Batley Underwater Hockey Tournament


A Junior Underwater hockey Tournament for under 13 years old players was held at Batley Sports and Tennis Centre on Saturday 24th January 2009.


The tournament attracted 7 teams : from the Orkney Islands, Solent, Newcastle (Nemo), Manchester (Xarifa), Rochdale, Huddersfield and Batley.


The sport of underwater hockey or octopush involves wearing mask, fins and snorkel and holding your breath while you push a lead puck around the bottom of the swimming pool. Working as a team is essential since you can only hold your breath so long and then have to surface before going down again. Matches at the tournament were 6 minutes each way. As you can imagine it is important to change ends since defending the deep end is much harder.

Each team has 10  players : 6 in the water and 4 subs who can swap at any time during the game. There are 2 referees in the water who decide whether a goal has been scored and also make sure that nobody fouls for example pushing the puck with your hand instead of the small bat.


The tournament was extremely exciting with an overall winner in Solent who beat other teams convincingly but other games were very close. In second place was the Orkney’s who actually set off for the tournament on Friday morning and will be catching the ferry across on Monday morning to arrive just in time for school. They have a school swimming pool and play octopush as an after school club!


In third place was local team Huddersfield who beat Batley in the competition 3 : 1 with a second goal from Batley being disallowed because it was after time. Huddersfield meet at Huddersfield sports centre every Monday evening at 8 p.m.


4th place was Nemo a team from Newcastle


5th was Batley . This was a first tournament for all of the Batley players many of whom only started playing in May last year.  Junior octopush sessions run every Sunday at Batley Sports and Tennis Centre from 5.30 till 6.30 p.m. For more infromation please contact the sports centre.


6th place was Xarifa a team from Manchester who are hosting a tournament in February.


Finally a mixed Rochdale and Batley team came 7th. This team included mainly Batley players and performed very well considering the age and experience of those involved.


Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the tournament and it is hoped to become an annual event as it used to be 10 years ago.  Batley has actually trained many junior players who have gone on to represent Great Britain in World and European Underwater Hockey Championships..