Saturday, 20 September 2014

Birmingham, Bike Polo Shuffle Tourney

25 girls from 7 cities all over the UK gathered in Highgate Park, Birmingham for a one day  turney.
The tournament started as a shuffle tournament, and then placed players in fixed teams with the purpose to keep teams at equal levels, for  knock-out rounds (the losing team stayed out, the winning team continued). Games were ten or twelve minutes long and score draws were dealt with a golden goal to determine the winners. 

I was lucky enough to be placed in a team with Jo (one of Cambridge's finest player) who was the tournament's top scorer. She had the aura of a top player: excellent ball control, smooth bike manoeuvring, strong shots at all angles; all these blended with a calm, no-need-to-show-off personality and a sweet encouraging positivity that a typically older sister has.

My other team mate, was London's Aleksandra who i have got to know the past year; she brought to the table youthful enthousiasm and spirit and some tough battles against our opponents. Our team, Destiny's Wild reached 3rd position after losing (the golden goal) and staying out from the finals. I will be honest with you; i was gutted especially because our best player had to change bikes halfway, so i was left with the thoughts of "if she had her own bike maybe the golden goal would have been hers". But in sports there are no "ifs", especially as this whole tournament had an element of fate and luck. Despite the result, it was my favourite team. (sending big-ups to Jo and Alex!)

The winning team "Rubbish with Names" (but obviously pretty good with bike polo) , indeed, deserved the win; the team which was Leah (Bristol), Sylwia (Manchester) and Ana (London) worked hard for it with good passes and a focus in a game that was played at the opponents goals the most.

i chatted with Leah (Bristol) briefly during the tournament, who admitted comptetitiveness and having only one thought: winning. Manchester's Sylwia, had a much more relaxed style, encouraging all players, radiating posisitvity and at the same time focusing in her own game. Sylwia's skills and positive nature in the polo world seemed to be also recognised from others and went on to win Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tourney.

I joked with Sylwia, as she was a playful, fun character during our trip to Birmingham via our facebook pages, and asked her "How do you feel being once again the Most Valuable Party-monster and champion of the polo queens?" her reply brought to the surface her sportspersonship:

"on a serious note.. I feel proud to have had such a great team! Ana Sanches phenomenal in the goal and on the court! Making great decisions in a split second! You got that something gir! Leah was a pure badass on the court! Tackling like a pro, not letting go for a moment! Love your spirit girl! Keep it up! Oh and that chin shot!! It was pure pleasure to play with you gals and I hope there will be more tournaments to come where I get to do so again!" 

On our train journey back to London, I pretended to be interviewing Ana with an imaginary microphone and asked how she felt being a champion; Ana was slightly less chatty about the win and simply said that she felt "tired". Knowing her quite well it was obviously true that she was tired but also her answer seemed to be a way of avoiding attention, being modest and lets face it, she probably knew that i was going to quote her on this blog; she kept her reply minimal. During the games she had a focus and determination that i had never seen before in her.  More inline with her usual self, she was the first to open and share the bottle of prosecco for the celebrations.

There were 25 players worth a mention: 

1- Mya (bhm): strong, fast and fearless AND fierce too! A hard worker when it comes to the polo community
2- Kat (bhm): excellent hostess and the driving force of the tourney! Thanks!
3- Viki (bhm): had the most yellow stripes on her mallet, meaning pure wins during the shuffle tourney
4- Alice (bhm):another new player from Birmingham; promising and ready to take you on!
5- Irial (bhm): fresh moves, quiet and focused
6- Fuchsia (Lndn): must say she had the best goal celebrations ever
7- Nik (Lndn): one of the best players, in my opinion, and most fun person in the polo world
8- Sylwia (mcr): MVP MVP MVP!
9- Zsófia (bristol): strong player and tiredless organiser, natural coach
10- Ana (Lndn): blood in her eyes, prosecco on her lips
11- Io (Lndn): that's me; aspiring sandbagger.
12- Peixe (Lndn): all the way from Sao Paulo! que legal! Beleza!
13- Ali (Cambo): Ali is awesome! best facial expressions on achievements! experienced and talented player.
14- Jo (Cambo): Jo, such a great team mate!one of the best players!
15 - Rita (Sheffield): she can take you down; she can speed up and get you.
16 - Jackie (Lndn): fearless. She will take you down.
17- Aleks (Lndn): ball control, positioning - she is the one!
18 - Lizzy (Glasgee):  strong and committed!
19-  Josie (Brtn): Agile and smooth; strong shots, be warned!
20 - Maddie (Lndn): experienced player, experienced heckler
21 - Tabs (brs): another awesome player from Bristol; share the secrets!
22 - Leah (brs): she had one thing is her head; to win; and she did.
23- Violeta (Lndn): pure skill, dynamite shots.
24. Lilly (Mcr): who received just praise from Nik for stepping it up
25. Rosie: the new promising leftie

Big-ups to Phil from London, coming all the way with chilled beer to support the tourney, and ofcourse to the Birmingham boys for reffing and helping with organising.

Micro-pigs (ask Sylwia why!) Pic adapted by Luiza Peixe

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Bike Polo Tournament, Birmingham, Sunday 14th September

Girls only bike polo tournament
Shuffle tournament with tape. 
 Number of rounds tbc based on number of players.
Those coming from the south, London Midland and Chiltern have cheap off-peak returns and are good for bikes.
"We're hoping to encourage lots of new female players, so please bring anyone with you who'd like to have a go. We can provide some mallets and other equipment if needed.
Guys are welcome too, but girls only on court!"
From Kat & Mya

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Bike Polo Wheel Covers Exhibition 4th September - 4th October 2014

An exhibition and silent auction of bike polo wheel covers produced by London creatives.

Hosted by Quoc Pham Cycling Shoes

All auction proceedings donated to Re-Cycle

Opening Night 4 September 2014
Polo raffle

Exhibition running from 4th September - 4th October 2014

Look Mum No Hands
125—127 Mare Street
London E8 3RH

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

London Open Bike Polo Tourney

London Open bike tourney 16th and 17th August 

34 teams with  poloistas from the USA, Australia, Japan, France and of course UK
Three large courts in Highbury Fields
Party by the canal in east london on saturday
Good times

Want to see some awesome pics from the London Open? 
by Paul Kubalek here and 
by Will Melling here on his Flickr

Monday, 31 March 2014

Spin London

28th March-30th March 2014, brought us Spin, London's cycle show, which was much more  exciting as this year it featured a bit of bike polo from the London Hardcourt Bike Polo Association.  A tiny court was built from a small team of six or seven poloistas on Thursday afternoon, ready for the weekend for people to try out polo and players to show off their skills.
measure once, cut twice

building the court's walls

the final touches

Sunday, 23 March 2014

ThunderShafts: London Bike Polo League VI mission accomplished

ThunderShafts, entered the 6th London bike Polo Winter League with one focus: to manage to complete the league; no matter how many games were lost. This was our first league, and our aim was realistic.

My on-going thought during the London bike polo winter league has been fluctuating from "this is great, it's the only way to stay engaged with polo during winter" to "please, make it stop!" It has been painful at times, especially playing outdoors in zero degrees, in hard rain, following a full day's work - i guess that would have been bearable  if a few games were won; or maybe if a few games were lost with a bit of a closer score. But when you are losing every game with tens of goals difference, the thought that dominates is "please, make this game stop". To add to the downside, after our first game, there was a shift from internal team enthusiasm to a crisis of falling out with a team mate, so shifts in the team had to be made. The second game was played with a sub, Maddie, and the remaining games with Julia, who has been more than amazing: great player but also gentle  playing with us noobs. We couldn't have hoped for a better person joining us. So ThunderShafts became to be Ana, Julia and me, Io. (the only all-girl team).

At the beginning of the league we were predicted to come last and were shifted to division 2. Until our second to last game, the prediction stood true. We were at 8th (last) position with 6 games played, 6 games lost (0 won) and -159 goal difference.

The last game, which was the one game we were really looking forward, was our only chance to prove the prediction of finishing last, wrong and claim (7th) second to last position. The team predicted to come second to last, Winter Has Come, had much better stats, with -128 goal difference, but we wouldn't let this influence us; although a newbie and not very talented polo player, my previous experience in sports, made me think that this game was about which team was going to lose its cool and focus first. And 45 minutes (the agreed length for the league games) was a long time for both teams to get stressed, unfocused, tired. My personal tactics were to help the much better players in the team by blocking and freeing them up to do their stuff, and Julia and Ana did exactly that. The game, which was very tense, was played clean; Julia cancelled one of her own goals calling it off as a shuffle. The end result came to a win for us, with just one goal difference and with a final shot on the last second by Winter Has Come that got stuck between the cone and our goal keeper's back wheel (right in front of the goal line)! We were lucky as this concluded our last game being our first league game win. And shifting to 7th place. Whether we were the better team, i do not know as it is somewhat hard to judge, but i think we wanted this win the most, and we managed to keep focused, just a little bit longer than Winter Has Come.

for league VI info:
ThunderShafts on defence

Our final game: Winter Has Come Vs ThunderShafts
Photos by Aleksandra

Friday, 28 February 2014

Clerks Vs ThunderShafts

Bike polo feeling more like water polo. Too much rain! No breaks!
Clerks Vs ThunderShafts

Video by Paul Kubalek

Check out Clerks Bike Polo here: