The Mens Water Polo team at Edinburgh University has become the first Scottish university team to win the Premier BUCS Championship.
Under the leadership of captain Luca D’Adderio from Edinburgh who plays at center back, and coached by Alasdair Campbell in his first year with the team, the University of Edinburgh’s men’s water polo players were victorious in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Championship, making them the first Scottish team to win the prestigious title.
The men’s team finished the league phase in top spot with a 100% winning streak – this is a phase of ten games played both home and away. This result gave the team home draws in the play offs culminating with Edinburgh beating Durham 21-13 in the quarters, and Sheffield Hallam 10-9 in the semi finals. The team has only been in the final on two previous occasions so this has indeed been a historic season for them.
The final was played in Nottingham against the home team and what should have been a neutral fixture quickly turned into an “away” day but the Edinburgh team won comfortably 15-10, after a 7-1 half time score.
Edinburgh’s points were mainly scored by left wing, Finlay Nesbitt, who scored six, and although a team in the pool is made up of seven players, there are thirteen including those on the bench, who are regularly swapped in – this is a very physically demanding game.
Guy Broadhurst and Luca say they have trained with the team three times a week, in addition to strength and conditioning sessions and swimming as often as they can.
Guy who is from Aberdeen plays right wing, and explained that the sport favors the person playing at left wing in terms of points scored. Luca agreed, saying: “If you are on the right wing you don’t score very much unless you are left-handed. The way you set up is in an arc, and it is easier to shoot from the left hand side towards the goal as you are receiving the ball onto your good arm.”
Both players have competed together since they were about 14 years-old, and although Guy will graduate this year, he hopes to keep playing his sport during his year out travelling. The pair were both members of the Scottish national junior team, winning in the under-19 category and in the club championships of Great Britain at various times. (And they even beat the English team once… the first time in decades.)
Guy explained there is more to playing water polo than just being able to stay afloat. He said: “Just about everyone who plays water polo in the UK is a former swimmer. You need the fitness and you need to be a strong swimmer but not necessarily a competitive swimmer. I think it is most similar to basketball or maybe handball in a pool. Everyone attacks and everyone defends.”
Luca added: “In terms of the game itself it is very physical and, generally speaking, anything the ref can’t see goes. But during the game you are not meant to touch the bottom, no matter what. But you need to be more than just a good swimmer. You need to have strength and also be a team player.”
Five members of the water polo team will be graduating in the summer and there will be room to recruit new members. Luca said he has already heard from some from the Scotland team who will be matriculating at Edinburgh later this year, and hopes to continue the championship run with some new talent.
The members of the winning team were: Luca D’Adderio (capt), Guy Broadhurst, William Moores, Dominique Zahra, Filip Hannel, Finlay Nesbitt, Rory Nesbitt, James Melville, Matthew Seward, Nikos Zavitsanos, Ramon Fernández Mir, Alexander Aitken, Thomas Cameron, Yalin Gulen and Alasdair Campbell (Coach).