Category Archives: Water Polo

Women’s Water Polo Varsity 2022 Report

February 26th 2022
Rosenblatt Pool, Oxford
Cambridge Women’s Firsts 4, Oxford Women’s Firsts 16
Cambridge Women’s Seconds 8, Oxford Women’s Seconds 6

February 26th saw the continuation of the most recent developments in the history of the Varsity match, that being the addition of a Woman’s Second team first established in 2019. Due to the disruption in 2021, most players from the Women’s side were playing their first varsity match.

Following in the footsteps of the Men’s Seconds victory, the Women’s Second’s team similarly put on a convincing show of water polo strength in a game characterised by efficiency and determination. With the help of several women from the swimming team, the Second’s victory can be attributed to the streamlined use of the wings and the numerous counter attacks as a result of clear communication and supplementary swimming power. This match proved to be a great opportunity for the development of the Second’s squad – led by Captain Libby Jervis – with the final score of 8-6 showing how hard work pays off.

The day concluded with the Women’s First match which arguably was a prime case of similar, if not nearly equal ability, but diverging levels of execution. Cambridge, winning three out of the four swim-offs convincingly utilised the fitness gained from the intense six-week team training programme, ensuring that Oxford were given a run for their money. The first half of the match was very much dominated by the opposition, with a half-time score of 7-0. However, the switch in sides seemed to mirror a switch in attitude within the team and after a time-out, Cambridge scored their first goal with five seconds to spare. This renewed sense of confidence was carried into the last quarter whereby the First team’s goalkeeper did an excellent job keeping Oxford’s shots at bay, whilst the rest of the team worked to reduce the goal difference. Despite the team’s persistence, Oxford’s accuracy on goal meant that the final result was 16-4, and a loss to Cambridge.

Anna Leeson
Women’s Water Polo Captain 2021-2022  

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Men’s Water Polo Varsity 2022 Report

February 26th 2022
Rosenblatt Pool, Oxford
Cambridge Men’s Firsts 12, Oxford Men’s Firsts 20
Cambridge Men’s Seconds 10, Oxford Men’s Seconds 7

February 26th saw the 121st Men’s Firsts Varsity match, and the 9th Men’s Seconds Varsity match, bringing the BUCS seasons to a close for both the firsts and seconds teams. This was most players’ first varsity match, as no match had been played in 2021.

Following the alumni varsity match, the Men’s Seconds were first up, in a close match dominated by open play and counterattacks. Early goals from pit man Thomas Gaertner and captain Zach Lyttle, converting a man up, opened the first minute of play, with the first quarter ending 4-3 following Oxford’s failure to convert two man-ups at the end of this quarter, setting the tone of the match. The second and third quarters saw Cambridge steadily pull ahead, to 6-4 and then 8-5, through further goals from Zach Lyttle and Thomas Gaertner, leading to a final score of 10-7.

The Men’s Firsts match was the penultimate match of the day, with Cambridge entering as underdogs into a rough match that saw a total of 24 exclusion fouls, four of them penalties. Early in the first quarter Cambridge failed to capitalise on an exclusion, and Oxford drew ahead to 3-0. Veteran Alex Norcliffe scored twice to bring Cambridge back into it, but the quarter ended 5-3 to Oxford nonetheless. This break between the first and second quarter saw Oxford seem surprised at our resilience, so we gritted our teeth and headed back for the second quarter. Dan Gilbey scored in the 14th second of this quarter, bringing Cambridge to within a point of Oxford, but a series of exclusions, successfully converted by Oxford, saw them draw ahead to a score of 11-7 by half time. The third and fourth quarters saw Alastair Horn continue winning swim offs, including against the Olympic relay gold medallist Andrew Wilson in the fourth quarter, but the shortfall of 2 goals in each quarter continued, to the final result of 20-12.

Andrew te Water Naude
Men’s Water Polo Captain 2021 – 2022

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Women’s Water Polo 2021-2022 BUCS Report

In the 2021-2022 BUCS season, the Women’s team competed in the Premier division, facing a total of four teams due to Imperial’s early departure. Considering that most of the team had never played a BUCS match before, we got off to a strong start, defeating Birmingham by one point in an extremely tense match. Unfortunately, due to a combination of reduced team numbers, experienced opposition teams and the loss of our pit attack Erin Kraskewicz to the US, our initial win proved to be a one-off event.

Despite this, the team improved drastically over the course of the year. The results against Bristol (arguably one of the best teams) are a testament to this, with our January training camp clearly aiding the development of the team. The first match against Bristol in Michaelmas saw a goal difference of 22 (1-23) whereas in Lent, the team returned with gritted teeth and newfound enthusiasm which saw a reduced goal difference of 3 (10-13).

The league concluded with a match against Manchester Met in the round of 16 where the last-minute changes to the opposition’s team took us by surprise subsequently resulting in our defeat.

Anna Leeson
Women’s Water Polo Captain 2021 – 2022

Men’s Water Polo 2021-2022 BUCS Report

In the 2021-2022 BUCS season, both men’s teams competed in the Midlands regional leagues, the first team in division 1 and the second team in division 2.

The men’s firsts had a frustrating BUCS season, starting off with close defeats to rivals Warwick and Loughborough – both by one point following fourth quarter collapses. Further matches in Michaelmas included a second defeat to Warwick, two defeats to Nottingham 2nds and a defeat to Nottingham Trent. The seconds found losses to Oxford Brookes, UEA and Birmingham.

Going into Lent term, the firsts lost Alex Wang (our high scoring exchange student from Caltech), but both teams benefitted from the training carried out on tour. The firsts had further tough matches against Loughborough, Nottingham 2nds (with the closest result in this third fixture) and Nottingham Trent, but vanquished Oxford 2nds to avoid a demotion to division 2. The seconds, led by Zach Lyttle following his promotion to captain on tour, had a remarkable turnaround – beating Oxford Brookes and UEA on the second tries, Leicester both times but unfortunately losing closely to Birmingham twice more.

Andrew te Water Naude
Men’s Water Polo Captain 2021 – 2022

Water Polo Update 2020/21

WP Update pic

Despite the severe restrictions imposed on the sport by the pandemic, the 2020/21 season for Cambridge University Water Polo was not completely written off. In Michaelmas 2020, both the men’s and women’s side trained regularly, with swimming sets at Abbey pool and weekly training at Northampton School for Boys for the men’s side, while the ladies’ side focused on development sessions for many people who had not played the sport before. The advent of lockdown towards the end of Michaelmas, and the remote nature of Lent term for many, changed the club’s activities towards online circuits, some sessions being joint between the squads, and paired training for those in Cambridge, helping to keep spirits up and ensure everyone remained active during a difficult term. Returning to Cambridge for the Easter term moved the circuits sessions to Jesus Green, as well as allowed players to return to the pool for regular group swims. Easter term culminated in a couple of friendly matches for the men’s team, pitting an out of practise 13 players against regularly training teams from Nottingham and Loughborough. These matches, while challenging, provided an excellent opportunity to see some of the 2020 intake in action, in the first match time all year. College league, following the conclusion of exams, also gave a lot of the ladies’ side intake their first experience of water polo matches.

For the 2021/22 season, both teams have hit the ground running, with a return to regular BUCS matches and full training. The training venue has moved to Abbey Pool this year, involving the purchase of some new goals, and both the men’s and ladies’ side have 3 hours in the water each week there. The move to Abbey allows for an increased training capacity, meaning that the recruitment this year (with lots of students across the university looking to try new sports) has brought the ladies’ team up to 23 members, and the men’s team to 33. The even volume of training for all members has meant that we’ve seen great improvement this term across the board.

With respect to BUCS matches this term, the ladies team have played 5, winning 2 of them (including their first match against Birmingham, winning by 1 goal) and losing 3. Both men’s sides are still chasing their first wins of term, with the firsts having played six close matches, losing three of them by 2 goals or less, and the seconds having played two this term. Both sides have also had hugely beneficial training matches against KCL and City of Cambridge.

Despite the tough term of matches for the men’s side, this year’s intake has seen a large range of playing abilities join the side, with our solid defence during matches meaning that they are all low scoring, tense events. For both teams, the score line of matches has seemed unrepresentative of the exhausting battles we’re seeing in the pool, with both Cambridge and opposition teams giving it their all.

In January, we look forward to the return of the annual training camp, where the club will revisit Malta before the start of Lent term. The strong attendance from both sides on tour means that Lent term is looking very promising, where varsity and the second half of BUCS matches will benefit from the fitness gains made in Malta.

Andrew te Water Naude and Anna Leeson, 2021/22 Captains