21-0 to Lancaster in the first Roses game since 2019
Underwater Hockey (aka Octopush, aka UWH) is one of the more niche Roses sports. Played with pucks and sticks, snorkels and fins, this competition is a game of hockey…underwater. With us so far? Great.
To kick off the match, six from Lancaster’s team of ten strain against the wall waiting for the call. ‘Ready, set, go!’ And they’re off, sprinting through the water. They meet York’s six in the middle where the puck sits at the bottom.
Within moments, 2019 GB player Ella Tomlinson scores the first Lancaster goal.
In each six: two or three forwards drive the puck toward the other team’s goal, a centre supports the two halves, and two or three backs defend their own goal.
For Lancaster, two forward attackers prove time and time again they know how to work together. Joe Cann, a 3rd-year studying ‘Nothing Important’, and 2nd-year Sam Shutler are a force to be reckoned with.
Both have been training together for the last two years and they’re unbeatable for York’s defence.
Captained by Peter Sr. and presented by Peter Jr., Lancaster dominate through the first half.
Until Shutler and Cann charge ahead to meet the first real fight from York. A struggle breaks out feet from York’s goal. Unlike land hockey, a struggle in UWH could spell defeat for anyone when players can only hold their breath for so long.
At the last moment, it’s centre-back Jim Cousins who secures the goal.
Interval: The Lancaster Stingrays
Lancaster’s team, The Stingrays, are mascotted by Steve the crocheted Stingray (courtesy of Dee Dunkinson, society treasurer). While many of the Roses team have competed before, most of the society members join with no previous experience.
SCAN spoke to Peter Lamont, president of the society and top goal-scorer for the match about how he joined The Stingrays:
‘After seeing the team’s flag at Refreshers Fair in first year, I thought it sounded cool and turned up to a taster. Four years later, and I’ve competed in Students Nationals at Leeds, Nautilus at Sheffield, the Celtic Cup in Wales, and the Shamrock Cup in Ireland.
‘To anyone considering joining, you won’t regret it. It’s a small, close-knit team of good friends who are so supportive and fun to play with. There’s nothing like underwater hockey.’
In the second half of the match, that close-knit teamwork pays off. York abandons thoughts of attack and clings desperately to a defence led by York’s no.12. But they’re doomed to fail against The Stingrays’ ruthless skill.
The game finishes poetically with a final goal from the 19-year-old centre who scored the first goal, Ella Tomlinson.
After a team vote, MVP for the match is the youngest player, Joel Anderson. A first-year Computer Science student, Anderson’s experience outside of university sports is ‘watching Octonauts.’ Chosen for his constant drive of the game, always trying to make something happen, Anderson is invaluable to the team.
Despite underwater hockey losing point-scoring status in this year’s Roses, the sweeping Lancaster win stands them in good stead for next year.