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