London club Polytechnic, the dominant force in UK men’s club water polo from the 1970s through to the 1990s, are back in the big-time after a long absence.
The British League season reached its halfway point at the weekend, with qualification for places in the premier competition, the Super 5s, the key issue as the eight-team Division 1 concluded at Lancaster (25/26 November). Poly took the event by storm, beating Invicta 13-8 and then pulling off a stunning 8-7 victory over powerful City of Manchester.
There was more to come. On day two, they met City of Sheffield in what by then was a winner-takes-all meeting for a guaranteed top five spot. Poly simply steamrollered the opposition, taking a 4-1 lead in the first period and eventually winning 12-6. Chris Brown and Giacomo Cupido were the chief scorers with four apiece.
In the end, Poly’s magnificent treble at Lancaster enabled them to finish as runners-up behind Solihull and make it through to the Super 5s for the first time. Manchester, Lancaster and Cheltenham also qualified but Sheffield, who began the final weekend in second place, missed out altogether and will now drop to the second-tier Championship 1 along with Invicta and Scotland’s representatives, Caledonia.
In the women’s competition, City of Manchester, reigning champions Liverpool Lizards, London club Otter, Coventry and Sheffield have progressed to the Super 5s. For all the latest results and news from the UK, go to www.bwpl.org.