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Water Polo Cuppers: Last year’s victors on the tournament so far

By Dan Lafferty

After a year of training, cuppers has finally arrived. Every player from Queens’ and Darwin has waited the entire year for this opportunity. Expectations are high after our win last year and no one has any intention of letting our trophy slip form our fingers.

The first weekend did not disappoint as Queerwin breezed through every match leaving the opposition scared, scarred and questioning how one side can be so dominant?

Stash – it’s entirely due to our bomb ass stash. C’mon even the uni water polo teams don’t have robes.

We have a few other advantages too: Queerwin is blessed with many strong uni players but the backbone of the team is a large, committed squad which trains twice a week. Whilst most cuppers teams consist of a couple of strong players and a triathlete with a free weekend, every Queerwin player can be relied upon.

Our games are not epic spectacles so much as a ruthlessly clinical operation. Strong opposition players are neutralised, few attacks make it anywhere near our goal, and every mistake by the other side is exploited – a steal, a pass, a goal. The scores, 6-1, 7-1, 6-2, speak for themselves.

With nothing but desolation left on our side of the competition, we look forward to the prospect of fresh meat this weekend. The weak should fear the strong.

 

Women’s Water Polo Varsity Victory

By Laura Schubert

The women’s varsity match of 2017 was truly enjoyable  for the Cambridge team, as they retained their trophy after a 10-3 victory. Though while in the pool the match went by in a blur, memories from the stands, the bench and the pool being you the detail of an hour of action!

The whistle blows and Claudia Feng, a sprinter, competes in the swim off. Although Oxford get the ball, Cambridge’s defence is strong and aware. All the shots are deflected by the goalie Blandine Bénézit, who put in a strong performance throughout the match, and this leads to a corner that is shut down swiftly. An energetic and rapid counter from Cambridge follows and after 5 minutes Captain Laura Schubert bangs the first goal of the match into the top right corner of the very tall shallow end goal.

The next minute sees two exclusions for Oxford, with the first man-up for Cambridge played in practiced 4-2 formation but without goal. The second man-up, however, has Kate Read, as ever looking ridiculously calm every time she holds the ball, fake, and fake again, until the ball is released into the top left corner. The quarter ends Cambridge 2, Oxford 0 and a sentiment of “Yes- we’ve got this!”.

Oxford swap goalies ahead of the second quarter, and Cambridge looks to attack the deep end  with fresh energy in the pool thanks to frequent substitutions directed by women’s coach, Ashley Bygraves. Laura Robinson is sent out in her first Varsity match for closing in on an Oxford player too soon after a foul. The man-down is handled well, with a secure defence, where it seemed to the spectators that Morgan was able to ‘push Oxford against the wall and all over the place’. Either those leg sets pay off or it may just have been easy to stand and push. It’s Cambridge’s attack, and the 30 seconds are nearly over when Schubert kicks away as she turns her defender, she shoots hard and the ball lands in the bottom left corner of the goal. A restart and again Cambridge steals the ball. It is passed from newcomer Ailsa Kiely up to 2m on the right wing, where the team’s lefty, Sarah Flaherty waits in position. A classic move that has saved many a match, the shot from that left hand give Cambridge a lead of 4-0.

The team sees more subs, and Ella Irwin sets up in pit, and when passed the ball tries a backhand twisting shot which narrowly misses. Oxford attack and Read in pit defence holds Oxford to account. But an exclusion for Read gives Oxford the man-up advantage, and their first goal falls. Just 30 seconds later foul words leave Read’s mouth, resulting in her second exclusion of the match. No harm done until Feng is sent out, and Bénézit is out to the test during the man-down defence. The ball hits the crossbar low, bounces down onto the back of her head and into the goal. Oxford’s second goal was a spectacle to watch. Under a minute to go, and Cambridge set up a neat attack.  A clean pass from Feng to Schubert results in a flick shot into the right corner. Communication is key and at halftime Cambridge are are leading 5-2.

Third quarter starts with the reassuring sound of the vuvuzela. Crowds cheer from the stands and one can be sure that the alumni have returned…at least this year there was no drum. Attacking the shallow again, Claudia narrowly loses the swim-off, but within 5 seconds Irwin steals the ball at half way and passes it forward to a sprinting Schubert at 4 meters. She doesn’t stop, and with the defenders on her back a push shot must do to secure Schubert’s fourth goal. After some confusion with substitutions, first 6 players then 8, Cambridge again bring in their newer players Lara Tritton, Ailsa Kiely and Becky Mackett who play their first varsity match with a cool head. But more confusion arose as Oxford scored shot, and despite it being a non-goal, the teams lined up for a restart, while the ball is still in play. Defence in the deep end is held strong, with last year’s Captain Frances Turrell and Francesca Giordaniello keeping the ball away from the pit in this quarter.

Attacking the shallow Oxford’s defence is strong, and so at 30 seconds Schubert dumps the ball in the corner for the second time that match. But too late- the gong has gone and she is excluded for wasting time. Oxford set up their man-up, and a strong shot from ex-Cambridge player Rosanna O’keefe is blocked by Flaherty. Only 30 seconds to go in the quarter, and Cambridge gain another man-up as an Oxford player is excluded for swimming over a Cambridge player. A pass from Schubert to Turrell to Flaherty on the right wing. No shot from there in the shallow, but with the top two pressed out, Flaherty passes back to Schubert on the right post and it’s another goal for Cambridge bringing it to 7-2.

As the final quarter begins there is loud cheering to be heard, and Turrell has her family and colleagues holding a banner as big as a goal up to support. Oxford swap goalie again to no avail, and at one point there are two balls in the water, as the men’s team were already warming up for their match. But this was not before an Oxford player was excluded again, with the man-up in the deep end leading to a deflected shot. Turrell takes the corner and passes to Read in pit who is positioned goal side and shoots but it is saved, resulting in another corner on the right wing. Turrel takes it again and Read shouts ‘they’re pressing – quick 1-2′ so Turrell passes and swiftly receives it back from a flick, shooting unmarked to secure Cambridge’s 8th goal.

Substitutions result in a change in team for fresh energy, and as Oxford attack and wrestle for the ball with Bénézit, Read helps out with a casual grab of costume, leading to her third exclusion – she is wrapped. During the man-down Cambridge steal the ball, and Irwin sets up in pit in the deep. With a well timed pass from Morgan, Irwin shoots and lands the ball in the upper right corner giving Cambridge a 7 goal lead with 4 minutes to go. But Oxford don’t give up, and at 2 minutes left, they score their third goal. Cambridge also play full force, but the ball goes back and forth. With 10 seconds left, the ball is at half way, and Turrell on the left 7 m out. Time is running out: there’s a quick shout, a quick pass, and Turrell has the ball. 3 seconds. She see the goal and wants it. She goes for a lob shot, and miraculously the ball lands smoothly in the bottom right corner as the clock shows 0.01.

The game ends there, 10-3, and the team cannot contain their joy and excitement at the beauty of that last goal. Turrell’s family go wild and she is ecstatic to have ended her fourth and final varsity in that way. Coach Ashley is pushed into the pool by assistant coach Emma Tarrant, and hugs and shouts follow.

Training Camp 2016-2017

This year the Cambridge University Blues swim team again embarked on their annual training camp.  The team again visited the Sports Abroad training facility in Oasis Papagayo Resort, Feurtaventura for the third year running.

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Over the course of the week, the team consisting of 10 men and 5 women completed 26 hours in the outdoor pool, covering 78km in the water, 6 hours of land training and hiked one volcano.

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The purpose of the yearly training camp is to provide the members with one final large aerobic block of work, to allow the team to hone their fitness and provide a running start into the final weeks before their Varsity Match.  It is because of this desire to obtain a good deal of fitness that the team is forced to swim such large distances on camp. This lead to a number of challenge sets being swam throughout the week, in particular a gruelling set of 101 x 100m on the very last day of camp.

 

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Speaking on the progress made over the week, swimming captains Dominic Holloway and Amy Felgate had the following to say. “ The training camp in Fuerteventura was once again a huge success. 15 swimmers headed out to the Canary Islands in the New Year and faced a 35 hour week of training (more if you count climbing the volcano). Despite the relentless pool and land work-outs the team morale was excellent throughout and everyone found the week exceptionally rewarding. Now back in Cambridge the squad has its eyes set firmly on the Varsity Match on February 25th and are training harder than ever with their new found fitness.”

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Good luck to the team from everyone at Bluebird and we look forward to hearing their results.  The swimming Varisty Match takes place on Saturday the 25th of February.

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Match Report: Women Draw With Surrey

By Chantelle Doran

It might have been short notice, 48 hours in fact, but with high team spirits from our win against Oxford on Sunday, we rallied the troops and eagerly awaited our 3rd match of the season against the Surrey Stags. After our busy days and the challenge to even find our zip cars, we finally set off with Spotify in toe and made our way to Surrey’s incredible pool. It knocks the socks off ours, but The Leys is home and we love it (ish)!

Upon meeting Surrey’s captain, we were once again expecting a friendly Upolo match because, like us, they also had newbies on their team; and apparently the girls weren’t planning on any costume grabbing in the game – oh, how times changed when the whistle was first blown! Still, a massive shout out here to Katie Puhorit (‘always on the wing when needed’), Beki Mills and Eleonora Garau for amazing first matches for Cambridge – we’re so proud of you girls!

Our first quarter was hugely promising, with goals from Lucy Morgan [(wonder) woman of the match for amazing attack, goal scoring, as well as a fantastic attempt in goal!], Ella Irwin (always on form) and, our very own captain, Laura Schubert. With only 2 goals being scored the Surrey ladies, we were up and on target after the first 7 minutes.

Lucy Morgan scored again in the 2nd quarter, with a fantastic shot. So, despite a 3rd goal by Surrey’s Buttle, we were leading 4-3 at the halfway stage. Hopes were high after our 3 newbies all played fantastically, making their debuts in this quarter. Despite this, it was perhaps the 3rd quarter and lack of conversions in these 7 minutes that saw our weakest part of the match. Legs were tiring and, unfortunately, with fouls not being blown (to our new coach Ashley’s dismay), it was all-square with only the final quarter to go. We weren’t giving up though because that simply is not the Cambridge way.

The last quarter was exceptionally tight, with Schubert and Irwin once again showing what fantastic players they are, scoring 2 and 1 goal(s), respectively. The scoreboard remained at 7-6 for a while, and we had so almost clinched the victory. We defended hard, but the home captain showed her form and with less than 1 minute to go it was 7-7. With 42 seconds to play, we had one final attack, only for Irwin to come so close by hitting the bar. The final 34 seconds were, therefore, extremely tense as we could not allow Surrey to score in their final counterattack. More nerve-wracking still was that the Surrey girls were awarded a corner with 5 seconds to go. Screams like “press” and “play down the clock” came from the bench, and that’s exactly what we did. The final whistle was blown; and, although we were so close to the victory, a draw of 7-7 is still one to be proud of!

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Now, all exhausted and smelling of chlorine but still smiling, it was almost time for us to say goodbye and make the 2 hour journey home. Our roadtrip was great, but by 1am we were all home safely and ready for bed. Only our wonderfully supportive captain could fully describe the feeling at the end of the trip, “For some strange reason, I enjoy driving 4 hours on a Tuesday night and splashing around in chlorinated liquid for an hour; and it’s mostly because of the fact I’m playing with all of you, seeing you all (and myself too) improve every time, and knowing I’ll get home again because you’re in the car with me shouting directions/whispering ‘red light’!”

It may be a goodbye for now, but roll on Saturday against Bristol. Good luck girls – you’ll ace it!

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Match Report: Women Trounce O*ford 10-7

The first time we face O*ford this season – game one of three, culminating in the most important match of the year. And what a wonderful match it was. The second match of the season brought in more new players and a better-established strategy regarding the attack. We did some good passing down the wings to work it found the arc. 2-first-quarter goals were from Frances Turrell and one was from Captain Schubert (her first of many this game). That along with our solid defence gave us an early lead, putting pressure on Oxford for the rest of the match.

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Intensity high before the match began

The second quarter was a little tougher with one shot sneaking past from O*ford returned only towards the end of the quarter by Schubert. But still an impressive commitment from our defence prevailed, even through several man-down situations; thanks to the defence and Bénézit’s goal keeping we managed to keep the 3-point gap.

We got back to our top form in the third quarter with 3 points scored by Schubert and Irwin, setting up some formidable attacks and getting the whole team involved for the goals. Our cohesive performance and the use of a pre-game tactics session paid off and we kept our focus throughout. But it may be time to bring back the ‘more you shoot the more you score’ chant as a few opportunities for scoring went unused after hard work to get the ball in.

However, the final quarter brought with it some tiredness – as can only be expected after a hard worked game. The result was a few missed opportunities, especially when attempting new man-up defences. Three shots still whizzed past the O*ford goalie, as we managed to keep our spatial awareness and keep our eyes on O*fords defence. And so we maintained our three goal lead from the beginning, and held on for a win!

Huge congratulations to Hobson and Tritton for their first games playing for Cambridge, and to Schubert for an incredible scoring record, and determined play earning her the title of woman of the match!

We look forward to beating you again in February O*ford. #GDBO #Varsity2k17

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Match Report: Men’s 2nds Go Down In Poetry

The Birmingham match, not a pretty affair,
It was men vs gorillas (with extreme body hair);
Though Phil scored our first wonder goal of the match,
They’d ordered goals in a much larger batch;

James took a firing, from their giant team,
And lines like “GET BACK”, “NOT AGAIN”, did he scream;
With a goal in each quarter, we put up a fight,
And the odd long-range shot, with goal barely in sight;

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A bench all too happy to offer advice,
And if one ball went out we threw two more in, twice!
A final goal scored by our MVP, V,
He kept a cool head in this game, tough and messy;

But this bumbling, Birmingham band of baboons,
Sadly took home victory on this afternoon.
The bus driver’s bubbly soon drowned all our sorrows,
On reflection it wasn’t so bad, we supposed:

More likes on our pictures, so Ganendra says,
Our resident expert on FB likes for days,
It wasn’t all-bad, though the score was a landslide;
We’ll be coming back stronger, and take this in our stride.

– Cameron Wallis

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Match Report: Women vs KCL

After just two weeks of training, the women’s water polo team travelled down to the Leys for their first match. I use the word ‘travelled’ as a force of habit; this is one of the only games that won’t include at least an hour-long journey to reach a pool that complies with water polo regulations. But I digress.

Expecting a friendly Upolo match, and still awake given there was no long drive, the women approached the game without too much apprehension. The first quarter showed promise, as the team kept a close eye and solid defence on KCL’s stronger players. Only one shot whizzed past the new goalie Blandine Bénézit. Shortly thereafter, Feng fired a return goal in to make it known that we weren’t only here for the fun.

The second quarter saw Cambridge’s strongest attack, yielding a total of five goals against KCLs two. But just as our scoring picked up, so the more light hearted nature of the game decreased. Former Captain Turrell victoriously retaliated against some aggressive play with a goal, mixed in with another solid two from Captain Schubert. Confusion over the rules of playing in a shallow pool did not interfere with the team’s defence as they implemented a few drops onto KCL’s stronger players. As the quarter drew to a close, the Cambridge women were feeling comfortable setting into a 6-3 lead.

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                                                     YAASSS!

But as the game drew on, it got much less attractive. The last quarter was filled with intensity, as KCL surged back, eager to prove the game was not yet over. With some ‘unfavourable’ refereeing, KCL pounded in five goals against the frustrated Cambridge team. But a highlight of the quarter was a decisive shot from Flaherty her second of the game, proving once again that Canadians are a real asset to our team (I’m not biased I swear). The shot boosted morale and the team surged back stronger in the last few minutes, but alas it was not and the final score fell 9-11 for a KCL victory.

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Despite the loss, a hearty congratulations goes out to Lamaison, Giordaniello, Talarmain, and Bénézit for their first game for Cambridge. There was plenty of potential in the water and the team looks forward to harnessing it for the match against O*ford next week, where they will be welcoming even more of the new squad into the water.

 

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Match Report: Men’s Weekend of Success

Bishops Stortford Tournament and KCL

Mens Tournament

Cambridge 1st Team 1-1 Army
After a fantastic land warm up by the team which included a walk to the wrong school in Bishops Stortford, the team were in great spirits before the tournament. Whilst we were somewhat intimidated by the army team’s large rigs and receding hairlines, one look at our very own man mountain Balint calmed our concerns of a physical mismatch. A defensive lockdown from both sides and some interesting shooting from our own team led to the 1-1 draw. Man of the Match went to Niall O Caoimh for a stunning shift in defence with highlights including, blocking literally 18 shots, and being Irish.

Cambridge 1st Team 9-2 Old Storts Team
This game was summed up by one man and one man only, that is Youssef ‘Bulldog’ Badr. His roller coaster of emotions started with the original team email where his name was sadly outside the privileged 13 to grace the first team. After a few people were subjected to rants and a passive aggressive message or two later, Youssef found himself on the train down to Bishops Stortford for the big tournament. Both in attack and defence in this game Youssef excelled and shone brighter than anyone else, clearly his keen training over summer has proved useful. A personal highlight is his assisting pass to Adam, which reminded me of Paul Scholes picking out a teammate’s big toe from 90 yards across Old Trafford. Long live Badr.

Cambridge 1st Team 3-3 Colchester
Coming off a high in the last game came a stern test against club side Colchester. Whilst they possessed a few decent players in their arsenal, it seemed their tactics were nothing short of disgusting. Implementing child labour strategies as we faced off against what can only be described as a pre-pubescent collection of conscious bones. Whilst the game seemed to be under control, in the last two minutes we squandered the game with poor defence of annoying route one polo. Man of the match went to Adam ‘incredibly American’ Streeter for his display just after half time as he proceeded to pull off exactly what he explained in the team talk and pull an unwitting victim into pit and savagely slammed the ball home. His performance was improved by phrases such as ‘Big D’ and ‘Great O guys’.

Cambridge 1st Team 3-2 O*ford
GDBO GDBO GDBO. I love beating O*ford, even though I said I didn’t care, I really do. We controlled the whole game and they only had a shot when Rhys had an interesting understanding of the word ‘slide in to the corner’. The best bit was that no matter who we put in the pool we still spanked them back to that horrible excuse of a university they hail from. One man (basically a child) stood out in his abuse of their scattered defences. Ben ‘probably TJ’ TD was pinging them in from literally anywhere and was only denied a beautiful hat trick by some dubious reffing. A great start to the season for our fledgling prodigy.

We came 2nd in the tournament behind only O*ford, although we all know who the real winners are.

Cambridge 2nd Team 8-5 KCL Men’s team

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A quick team talk before seizing victory

An unbeaten weekend was capped off by a valiant display by our 2nd team against a decent Kings College London team. With the team 3-5 down going into the final quarter, a combination of stellar coaching by yours truly (mostly that I feel) and the combination of V’s 5 metre shooting with Balint’s dominance in pit meant the team cruised to an 8-5 win in style. It truly was men against boys. Man of the Match was easily rewarded to Brian in net as he saved shot after shot after shot. The other team was basically shooting at a reinforced brick wall with arms and a soothing American accent. And wihle our game predominantly followed the rules of the sport, I’m sure the women’s team can let you know how their subsequent ‘water polo game’ against the KCL women went. Hint: slightly less rule-abidingly.

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The men in clear control

 

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Newsletter 2015 -2016

Dear CUSWPC Alumni,

I would like to introduce myself as the President of CUSWPC this year.

Over the past couple of years, successive CUSWPC Presidents have focussed on strengthening ties between current members and our alumni. Last year, President Isobel Firth and Tadpoles’ President Lydia Woodward made fantastic progress in reviving our alumni mailing list and hosted a hugely successful Tadpoles’ Dinner. The next step is to keep you up-to-date with the club’s news.

Continue reading

CUSWPC Water Polo Trials

The new year is upon us, and with it a new season of water polo, filled with BUCS matches, socials, and varsity! If your interested in joining the men’s or women’s water polo team drop by our stall at the freshers fair, sign up, or come down to trials!

Saturday the 8th of October at the Leys School Pool
Womens: 3:15-5pm
Mens: 6:15-7:45pm

Feel free to message us on facebook or contact the women’s captain, Laura Schubert (ls668), or the men’s co-captains, Rob Gourely (rg528) and Joseph Wu (jw895), if you have any questions!