Guildford entered the 2013 National Championships via the Preliminary tournament, held at K2 in Crawley in February. The teams were split into two groups, with the top team from each automatically qualifying for the next round and the remainder going into a set of playoffs. Our last group match saw us poised to win the group, but our opponents were a tiny bit stronger so we ended up in the playoffs but still (eventually) managed to qualify for the next round, the Qualifiers.
The National Qualifiers round sees the 6 teams from the Preliminaries join the top 18 teams from last year's competition for two days of hockey. We were in the second half of the draw on Saturday and had 11 really close games, with an amazing 6 draws. On Sunday we were in the Bowl competition and despite putting up a good fight we weren't able to be in contention for the trophy. We'll be back in next year's Preliminary round for another try.
The Nautilus league is an annual national competition run by the British Octopush Association. The event is held in Sheffield in November each year and as we hadn't taken part in recent years we had to re-enter in the lowest division. Our team had a clean sweep, winning all 7 games and only conceding 3 goals. Division 4 awaits next year!
The club hosts a popular annual tournament at the Guildford Lido each year, followed by a BBQ in the Lido's landscaped grounds. We use a 6 team round robin format and the Lido is big enough to allow 3 games to run in parallel so we can keep the action going. As legs begin to tire the smell of BBQ smoke wafting over the pool helps to get players through the last game or two before the competition for space on the grill starts.
Prizes are awarded to every team but this is one tournament where taking part is really as important as winning (well, almost!). The main trophy is given in commemoration of Grant Davidson, one of the founder members of the club who sadly passed away in 2003.
The club sent a full team of 10 to the Newport tournament on 21st January and returned victorious.
We held a home tournament on 26th May in the Surrey Sports Park pool. This was the first time this new pool had been used for Octopush and we had a total of 10 teams competing, including 2 Guildford teams. The final was a tight contest between Guildford1 and Southsea Development, with the home team eventually taking the title.
The club has one of the largest junior sections of any club in the country. Our junior players learn skills and game tactics, and roughly once a month we run a mini tournament where our junior players are split into 4 teams each supported by one adult. Our U13s came a well deserved 3rd at the last regional competition, as most were playing their first tournament. We hope to continue this success in the next regional tournament and junior nationals, entering an U16 team as well.
Some of our junior players have gone on to represent Great Britain at World and European champonships, competing at U19, U23 and Elite level.