A historic local club has been revived and is seeking new members throughout the region to take part in an exciting and energetic team sport. Humberside Water Polo Club has overcome the loss of its former training pool and the closure of other teams in the area to create a reinvigorated club with popular regular training sessions and a recent re-entry into the competitive league. It is now offering a free training session for anybody wanting to try the sport.
Water polo in the region has a long history dating back to sold-out matches at Beverley Road baths in the 1950s. During the 1980s it trained at Albert Avenue swimming pool and had junior and senior teams in local divisions. However, the sport suffered a decline through the 1990s when it moved to South Hunsley pool and then became ‘homeless’ after that venue was closed and redeveloped. Neighbouring teams in Grimsby and Scunthorpe also suffered bad times and folded, leaving the sport struggling and former players without opportunities.
However, the club has now been revived to take in members from across East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire and has returned to its previous home of Albert Avenue in Hull. It has recently joined the Wakefield & District local league and hopes to return to competitive matches this summer.
Since Christmas it has had a raft of new members joining the club, many of whom had no prior experience of the sport, and the organisers are welcoming the opportunity to show and teach this exciting game to other new interested people from throughout the region.
The sport is often described as a cross between swimming and football or netball, with teams of seven swimming with a ball and trying to score by throwing it into the opponents’ goal at the end of the pool. This deceptively simple concept is made significantly more challenging by several of its rules – it is usually played in deep swimming pools with players not allowed to touch the floor or sides; the basketball-sized ball can only be caught and thrown with one hand whilst trying to stay afloat; and goggles are not permitted. What results is a thrilling, energetic, end-to-end game which was recently described as “the toughest Olympic sport”[i].
Nevertheless, for those seeking a new challenge, a way to keep fit and a highly social team sport, its surprisingly easy to pick up. Club member Richard Royal commented:
The club trains every Wednesday evening between 7:15-8:15pm at Albert Avenue pool in Hull and is offering a free first session for anybody wanting to go along and see if they like it. It is a mixed male/female training session for aged 18+ and attendees need no prior knowledge of the sport, just a reasonable swimming ability and the willingness to learn something new. Anybody interested can find out more via the club’s facebook page www.facebook.com/hullwaterpoloclub or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.