[A]fter their success in the leagues this last season, Penrith Canoe Club entered the Div 2 section of the Liverpool International Canoe Polo Tournament on the 24 &25th June to push their standard.
Unfortunately, the tournament clashed with a European Canoe Polo event, so a lot of the top players were missing and the tournament didn’t have enough to run a Div 1. They therefore mixed the remaining Div 1 teams with Div 2. The standard was definitely higher than Penrith had previously been up against. Penrith also had several of their key players missing, 2 of whom were also at the European tournament playing for the GB U21 Women’s team.
Despite clearly being the underdogs, Penrith kept battling and treated it as good development experience. Their first game against eventual runners up, Dragon Red, was lost 10-2 with Penrith goals from Tim Mather & Connor Turner.
The second match against Cherwell was lost 5-1 with Tim scoring for Penrith. Trentham A then beat us 8-2 with Penrith goals from Chris Archer and Tim Mather. Then Viking beat us 7-3 with Penrith goals from Tim Mather and 2 from Chris Archer including a penalty. The last match of the Saturday was against Kingston, another of the big canoe polo clubs in the UK.
After defending well in the first half, the second half saw us against the wind, tired and out classed. Kingston won 10-0. However, Penrith remained cheerful and on the Sunday morning, came out fighting again, to beat Irish team Ulster Fries 2-1 with goals from Conor & Tim. Then in the final match, Ulster Stompies beat us 8-3 with Penrith goals from Connor and Chris(2).
Despite the losses, Penrith viewed it as good experience. It was the first time we’d played with a shot clock. We generally defended well in normal play, but were regularly caught out on the break through lack of speed and poor passing under pressure. We also need to work on applying pressure and working the ball in under the goal in attack. Looking forward to the next tournament at Hull.
As well as the main Penrith team, Luke Farley, winner of Penrith’s ‘Most Improved Junior’ award last year, played for a GB development A squad team in Div 3, gaining valuable experience, playing as the main goal keeper for the squad, and helping them to runner up position in that division. Joe Wildes, who has recently joined the club, also played for the junior GB development squad team B, who won Div 3.