the very limit. This was followed by a round of voting for each position. It is with great pleasure that I can inform any of you that haven't heard of the results of the new exec:
Captain: Harry Ward
Vice-captain: Ant Stewart
Vice-captain (Stockton): Alastair Paterson
Treasurer: Issy Braddock
Trip officer: Ben Roberts
Kit and safety officer: Steve Hopkins
Social sec: Eleanor Bacon
Info sec: Liam Price
A large amount of thanks must be given to the previous exec for the work and effort they have put in this past year. We must of course now look forward to what will hopefully be a great year for the club and all the paddling it may contain!