OCTOBER saw the start of the 2016/17 canoe polo season as some of the lower divisions competed around the country.
The top divisions start their competitions at the beginning of January.
Two local canoeists who are in the Great Britain National Ladies Team also play in the both the lower division men’s leagues and in a Division One ladies’ team who, playing as Dragon Ladies, were national GB champion team last season.
They started this season playing in the Division Two leagues, both at outdoor venues, and will play indoors for the rest of their matches.
Nicole Brain, the 23-year-old swim manager at Stratford Leisure Centre, played her first match last weekend in Division Two South at the Woodgreen Open Air Pool at Banbury.
On a chilly day she played in the Sharks team along with two of her GB team-mates – Bethan Littlewood and Louise Saxon – and four other paddlers, all from South Wales.
Although they had a poor start and lost their first two games, it turned out to be a reasonable competition for the team.
Their third match was a 2-2 draw against the Cherwell Valley team from Banbury and they completed the day by winning the last two games.
The first was a close game which they managed to win 3-1 against a Cardiff University side before they ended the day with a fine 7-0 win against Aberfan.
Nineteen-year-old Danielle Brain, currently at Liverpool University, is playing this season in Division Two North in a team from the Friends of Allonby club she trains with whilst in Liverpool.
This is also a mixed team of men and women of variable skill playing in the men’s league.
At their first competition, in which they competed at Tees as a new team, they came away with two wins and two draws, which was a more than reasonable start to the season.
Their second tournament at Roundhay, Leeds, was not such a good result as they lost two, won one and drew one.