The Cumbrian Canoe Polo Series got off to a strong start on Saturday when Penrith Canoe Club hosted the first tournament for this winter. Teams from Kendal, Barrow, Carlisle and Lancaster joined Penrith in a lively and enthusiastically competitive league event.
The evening started with a novice league for those new to competing in canoe polo. The rules for this are modified to prevent the more vigorous forms of tackling, so younger or less confident players can focus on playing the ball. Duddon Canoe Club from Barrow have obviously been practising ready for the event with both their A and B teams getting through their 3 matches unbeaten, including a draw between the two. Ultimately their B team took the prize through a single goal advantage from the other games.
Penrith CC showed their strength in depth with some young players, including Will and Charlie, who only started playing in September helping to outplay Lancaster University.
Results, 1st Duddon B, 2nd Duddon A, 3rd Penrith and 4th Lancaster Uni
The open event started frenetically with Lakeland B from Kendal beating Penrith B team 5 – 2. Another 5 -2 win for Lakeland A against Penrith C team left Penrith wondering if they could manage to keep in touch with the Kendal teams. Both clubs had agreed to mix their players around to make up balanced teams for a more open competition, but at this stage Kendal were looking generally stronger.
Meanwhile Carlisle CC had put together a team of strong paddlers who were new to canoe polo. Some good boat skills and competent ball handling were let down by a limited understanding of tactics and rules, so their 4 - 0 defeat by Penrith A was the first of a 5 game losing streak. Let’s hope their enthusiasm brings them back to the next event with a better understanding of the whole game.
The following games were more balanced with some of Penrith’s younger players, such as Luke and Morven showing promise against the highly experienced Andy, Liam and Connor from Kendal, while Clare and Jenny ably demonstrated that polo works well as a mixed sport.
The final match of the evening started with Lakeland A level on points with Penrith A, but ahead on goal difference. Penrith were able to stay level for most of the first half, but Lakeland scored just before the break and then pulled away to win 6 – 3. So Lakeland A won the tournament, but honours were then divided between the clubs across the teams.
Kendal will host the next tournament early in the New Year, with another event at Penrith Leisure Centre on April 1st. We look forward to more closely competed evenings.
Results: 1st Lakeland A, 2nd Penrith A, 3rd Lakeland B, 4th Penrith C, 5th Penrith B, 6th Carlisle