On the 28th of January, after as much training as possible due to busy uni schedules, our men’s team had its first tournament (BUCS) and first game of the year. The British Universities & Colleges Sports (BUCS) tournament took place in Bristol University’s double-deep pool. Since last year, our team has been competing in the 1st Division of the tournament – finishing 1st or 2nd would mean that we would proceed to the finals, while finishing 4th (last) would mean demotion to the 2nd division for next year.
The teams we faced were Bristol, Birmingham and Plymouth. The first two teams beat us with large goal-differences in last year’s BUCS, while Plymouth were promoted from the 2nd BUCS division last year.
The first game against Birmingham proved to be as difficult as was predicted; with very physical plays and good defences by both sides. The score in all of the quarters was always in favour of the opposite team, with one or two more goals scored, leading to an overal 10-7 loss for Southampton. Although our team lost, great improvement and co-ordination could be seen in our game.
The second game was against Bristol; a team that has always been one of the top teams of the tournament. The game was really strong, with endurance and team-play playing a huge role. Our team had a very good defensive game but were unable to be effective in attack. The final score of the game was 10-1 to Bristol.
The last game against Plymouth was going to determine who stayed in the division, since Plymouth had also lost all of their games. With our team’s captain being excluded for the tournament in the Bristol game, we were playing in an exhausted state. Mistakes by over tired players were visible from both sides. However, our team managed to create many more organised scoring opportunities than Plymouth, who mostly scored by mistakes of our team, in setting up defences or covering back to defend. The final score was 6-4 for our team, meaning that we stay in the 1st division for next year.