Water Polo take on Super Eights

SPOTY contestant, Emma Little, keeps calm in Stan Calvert. Image: Katy BallSPOTY contestant, Emma Little, keeps calm in Stan Calvert. Image: Katy Ball

Sports Editor, Lucy Brogden, spoke to the President of the Water Polo Club, Jess Newman, to find out more about the club’s season.

Jess, please explain to us a little more about the water polo:

Water polo is played in a double- deep 25 metre pool. Teams are made up of 13 members, but only 7 members are in the pool at any one time. Since players must tread water or swim for the entirety of the match, substitutions are frequent, and touching the floor or holding onto the sides is forbidden.

The ball can only be caught using one hand (only the goalie is allowed to use two hands), and players can swim with or pass the ball down the pool. The objective is to score more goals than the other team. Women play 7 minute qumen play 8 minute quarters. There is a thirty second shot- clock, whereby possession is reversed if a team does not have a shot within thirty seconds of having the ball. This means the game is very fast- paced.

“Water polo is played in a double- deep 25 metre pool. Teams are made up of 13 members, but only 7 members are in the pool at any one time”

Why do you like water polo as a sport?

It’s one of the most difficult sports to play in the world in my opinion. Every play is always so different, the physicality of the sport is very challenging, and you have to work as a team to succeed. In our club there are no individual players- all our teams work together really well, and there are only team players.

How many members are in the club?

We have 80 paid members, and are a mixed club who welcome players of all abilities.

How many teams do you have?

We have four teams: two female and two male. Our women’s firsts are in the premier North, men’s firsts in the Northern 1A, men’s seconds in the Northern 2B, and our women’s seconds in the Northern 2A. Both of our second teams are in leagues where their opponents are more highly ranked- so our seconds are playing mainly against other university’s first teams.

80 club members

How has your season been so far?

Great! Women’s firsts had an astounding win against top of the league side, Durham, after losing 18-8 earlier in the year. If we win against Bath (who are bottom of the southern league), we’ll go through to super eights in Sheffield.

The men’s firsts have narrowly missed out on promotion, finishing second in their league behind league winners, Liverpool. Next year will be their year for promotion into the premier northern league. Still to come this year, they’ve got their first cup game, and we hope that they will make it through to the final.

Our two seconds teams are doing well too. The women’s seconds have had a challenging time in their league this year following last year’s promotion, as they are the only seconds team in their league- every other team is a firsts team.

How do you feel about your chances in super eights?

We’ve been training hard, and we’ve got our strongest team yet- our starting seven is made up of national league players, so we think we’ve got a good chance.

Last year you made it to super eights, but didn’t make the final. What went wrong?

We flopped at semis, essentially. Morale and team spirit wasn’t what they should have been, and we were complacent. This year we’re ready for it, but to get to finals we’ll have to beat someone we’ve not beaten yet this season.

“Our seconds are playing mainly against other university’s first teams”

What do you accredit your strong BUCS performance to? (W1 water polo are one of Newcastle’s highest performing teams).

We train 3-4 times a week, have a strong, committed squad, and a good coaching dynamic. We have great teamwork, commitment, and being a mixed club also helps. I’ve made some great friends at polo, and we’re very close as a club.

How did you feel about club member, Emma Little, coming second in our SPOTY competition?

It was a real high for water polo, and it helped to raise awareness for the club.

Do you think she should have won?

Yes! However, the girl that did win definitely deserved it- she’d done an awful lot for her club.

How did you fare in Stan Calvert?

We won one out of our three matches as a club: the boys teams lost, but the girls secured an easy win 18-4, and all of the matches were really competitive. Next year we’ll be aiming for a clean sweep!

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