Team Aber defeat Welsh champions in Underwater Hockey tournament

The underwater hockey team in game

The underwater hockey team in game

ABERYSTWYTH’S Underwater Hockey [UWH; also known as Octopush] team travelled south to Pembrokeshire this month to compete in the Welsh nationals. Alongside hosts Haverfordwest, were reigning champions Pembroke, looking to defend their six year dominance of the sport, along with teams from Llwchwr, Newport and Bangor University.

Aber’s first game against a much fancied Pembroke team took off to the worst possible start; one of Pembroke’s forwards wriggled through the Aber defence to poke home a well finished goal. Despite this setback, Aberystwyth responded nearly immediately, Amy Goodwin completing a tidy sequence of passes with a flick into the corner of the Pembroke goal. Fuelled with confidence from their equalising goal, team Aber came from behind twice more, Douglas Eggleton and Mark Palfrey both scoring breakaway goals, to ensure the score remained even at 3-3 with 90 seconds left to play.

The majority of the game was spent within the immediate vicinity of the Aberystwyth goalmouth, and when player-coach Alex Kilcoyne began a storming swim along the right flank of the pool, Pembroke’s players were slow to respond. Taking advantage of this fatigue, Kilcoyne burst along the tiles of the pool, offloading the puck to Dan Johnson, who merely needed to slot the puck past Pembroke’s solitary defender, and into the gaping goalmouth to set up a memorable 4-3 victory for the Aberystwyth team.

Emphatic victories against both hosts Haverfordwest [8-0], and a 7-1 mauling of Varsity rivals Bangor followed, and despite close defeats to both eventual winners Newport, and a very physical Llwchwr team, Aberystwyth secured a 3rd place finish, the team’s most successful ever placing on the National stage.

Speaking after the final game, Coach Alex Kilcoyne, paid homage to her teammates, whilst recognising the strength of the opposition: “It’s amazing how much we’ve all improved as a team since this time last year. Some of the teams here today were technically really skilful, and our victory against Pembroke today really showed what we can be capable of”.  Captain for the day, Dan Johnson, was likewise delighted with Aber’s team spirit: “I thought this Aber team were brilliant today, we seemed to get everything spot on. Both our subbing and positioning were great, but I think our composure was our best attribute: we gave away only two fouls all day and we all kept our heads during some tight situations”.

Finishing highly in this competition provides Team Aber with perfect momentum for both the University Nationals 2014, to be held in Plymouth; and the ever stimulating Varsity encounter with northern rivals- Bangor.

Underwater hockey is a globally-played limited-contact sport in which two teams compete to manoeuvre a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool into goals. The Aberystwyth UWH team are a friendly team who train twice weekly at the University Sport’s Centre [Fridays 8:15pm and Saturdays 1:45pm]. To find out more about the Aber UWH team, visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/aberuwh.