Here are a few details on the major tournaments that the club will enter. This includes roughly when and where they are, and what sort of leagues will be available. While the club doesn't host our tournament, there are more than enough going on all over the place to keep us all busy.
This is by no means a comprehensive list - for various reasons clubs can't always run a tournament every year. So what is here are the ones that are all but guaranteed to feature on the calendar, but always expect a few more to be about!
These are the biggest fixtures in the club calendar. They run over an entire weekend, with games on both the Saturday and the Sunday. Normally the club will travel on the Friday night before, then camp it out over the weekend.
PaddlingtonHosts: University of London Canoe Polo Location: Herts Young Mariners Base When: October - early in Semester 1
Leagues: There is always an A league and a Fresher league. There is normally a Ladies and B league also, but these are sometimes combined if there aren't enough teams entered in either. There is often talk of having an Old league, but this never usually happens due to low entries so the teams that would have entered this get thrown into the A league.
Notes: Having recently added a third pitch, this tournament keeps getting bigger and better. In 2016 the tournament had its 10 year anniversary. More importantly for Southampton, it marked 5 continuous years of our Fresher team being present in the finals. Although this comes early in the year, it's a really great way to start the polo season and an amazing introduction to the game for new players. The tournament always gets lots of sponsorship, so the raffle usually has some pretty awesome prizes.
CardiffHosts: Cardiff University Kayakers Location: Taff Bargoed
When: March - around the Easter break, usual the weekend before or first weekend of the holiday.
Leagues: Always run with A, B and Ladies leagues. Again, often talk of sorting on Old league, but really dependent on the teams that enter. If they can't get one off the ground, those teams get combined into the A league.
Notes: Set in the valleys of South Wales, and not really in the city of Cardiff itself. One of the biggest tournaments after BUCS with 4 full pitches, and a chance for the club to trial its BUCS teams before heading to the big event. The tournament is still a great one however, and is a fun way to kick off the Easter holiday.
Location: Hatfield Waterpark, Doncaster - this might be changing for 2017 however!
When: April - normally the last weekend of the month. This tends to line up with the last weekend of the Easter holiday from university or comes the week after.
Leagues: The A and Ladies leagues offer the teams the chance to win crucial BUCS points for their universities. For more information on how that works, check out the BUCS website. Also on offer is a B and Olds league. These sadly don't offer the chance for points, but are still fiercely fought over.
Notes: Don't let travelling up north put you off - this is the biggest event of the year! Just about every university club in the country descends upon a quiet little watersports park and takes over for the weekend. Slightly more seriously, there is also a referee course run over the weekend; it's very important the club can provide trained refs for tournaments! However with a massive and themed party tent, a hilarious duos match and the club out in force, this event is anything but serious! Truly one of the highlights of the year!
London InternationalHosts: Meridian Canoe Club Location: Danson Park When: July - during the summer holiday.
Leagues: This tournament has 3 leagues, and the club normally enters one team into Class 3.
Notes: A little summer polo to tide people over till the season starts up again. As not everyone is as free as they might like, the club only enters one team into the lower Class which is open to any who want to play. On the edges of London, SUCP goes international! With teams coming in from across Europe, the top class has some of the best teams around.
There are the smaller tournaments that the club will enter. Typically held at a university swimming pool, these tournaments run over a single day or sometimes a single afternoon. All travel is done on the day, though the kit might need to be prepared the night before. These are the tournaments that don't always run so regularly - the organising clubs can't always book the facilities.
WarwickHosts: Warwick Canoe Polo Location: University of Warwick
When: One set of tournaments in Semester 1 and another in Semester 2
Leagues: Warwick host 3 leagues across 2 tournaments - twice! An A league tournament is run on its own day, then the Ladies and B's share a date but get their own leagues. This is done in both Semester 1 and 2.
Notes: Always a fun day out, and a great tournament to go to that doesn't take up the whole weekend! Being inside and warm is a big bonus!
Others tournamentsUniversity of Bath, University of Bristol Not as regular, but just as fun to go to when they do run!
In addition to the stand-alone tournaments, the club is also entered into several leagues that are organised by British Canoe Polo - the national governing body. These have several tournaments spread throughout the year, and are entered by all kinds of clubs, not just university teams.
Regional - South West
Divisions: There are 3 divisions - numbered 1 to 3 with division 1 comprising the best teams in the region.
Teams: The club's own A team are currently entered into division 2, and the Open team are currently in division 3. An extra team made up of ex-students are in division 1, though this is not organised by the club.
Location: Millfield School for division 1 and 2, Cheltenham swimming pool for division 3
Structure: Division 1 and 2 both contain 12 teams, and follow the same structure. The first tournament is to divide the division into the top and bottom halves. The teams are randomly split into groups of 6, and those teams play each other. The top 3 teams from each half then combine to form the top 6 group, and the bottom 3 combine to form the bottom 6 of the division. The top 6 then all play each other twice more, and the same for the bottom 6. The top 2 teams are promoted, while the bottom 2 are demoted.
The number of teams in division 3 can vary, but is of a similar size to the other divisions. As a result, the structure varies to accommodate all the teams entered. When joining the league, new teams must start here and fight their way up. Generally, a round-robin is played twice, and the two best teams are promoted.
National - Division 4, South East
Divisions: There are 4 national divisions, with all but division 1 having some regional subdivision. This is however strictly separate to the Regional leagues!
Teams: The club has entered the A team into Division 4 South East for the 2016/17 season - the first time the club has entered the National Leagues!Location: Varies
Structure: Division 4 has 3 regional leagues - North, Central and South West, and finally, South East. In the South East group, there are 10 teams entered. All the teams will play each other twice. This is spread across 6 tournaments, with each team playing 4 of these fixtures. The fixtures are a mixture of outdoor and indoor events, held in a variety of locations but are all held over a single day. Promotion and demotion is determined with a play-off tournament at the end of the season.