The second weekend of the British Water Polo League’s Division 1 took place at two venues this weekend in the towns of Aldershot, situated 30 miles southwest of London and Matlock, which can be found in the South of the Peak District.
While the top two in the league, Cheltenham and Manchester, look set to reach the Super 5’s next year, nothing is certain for the remaining three places which can still be occupied by six teams. Both Sheffield and Lancaster can secure qualification in their next matches against Welsh Wanderers, while the winners of Solihull and Invicta in Coventry in late November will probably secure the fifth and final Super 5s spot.
The big winners from this weekend were Cheltenham, who won all three of the games they played; firstly against Polytechnic and Invicta on the Saturday, before victory over Welsh Wanderers on Sunday. It was Rudi Polster and Adam Legge who were crucial this weekend – with both securing hat-tricks in two of the three games they played.
Manchester, like Cheltenham, remain undefeated from this weekend after brushing past Sheffield and Solihull. They were defensively strong in both games. Against Sheffield, the goals came in two’s as there were braces for Joe O’ Regan, Alvaro Fernandez, Jordan Elliot and Aron Ando. On Sunday, their 13-3 victory over Solihull featured five goals from Dan Paddon. Manchester still have three games to play, and look good to finish top of the first phase with victory over Cheltenham.
Despite a narrow defeat to Cheltenham, Invicta kept their hopes of Super 5 qualification alive with two victories over the Welsh and Polytechnic. Callum Bailey hit five against Welsh Wanderers as there were a hat-trick of hat-tricks for Sean King, Jack Waller and Callum Bailey against London rival’s Polytechnic.
The team from Cardiff, Welsh Wanderers, registered their first victory of the season thanks to a heroic last quarter comeback which saw them win the quarter 6-0.
Sheffield and Lancaster both had mixed weekends – with both registering one win and one defeat. Sheffield’s victory came against Lancaster with Conor Carpenter bagging three goals, while Lancaster’s victory this weekend came against Solihull, courtesy of nine goals from now the league’s top goal-scorer, John Pratt (pictured).
Both Polytechnic and Solihull had poor weekends, with Polytechnic losing all three their games in Aldershot (Cheltenham, Welsh Wanderers and Invicta) and Solihull getting beaten twice in Matlock (Manchester and Sheffield).
November 6th, 2021
Invicta 13-8 Welsh Wanderers (4-3, 3-2, 1-1, 5-2)
Polytechnic 7-10 Cheltenham (0-3, 1-2, 5-2, 1-3)
Manchester 12-4 Sheffield (1-2, 3-1, 3-1, 5-0)
Invicta 9-10 Cheltenham (3-3, 4-2, 2-5, 0-0)
Solihull 12-18 Lancaster (1-6, 2-5, 5-2, 4-5)
Polytechnic 13-14 Welsh Wanderers (5-4, 5-2, 3-2, 0-6)
November 7th, 2021
Cheltenham 14-6 Welsh Wanderers (4-2, 1-1, 5-1, 4-2)
Sheffield 12-5 Lancaster (3-1, 2-2, 4-1, 3-1)
Manchester 13-3 Solihull (5-2, 1-0, 4-0, 3-1)
Invicta 11-9 Polytechnic (2-1, 4-1, 2-4, 3-3)
The format of the British League involves two phases whereby teams play multiple fixtures across several weekends in various locations around the UK.
In the first phase of the season, eight teams in the top division play each other once in an attempt to qualify for the ‘Super 5s’ competition in the second part of the season. As the name suggests, the top 5 ranked teams from the first half of the season progress to the Super 5s, while the bottom 3 teams from the first phase take on the top 5 teams from the division below in a promotion/relegation play-off.
The team that tops the Super 5s in Spring is then crowned British Champions.