Octopush teams make big splash at junior event

SEVEN teams from around the country made a big splash at a junior underwater hockey event last Saturday.

The Under-16 Robinhood Junior Underwater Hockey tournament at Batley Sports and Tennis Centre featured teams from Pembroke (Wales), Manchester (Xarifa), Rochdale, York, Huddersfield plus Batley Dragons and Batley Tigers.

Octopush Robinhood Underwater Hockey Tournament at the Batley Sports and Tennis centre. The Batley Tigers and the Batley Dragons were two teams involved. (d07021188)

Octopush Robinhood Underwater Hockey Tournament at the Batley Sports and Tennis centre. The Batley Tigers and the Batley Dragons were two teams involved. (d07021188)

Underwater hockey, or octopush, involves wearing mask, fins and snorkel and holding your breath while you push a lead puck around the bottom of the swimming pool.

Working as a team is essential as you can only hold your breath for so long and matches were six minutes each way.

Each team has 10 players six in the water and four subs, who can swap at any time during the game. There are two referees in the water who decide whether a goal has been scored and also make sure nobody fouls, such as pushing the puck with your hand instead of the small bat.

The tournament featured some very close games, including the clash of the Batley sides who tied at half-time before the Tigers struck to seal a 1-0 success.

Huddersfield beat Batley Dragons 2-1 but lost to the Tigers 2-1 while the most exciting game of the day was probably between Pembroke and Batley Tigers wrestling for top spot.

With two minutes left the score was 1-1 but with extra-time looming Pembroke struck twice to seal a 3-1 victory. That result saw Pembroke take first place with Batley Tigers second, Huddersfield Sharks third and Batley Dragons fourth. The children all received medals donated by Robinhood Watersports, of Heckmondwike.

The newly refurbished sports centre proved an excellent venue for the tournament and it is hoped that next year Octopush will be part of the Kirklees Olympics.

Anyone interested in playing can attend junior sessions on Sundays at 5.30pm.

The cost is £2.50 and children should be at least nine years old and be able to swim 10 lengths and touch the bottom of the pool in the deep end.

Adults also play at Batley on Thursday evenings at 9pm.

Batley has trained many junior players, who have gone on to represent Great Britain in World and European Underwater Hockey Championships. This summer the World Championships are in Holland while next month several under-13 and under-16 players from Batley will represent the North of England in the regional championships at Newport.

Batley Tigers: Beatrix Dixon (capt), Thomas Pitchforth (vice-capt), Daniel Pitchforth, Emma Pitchforth, Nathan Archer, Calum Dee, Hamish Dee, Alex Rhodes, Sam Rhodes, Saskia Dixon.

Batley Dragons: Oliver Schofield (capt), James Waite (vice-capt), Luke Bowkett, Matilda Buss, Harrison Buss, Danny Glover, Harry Waite, Charlotte Pullan, Kennedy Claughton.

Results: Xarifa A 1, Pembroke 4; Xarifa B 0, Batley Tigers 3; Batley Dragons 1, Huddersfield Sharks 2; Pembroke 3, Rochdale/York 0; Xarifa A 0, Batley Tigers 3; Huddersfield Sharks 4, Xarifa B 0; Pembroke 2, Batley Dragons 1; Batley Tigers 4, Rochdale/York 0; Xarifa A 3, Xarifa B 1; Pembroke 3, Huddersfield Sharks 1; Batley Dragons 0, Batley Tigers 1; Xarifa A 1, Rochdale/York 1; Batley Dragons 3, Xarifa B 1; Batley Tigers 2, Huddersfield Sharks 1; Xarifa B 0, Pembroke 3; Rochdale/York 1, Batley Dragons 2; Xarifa A 0, Huddersfield SHarks 2; Batley Tigers 1, Pembroke 3; Xarifa B 0, Rochdale/York 2; Batley Dragons 4, Xarifa A 1; Huddersfield Sharks 3, Richdale/York 0.

Final positions: 1st Pembroke, 2nd Batley Tigers, 3rd Huddersfield Sharks, 4th Batley Dragons, joint 5th Xarifa A and Rochdale/York, 7th Xarifa B.