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An eight-legged sea creature? A Roses timetable typo? Something to do with pushing? No, no, and kind of. Welcome to the intriguing sport of Octopush. When you break it down, octo-push it all starts to make sense – in a way. For those still baffled, Octopush is underwater hockey, you ‘push’ a puck beneath the waves.
For most, who had never heard of the said sport before, myself included, I was quite curious to find Octopush on the Roses timetable and was eager to find out a little more of what the sport entailed.
Played under a 25m swimming pool, each of the six players (mixed) on a side don a snorkel, fins and a small 30cm hockey stick as they submerge themselves in the life of an underwater entity. Both teams challenge for a small puck like stone, at the base of the pool hoping to score in the opposition’s goal. Halves are only 15 minutes each, and there is a three minute designated break between them. As a ‘non-contact’ sport there is supposedly no contact permitted underwater, however frequent knocks are picked up when challenging for the puck.
Speaking to Liz Colvin, founder of the Lancaster University Octopush society, her thoughts were quite similar to my own, she too was fairly intrigued about this relatively new sport, she until recently had never heard of, she told SCAN “ it’s just something I stumbled across on the internet one day, and I was like, this is so weird. I want to try this, so I set it up.”
With Lancaster’s society forming in January of this year, they can be considered in their infancy and fairly new to competitive action, compared to their York rivals, who were established in 2006 – and have wanted to compete at Roses ever since.
Colvin spoke to SCAN after their maiden competitive match at Roses “having only been introduced to the sport in January, the Lancaster team fought hard but York’s experience earned them the win. They’ve told us it wasn’t easy though and Lancaster successfully prevented them from scoring several times whilst also making them defend pretty hard.” She went on to say: “Despite losing to York, we gained valuable experience, and look forward to taking them on again next year with more experience behind our pushers.”
The 0-12 scoreline doesn’t really give a fair representation of how our Octopush team have developed in such a short space of time this year. Judge them competitively on the next few Roses once they themselves learn the game and become a stronger unit.
For more information join their Facebook group – where more information regarding joining the group, with recommended taster days being offered to new recruits to test the water – is available.