Hull Bicycle Polo was well represented in the SoYo polo tourney held over the weekend at the Cliffhanger '14 Festival in Sheffield. Bright and early Saturday morning The ECB Bruisers (Nick, Kol, Dean) and The ECB Ducks of Wellingtone (Adam, Mr Roger and Young Jack) loaded the Mystery Machine with bikes, mallards, bags and other bits and headed for adventure.
Teams and players from around the country were in attendance and everyone was up for it. Introductions were made, pleasantries exchanged, players briefed and then the barracking, brinksmanship, bluster and bullshit began in earnest.
The ECB Ducks were first up in the icebreaker game and, after a torrid ten minute introduction to the harder, faster, stronger world of tournament polo, viewed a 5-0 defeat as something of a result - especially as their opponents are heading off to compete in the European championships next week! The Bruisers first game was very similar to the Ducks losing 5-1.
The tournament progressed and throughout the day we were able to enjoy some spectacular polo, some sublime bike skills, some outrageous crashes, lots of goals and.. BLOODY HELL !!!…. HOW HARD DID HE HIT THAT? It was certainly eye opening (and occasionally eye watering) to watch and to take part in games involving such experienced and skilled players.
We also took the opportunity to check out, and occasionally try out, other people’s bikes, mallards and kit, to get some ideas and tips on improving our own gear …….mistake !!!.... Now we all want new bikes, disc brakes, 26” wheels and Dean is even considering moving to freewheel.
Saturday drew to a close with the parkies placing an embargo on beer, a few cases of over exposure to the sun and the ECB Ducks and Bruisers zooming off back to Hull in high spirits with a win and three losses each. A Grand Day Out.
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Sunday started well, with fine weather, heavy metal Bee Gees, and a game of “That’s a Yellow Car!” all combining to knock 17 minutes off the journey time.
Sunday got better, the beer embargo was lifted !
Saturday’s results placed The Bruisers and the Ducks in the lower half of the double elimination knockout stage with the possibility of playing each other. The Ducks narrowly lost their closely matched first game and, following an exciting game in which Dean dispatched an opponent out of the court and Nick paggered the same bloke’s back wheel, the Bruisers were defeated, the results conspired and the inevitable match up happened. In front of a boisterous crowd, the Ducks edged out the Bruisers to move into the next round.
As the Ducks continued their winning streak, the Bruisers gamely roused the crowd in support and even Jack losing a pedal and Mr Roger elegantly (not) dismounting at high speed and completely wrecking his front wheel (and left leg) failed to stop them reaching the semi final. A close fought semi final on botched up and borrowed bikes ended in defeat for the Ducks with the last shot of the game.
Sunshine continued, the tournament was played out and prizes awarded: the Ducks taking 3rd place in the “Reet Good” category. Really not too shabby for a first tournament.
A debrief and celebratory beverage at Pave saw Jack’s balloon dog raise the biggest cheer of the day when rescued from the zebra crossing by a passer–by after it slipped its lead in front of a fire engine.