The British National Championships took place at the Canoe Polo home venue pitches (HPP) in glorious sunshine. The National Champs run slightly differently to most standalone tournaments, instead of divisions of competition based on a perceived standard all clubs enter the same league. This affords div 3 teams the opportunity to play against the top sides in the country!
An Open, Women’s and Youth league were run with the winning team in the Open and Women’s league set to gain a qualification spot for the European club championships (to be held at the same venue September 8th/9th). In the Youth league, Ulster were on a mission to retain their title and were pushed to the wire in a high scoring end to end final with Viking. Ulster managed to pull away in the final minutes and hold out for the victory. In the Women’s league with FOA (Friends of Allonby) not defending their 2017 title Meridian were the favourites having come runner-up in the Winter National league. In a round robin format, they were challenged by Aberfan and the Red Lions and came through on the right side of tight results to secure the Women’s title. In the Open League the first few games led to some entertaining fixtures! A particular highlight was seeing the Aberfan side – a mixture of youth and more seniors players – score twice against our winter national league champions Kingston. At the end of the competition, there were some fierce encounters with the ECC spot up for grabs. FOA avenged their winter league loss to Kingston by putting them out in the semi-final and Dragon’s defence edged them past Pennine. Youth trumped experience in the final with FOA pulling away to a 4:0 win.
Apart from the weather catching quite a few paddlers short of sunscreen, it was a fantastic weekend. The National Championships and it’s 46 years of history is firmly back on the Calendar!
European Club Championship qualifiers: Women – FOA and Meridian, Men – Kingston and FOA