Spirited performances see improved display from Octopush Club in Nationals

An impressive performance in the Octopush British Student Nationals saw York’s A team claim ninth place whilst the B team claimed 15th, a marked improvement on last year.

The event, hosted by Bangor University from the 8-10 March, proved a huge success. In recent years York has underperformed, generally finishing close to the bottom of the table.

This year York graced the tournament with two teams, and as the games began early on Saturday morning it was evident that the past year had resulted in significant improvement in the club’s level of play.

Octopush involves six-a-side teams working a plastic puck across the bottom of the pool, through the opposing team and into a metal trough, also known as a ‘gully’. The sport is growing in popularity worldwide, and also within York as the high influx of freshers to the sport this season has shown.

York’s A Team, which included three freshers had a mixed first round of matches on Saturday 9 March, winning two, drawing one and losing four. Following this, the second round of matches saw York undefeated; destroying Plymouth B, the hosts Bangor and Warwick B. The game against Plymouth was the most notable, with the Black and Gold winning 12-0 over the Southern team, with whom York disappointingly drew in the first round of matches.

York’s play was precise and spirited, and it was clear that York A had made a marked improvement on their first round games. Driving sprints, co-ordinated offensives, excellent positioning and fierce defence were key to York’s second round success.

Notable performances came from captain and centre-back Erdi Babili who demonstrated the importance of a strong set of lungs, remaining submerged for extensive periods in order to ensure successful defence, whilst Richard Allum’s relentless drives from left-back led to a swathe of goals in the second round of play. In addition, the praiseworthy effort of York’s forwards saw efficient supportive play and explosive game starts to beat York’s opponents to the puck the majority of the time.

York’s A Team finished ninth amongst a list of 16 teams, a huge improvement and cause for ecstasy in the York team who couldn’t have dreamed of such a result this time last year.

York’s B Team also excelled, finishing 15th overall, yet scoring a more than respectable number of goals. Under the stern leadership of Sabina Hillebrandt, the B team displayed resilient attitude and substantial effort. The B team showed remarkable stamina throughout the day, testament to the success of increased emphasis on fitness and anaerobic endurance in the weekly sessions.

In total, between York’s two teams, 62 goals were scored, which was one of the highest number of goals from any University in the tournament, with the A Team securing 51 goals and the B team adding 11 goals to the total.

Speaking with Nouse after the tournament an overjoyed Babili said, “Over two terms we were able to transform our standard of play from below average to competitive, whilst maintaining a fun and supportive culture within the club. I couldn’t have asked for anything more!”

Torris Rasmussen, Club President, was to keen to stress that the Nationals was “a fantastic weekend, that once again has proved the great team spirit of the club.”

York Octopush Club has made it clear that they will endeavour to seek continuity in the tight-knit community of the club as well as further improvement in the skills and abilities of its members, which they will hope to exhibit at future tournaments, such as the Nautilus meet in Autumn term of 2013 and again at the Student Nationals in 2014.

Overall, the picture is one of great improvement and celebration, and with these recent achievements under their belt, one can only expect greater things from the University’s sub-aqua sports club.

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