National League Restructure and 2016/17 Playoff revision

At the beginning of December we shared the reasoning behind, and our current progress towards, the restructuring of the National League to ask for your feedback. I’m pleased to say we received some good constructive feedback, thank you to everyone that took the time to send in their thoughts! We have since consulted updated proposals with the league organisers, before discussing and agreeing final recommendations as a Canoe Polo Committee. After careful consideration over the last five months we now have a structure that we wish to implement for the winter 2017 season onwards. 

Please find the league restructure document here: (

Please find the 2016/17 Play-off information here: (

Some of the key factors considered in the later stages of the process following your feedback:


·           Div 1 Open - playing everyone in the division and having the highest quality of competition was the priority over costs.

·           Prioritising better value for money across pool costs and distance travelled in all other divisions.

·           At all levels players and teams wanted to increase the number of games played at a single tournament, so you don’t "have to travel long distance to only play three games”.

It was also noted that:


·           There are currently no Youth leagues running. To encourage the development of youth competition, we will be financially supporting a new youth league on a geographical basis in a similar way that we support the ladies development league (reduced entry fees and other educational support). 

·           In the ladies class it is clear that the development league is still evolving, teams are not currently always willing to take automatic promotion. We have listened to this; promotion will only be automatic if a development team wins two years in a row.  

o   However, as there are currently only 9 teams in Ladies Div 1 league we would like to strongly encourage one more team to make 10. If we cannot encourage another entry, then we will consider drafting a team consisting of stronger players from across the development division. These players would also continue to play with their own teams in the development league. We will keep you posted on this once entries are received.


Finally, a crucial consideration was that this restructure did not penalise Clubs within the current promotion/relegation provisions and that the weekend in July become obsolete from the advertised playoffs. Therefore:


·           We have kept 10 teams in Div 1 and increased Div 2 to 12 teams in each of the leagues, promotion and relegation between Div 1 and Div 2 will be exactly the same. 

·           Between Div 2 to 3: all 1st and 2nd placed teams in Div 3 will be promoted and will no longer be required to play-off  (Yay I hear them say). We will organize for teams to play each other if they wish to on that weekend. 

·           Between Div 4 to 3: All 1st placed teams in Div 4 will be promoted. The 9th placed div 3 and 2nd placed Div 4 teams will play-off for the final Div 3 place. This is only for this season to achieve the right number of teams in each league and normal promotion and relegation will be implemented from the 2017 / 2018 season. After careful consideration this is the only promotion process we have had to alter. Please refer to the document for further details on who will be involved in the play-off.


Thank you to all the paddlers, league organisers and committee members who have all given their opinions and views on how they would like things to change and improve. All the options have been discussed by the committee on numerous conference calls to ensure we are implementing a new structure with minimum impact whilst achieving our aims of increasing participation, improving the quality of British polo and delivering better value for money.

If you have any further feedback please send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . If there are no major objections in the next month with this new restructure then we will confirm its implementation for the 2017/2018 Winter Season.






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Play-off Weekend

The 2016/17 season playoff event will be the second major event hosted at our new home venue at the Holme-Pierrepont national watersports centre!

Teams fighting for promotion or relegation will be confirmed after the regular season ends.

This will be a fantastic weekend in the sun, with tense action-packed polo. The final round of Division 1 Open and Ladies season will also be taking place, a great chance to watch the best players in the country vie for the domestic championship.

Please see this season's rules - a reminder that when entering the national league you make a commitment to the playoff weekend should you qualify to attend:

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Division 1 Weekend and Playoff Date Change

Due to much feedback that the date of the Div 1 Mens / Ladies weekend competition and Playoffs Weekend clashed with exams for Universities and Schools in June, it was discussed and decided at the recent committee meeting, to move the weekend from 10th /11th June to 15th / 16th July.
This decision was not taken lightly, and the Committee appreciate is not ideal to change a date of an advertised competition, so apologies for the change. We reviewed UK competitions, ECA cups, international competitions and this was the best date. We will make sure that we address the playoff date early next year and not change the play off weekend. 

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European Club Championships 2017

We've received some information regarding the European Club Championships which you can access here.

Selection Criteria

The team in first place of Open Division 1 will be the first team selected, the second team selection criteria is still to be confirmed and will be discussed at a future committee meeting.

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Blog From the Chair

Blog From The Chair

Warning war and peace. Get a nice cup of tea and find a nice sofa to read this.

Hopefully this will be a regular update to keep paddlers, volunteers, mums and dads informed on what we are trying to achieve as a committee and maybe interest people in getting involved..

Some of you know me ....but here is a brief resume.

I have been involved in the sport of canoeing for forty years (yes I know some of you weren't born). I started as a slalom paddler, and then in the last 20 odd years have been in polo. I paddled for GB in slalom and polo, playing for the polo teams of Bere Forrest, The Wimps, and Dragon winning a few national leagues and the odd international polo tournament. As many will know I am very passionate about the sport and competitive, which at my age of 50 probably isn't a good combination, as I should be taking it easy on the sofa with that cup of tea.

At the ACM I was voted as chairman and I will be working with the current members of the committee to make a difference. After a couple of weeks of discussing with the current committee members and my new vice chairman, I have found we are all passionate about making GB polo the best it can be, but also realise that there are obstacles and challenges ahead. There are many people with lots of skills but there is also room for new people to help us deliver the professional exciting sport that we all love.

So an update

First I would like to congratulate the GB teams that competed in Syracuse, Italy and especially the U21 Men who were crowned U21 World Champions. Well done teams and coaches. From what I can see our squads and teams have a good future ahead. The squads train at Doncaster as this site is great value for money. They hold training sessions there most months over the winter and I am hoping that we can get members of the squads to put a blog up from each winter training session, with paddlers or coaches sharing the fun stuff that happens, as well as the serious stuff on what it takes to be a GB paddler. I'm also will be looking for some of senior paddlers to be mentors to our younger paddlers, new to the sport, who want help or advice in training etc. If anyone wants help in polo training then please email me and I will try and put you in touch with the right person. I would also like to congratulate Mike Moffitt on being awarded British Canoeing Volunteer Coach of the Year (Male). A well deserved award for Mike who has worked tirelessly with the FOA canoe club and the GB development squads.…

This brings me on to the fantastic new competition venue at Nottingham. Hopefully you have seen the pictures. The venue will be used to run many events. We have already signed up BUCS for the universities Polo Champs at the same time there is a freestyle comp at the Nottingham site (now that could be a good party). The national league playoffs will be held there and we are hoping to resurrect the annual national champs competition there in the summer, so that we can get every level of polo at the same venue. We are also in discussions to run an international polo competition at the site in the future.

The national leagues are up and running indoors and out. Thanks go to Sally and Rob as national leagues organiser and to all of the league organisers for volunteering to run them. Running a league is a challenging task (as I know from running div 1 for a number of years) so if your tournament is run smoothly and you enjoyed it then please say thanks to them when you finish. This year we are rolling out shot clocks to the divisions 2s although we did have some teething problems when one was blown up ( we think you have to make sure the power wires are the right way round!). We will be reviewing the shot clock situation at the forthcoming committee meetings so we have a robust solution as well as developing for the future.

This brings me on to a passion of mine refereeing... On 10th December there is grade 1/1T course at Coventry. Hopefully all the div 1 and div 2 teams will send people for the course. At the course we will not only review the current rules but for Div1 men tournaments only we plan to run the newly ratified ICF rules that will be released on 26th November. We plan to run a grade 1 / 1T course at the beginning of the year and the end of the year so we get more and more people qualified. We will also continue to run three grade 2/3/4 courses every year, at the beginning of the season, as well as asking clubs to run local course around the country. If you want more info then please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Now refereeing is something we need to do to run a happy fun tournament, so again please don't abuse those that step up and if you get a chance at the end of the game, then just a nice "thanks for refing" goes a long way. The rules and regulations are there to help us to run our sport smoothly. And yes we do get the odd decision wrong, but sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't so please just accept it.

This brings me onto competition rules. This year we have updated the competition rules and have put in regulations and sanctions to try and clear up possible situations arising as well as be consistent. Although there are still some updates to make things a bit clearer, which will go into next year’s rules, I will ensure we are consistent with implementing them. We need rules so that we have a level playing field and to run happy competitions. Here is the link to the rules, if you get a chance please read them.…/useful-info/useful-documents

My future dreams...

This year we have managed to make payments online for the national leagues, which hopefully makes life easier than bringing a cheque to tournaments (not sure I know if I have a cheque book anymore !!). Hopefully in the coming year we will do more with IT. My master plan would be for us to be able to enter all the info online for entry / names / BCU numbers / refs before tournament so we don't have to bring it on paper !! Also a dream to be able to update scores on an iPad at a tournament and when you get home update it to the web so people can see the scores in a timely manner. So I will be discussing what we can do in this area. We will however discuss and work closely on this with British Canoeing who are also going through changes. Our website needs a major overhaul but in the short term we will be making sure it’s up to date. British Canoeing is talking about updating their webpages so although I would like to give the polo site a complete makeover this is on hold till we BC makes their changes. We will however be updating both the web pages, Facebook, and twitter as regularly as we can with information, news and this blog when I have interesting information.

Please feel free to email the relevant committee members if you want more information in any area.

Thanks for reading.


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