The busy start to the year for Colchester water polo teams continued as the under 13s travelled the short distance down the A12 to play against Suffolk Coastal Torpedos at Crown Pools in Ipswich last Friday evening. Many of the younger members have not had a competitive game and this was a great opportunity to see how far they had all come following their training sessions.
Unfortunately, the small squad Colchester had was depleted slightly at the last minute due to illness which meant Colchester travelled with a bare 7, meaning they had no substitutes. The game began with Torpedos dominating the early part of the first quarter as the Colchester team settled. Torpedos raced into a 3-0 lead. But Colchester were just finding their feet in the game and fought back to finish the first quarter 3-2 following 2 goals for George Vinter.
It seemed something had clicked with the Colchester team as they began the second quarter dominating their opposition, stopping them passing and breaking down their attacks. More importantly Colchester were ruthless with their finishing and quickly realised that with sensible passing they could work their way through the Torpedos team. Goals for Vinter and Penelope Croal saw Colchester take the lead 4-3 at half time.
The second half saw complete domination from the Colchester youngsters. By then end of the third quarter Colchester led 8-4 following a brace for Dexter Atkinson and goals for Seb Velcherean and Daniel Blacker.
The game ended 11-3 to Colchester with goals from Velcherean and a further brace from Vinter. The whole team performed admirably, their determination to win the ball and way they adapted to play as a team was great to watch, especially when they were all in the pool for the entire game with no rest. The future is definitely bright for Colchester water polo teams.
The growth of Colchester water polo over the past year has been clear for all to see. The men’s senior team now complete at National level, juniors have been representing the East Region at various ages groups. The women proved over the past couple of weekends that they will not be left behind. The women have entered into the London league where they pit themselves against the best women’s teams in the South. Following a first season in the summer league that saw the team lose 2 and win 1 game the team were optimistic of good results in the winter league based at Whitgift School in Croydon. The team is made up mostly of Colchester players with a few from Cambridge and Chelmsford.
The first day of games saw the team face Enfield who they had no come up against previously and had no knowledge of the other team. The team is also lacking a goalkeeper which makes it difficult sharing the role between the outfield players. Despite this the team began brightly keeping possession of the ball well. However, an early penalty saw Enfield take the lead which saw the confidence drain from the team. Enfield managed another 3 goals in the first quarter which Colchester could not respond to. Enfield began the second quarter as they finished the first racing scoring early following an exclusion from the Colchester team. Colchester did manage to finally get on the scoresheet as Maisy Head produced a fine finish, but Enfield continued to dominate and scored a further 3 goals before Head could score again.
The third quarter was a much tighter affair with Enfield only scoring the one goal. Unfortunately, Colchester could not muster another goal and Enfield ran out 14-2 victors. It was a tough first game for the girls.
Next up was a fixture against South London Leeches, in the summer league the girls had produced a fine display in beating the Leeches by a solitary goal and were keen to gain another victory. It is never easy going into the second game of the day but the Colchester team produced a fine display. Again it was a tight affair as the first quarter finished 1-1, but Colchester managed to gain the advantage by half time taking a 3-2 lead. Colchester then scored 3 in the third quarter to take a 6-4 advantage into the final minutes of the game. Leeches had more players fresh for the final quarter and could use their extra players, but Colchester held on to win 7-6 including 2 goals for Olivia Vinter.
The next weekend of action saw Colchester play a new team in Faversham. Colchester got off to a fine start racing into a 4-1 lead by the end of the first quarter. They certainly had the momentum rolling after the previous weeks performance as they develop into a team. Colchester increased their lead to 6-2 by half time and by the end of the third quarter led 9-4. Colchester did ease up in the final quarter as they gave some of their younger members vital game experience. The final score was 9-7 to Colchester. Vinter scoring another 2 goals and Rachel Nelson scoring 3.
Colchester return to Whitgift School this weekend to face London Orcas and Beckenham in the final games of this winter season.
Colchester water polo squad has continued to show continued growth over the previous year. They now have 2 senior teams running in the local league, a women’s team entered into the London League competition, multiple junior teams where they compete against other East region teams and the men’s first team also complete in the inaugural National Conference Water Polo League. This year they won 6 out of 7 games, finished 2nd and have now entered Phase 2 of the competition.
The past year has seen growth beyond anyone’s expectation following a Swim England “Introduction to water polo” programme run across last summer. The increase in membership numbers and the fact they are now entering multiple teams in leagues evidences that growth. This all resulted in Colchester being voted East Region club of the year 2023. An amazing achievement for a small club like ours that has operated on a shoestring for many years.
As a result of winning the Regional Awards Colchester were invited to attend the Swim England National Awards on Saturday 18th November. Hosted in Birmingham University’s great hall volunteers, coaches, officials as well as clubs were presented awards throughout the afternoon. Head water polo coaches Simon Lecomber and Martin Vinter attended the awards on behalf of Colchester and were delighted to win 3rd place in the National Awards. Whilst Simon and Martin have overseen the growth, they never expected to receive recognition to this level. Martin stated “The award is amazing recognition for the many hours of work that have gone in to securing our future when we started our junior section 12 years ago”.
Colchester junior water polo member Almos Bujtar was selected for the East under 14 boys team to play in the Inter Regional chamionships in Walsall over the weekend of the 18th & 19th November.
The East team played four games on the Saturday in a round robin tournament. The team started well with a hard fought defeat to the North East 11-7, but the small squad, depleted by injuries sustained prior to the tournament, started to tire. Later in the day saw the East team suffer defeats to West Midlands 7-1, South West 18-4 and Scotland 10-3.
The boys had to contend with a final play off game against the East Midlands on the Sunday where they lost 7-4.
The experience gained playing for the East in the tournaments will prepare Colchester's junior members for higher level polo.
A few words from Almos below:
"It was a great pleasure to be selected and represent my club (Colchester Waterpolo) in the East Region Team. It was an awesome, intense experience. The Inter Regional Championship was a challenge for our team as unfortunately our goal keeper broke his arm just before the weekend. I came home very tired but cannot wait to train futher and represent the Regional Team in the near future again. We really had a lovely time in Walsall.
Waterpolo gave me not only confidence in sport, but many friends and laughs as well. I found the sport I enjoy and am really passionate tabout taking it to the next level.
I have no doubt about that my younger team mates from the club will have this amazing opportunity in the future, because our coaches, Simon and Martin always give their best".
Colchester water polo team, fresh from their recent success at the Swim England National awards took the relatively short journey to Chelmsford on Monday 20th November to compete against Cambridge in the Eastern League Handicap Cup final. The game was played at Chelmsford due to the superior facilities where the game would be played in a deep-water pool.
Both teams had full squads of 13 and there were a number of spectators eagerly anticipating the game ahead. The cup is run on a handicap system dependant on league standings from the previous year. Cambridge started the game with a 2-goal advantage.
Colchester began the game in determined fashion and goals from Martin Vinter and braces for Ben Chapman and Simon Lecomber quickly wiped out the handicap deficit and opened up a clear lead. However, some dubious refereeing decisions meant Colchester had a number of exclusions. Cambridge managed to take advantage of the extra man on a couple of attacks and scored goals of their own at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter began 5-4, including the handicap to Colchester.
The second quarter saw more fouls given away by Colchester and a much tighter game as Cambridge closed the gap to one goal. However, a major foul by Cambridge led to a player being temporarily ejected from the pool and Colchester capitalised with Lecomber adding to his tally right at the end of the quarter. Chapman had scored 2 goals earlier in the quarter as the game finished 8-6 at half time.
Colchester looked to reset for the second quarter as they knew Cambridge would tire, especially playing in the all deep pool. But further arguing with the referee saw Lecomber dismissed for his third major foul and permanent exclusion from the game. Fortunately, Colchester were able to substitute Lecomber and retained a full team for the rest of the game. Lecomber’s exclusion seemed to be the trigger point for Colchester to play more of their natural game. A further brace of goals for Chapman and a goal for Dan Eaton with only the solitary reply for Cambridge meant the third quarter ended 11-7.
The final quarter saw Cambridge tire, Colchester used all their substitutes to take full advantage. Chapman scored again to take his tally to 9 for the game. Eaton also scored from distance and Antonio Girolami scored alongside Ethan Wyatt who came to life in the final quarter scoring 3 goals. The game finished 17-8 to Colchester as they won the cup having lost to Chelmsford in the final in the previous season. This really was the icing on the cake following the National Awards the previous weekend.
Polo Team Compete at NCWPL. 11/12th November 2023
Colchester travelled to Bolton to the Jason Kenny sports
centre where they competed in the final phase of group games in the National
Conference Water Polo League on weekend of 11th November. After a
long journey up on the Saturday Colchester were eager to get in the pool, first
game was against Northampton at 5pm. In the previous year Colchester had very
close hard-fought games and this was eagerly anticipated by everyone.
Northampton had lost a couple of players to higher divisions
over the past year but had their returning Moldovan captain who makes a huge
difference to their youthful team. Colchester were back to a full-strength
squad. The first quarter saw Northampton take an early 2 goal lead as the
journey seemed to have adverse effects on the Colchester team. However, they
regrouped and finally pulled a goal back through Zach Beale. But Northampton
continued to drive forwards as Colchester conceded again, it wasn’t until the
final minute of the quarter that Ethan Wyatt pulled another back for
Colchester. With the clock running down with only 4 seconds on the clock
Colchester won a penalty that Will Chapman duly dispatched and the quarter
The first quarter was fast and frantic, Colchester knew they
had to slow the game down and resume control of the game. The second quarter
saw Colchester put in an inspired defensive display as they dominated the
Northampton attack and stopped them scoring. Goals from Beale and Ben Chapman
saw Colchester take a 5-3 lead into the second half.
The third quarter returned to the frantic polo of the first
quarter as Northampton looked to close the gap. Colchester conceded several
questionable major fouls which left them at risk of losing players for the
remainder of the game. Despite this Colchester extended their lead as Adam
Lecomber and 3 for Simon Lecomber who suddenly found his shooting arm to punish
Northampton. But now earlier exclusions started to hurt Colchester. Exclusions
for Martin Vinter and Dan Eaton meant that Colchester had to finish the final
quarter of the game without these players.
The final quarter started 9-6 to Colchester and further
extended their lead to 11-6 with goas from Adam Lecomber and Ben Chapman. But
just when Colchester thought the had done enough, Northampton returned with a
flurry of goals to bring the scoreline back to 11-9 with a minute remaining on
the clock. Northampton had a player excluded and Colchester called the
strategic timeout, which enabled them to set up one final attack, which Adam
Lecomber duly scored from to leave Colchester victorious 12-10.
Colchester’s final game was against fellow unbeaten team
Coventry who called upon many of the Solihull players who have previously
played at very high levels including a member of the GB 2012 Olympic team. The
game was at 9am on the Sunday morning, something that is very unusual for a
water polo game. The game began well for Colchester with brothers Ben and Will Chapman
both scoring early goals. But Coventry’s strength showed and they clawed their
way back to lead 5-3 after the first quarter. The Midlands club continued to
dominate the second quarter as Colchester looked jaded. The second quarter
finished 11-5 to Coventry with goals from Adam Lecomber and Wyatt for
Colchester. After a stern half time talk from coach Simon Lecomber Colchester
regrouped and started to dominate play again. Colchester won the 3rd
quarter 4-3 through a brace for Ben Chapman, Dan Eaton with a fine lob and Will
The final quarter began 14-9 to Coventry and despite all the
hard work from the previous quarter Colchester were just unable to compete as
the Midland club extended their lead. Adam Lecomber was able to score from a
rare Colchester attack as the team tired. Coventry ran out 18-10 winners, but Colchester
can take great heart in the fact that the team that has grown from players
entirely based within Colchester are able to compete at that level. The
Conference League will have 2 divisions next year and Colchester will go into
Phase 2 of this year’s competition hoping to be in Division 1 in 2024.
Polo Team Compete at NCWPL.
Due to the growth of Colchester mens water polo team over
the past couple of years, they decided to enter the National league programme
to remain competitive. 2022 saw an excellent debut campaign Colchester narrowly
miss out on a play off place for Division 4. This year Colchester have entered
the newly formed National Conference Water Polo League that has replaced the
BWPL Division 5. Over the first weekend based in Walsall Colchester had 3 tough
games against Radcliffe, Invicta Marlins and Bedford.
First up was Radcliffe on Saturday lunch time. Colchester
began well leading 6-3 after the first quarter, but Radcliffe hung on and
despite Colchester playing a high press continued to trouble to Colchester
defence. It wasn’t until the third quarter that Radcliffe began to tire and
Colchester too full advantage. The game finished 24-11 to Colchester as they
began their season in style.
The second game was Invicta Marlins late on Saturday
evening, in a similar scenario the previous year the Marlins had shocked
Colchester, so Colchester were hopeful of gaining revenge. Colchester hit the
ground running early and pushed Invicta back with their high press. The first
quarter finished with Colchester leading 6-2 and by half time they were winning
12-4. Invicta regrouped and drew the third quarter 6-6, but Colchester proved
too strong in the final quarter with the game finishing in the same score as
the Radcliffe game earlier in the day. Adam Lecomber, Colchester’s own previous
GB under 19 forward score 18 goals throughout the day. 2 wins from 2 games was
a great start to the season.
The Sunday fixture saw Colchester take on Bedford, who
Colchester previously played in the qualifying playoff for Division 5 the
previous year. Bedford played a deep drop and counter attacking game, a tactic
that Colchester were not used to and made their pressing game less efficient.
The game was end to end and never more than 2 goal difference between the
teams. Bedford also found a way of stopping Lecomber being so dangerous in
front of goal. Something for Colchester to think about in the future games. The
score at half time was 7-6 to Colchester and the game went back and forth right
until the final seconds with Colchester squeezing out at 12-11 victory to
secure their third win of the weekend to sit in second place in the table just
behind Coventry, the favourites for the title on goal difference and ahead of
Sheffield Dolphins, the only other team with a 100% record after the first
weekend. Colchester now travel to Northampton and Bolton for the final 2
weekends of the season.
impress at season opener
Colchester juniors travelled to Hitchin to participate in
their open air tournament at Letchworth lido on September 2nd.
Following the summer break, this was the first times many of the players had
been in the water for 3 weeks!
Nevertheless Colchester’s team was strong and were hoprful
of putting in some good performances against some very competitive junior
teams. Colchester were drawn against hosts Hitchin in the first game, who had
previous won Colchester’s home tournament, so knew they would be up against it.
Despite this Colchester put in a great performance to run out 4-2 winners.
Next up Colchester played Cambridge. From the start
Colchester controlled the game and ran out 6-0 winners. Thie meant that
Colchester won their group and would now play the final against Watford.
Watford are by far and away the biggest water polo club
within our Region with over 300 members. Colchester showed no nerves when
coming face to face with their rivals. A tough encounter saw the scoreline 0-0
at half time. Unfortunately one of the Colchester players suffered cramp in the
second half and had to sit out, this enabled a way in for Watford who began to
dominate in the second half. Watford ran out 4-1 winners on the day. Coach
Scott Ginder said Colchester’s players all acquitted themselves really well and
it would only have taken a few things to go differently and the score line
could have been different against Watford. A great start to the season for the
Back row from left to right: Philip Rutland, Segio
Velcherean, George Li, Seth Belshaw, Almos Bujtar, James Blacker. Front row: Freya
Wood, Daisy Himsworth and Maisy Head
Colchester under 14s vs Hitchin under 14s - 15th January 2023
26 January 2023
Colchester welcomed Hitchin under 14s team to Leisureworld on Sunday 15th January. The game was set up to give Colchester’s new junior players the opportunity of a competitive match against a team of similar age. The game took place in front of the biggest crowd seen at a Colchester game for a long time. There was a buzz of excitement around the pool before the game began.
Colchester fielded their eldest player in goal to give the youngsters game time on pitch with Colchester’s players ranging from 9-13. Hitchin began well and had one player in particular who caused Colchester’s defence problems. He scored all 3 goals as Hitchin went into a 3-0 lead by the end of the third quarter. Despite this Colchester had chances to score, but just could not quite manage the final pass or shot.
The second quarter saw Colchester grow in confidence, James Blacker in goal made a number of good saves. As the defence were able to keep Hitchin at bay, Colchester managed to finally break their duck and get the first goal of the game through Almos Bujtar. A much better performance from Colchester saw the score at 3-1 at half time.
Colchester’s players put a lot of effort into the second quarter, which showed, as Hitchin began the third quarter strongly. Hitchin broke a number of times and showed their experience against the younger players of Colchester. James Blacker, now playing on pitch for Colchester looked dangerous when he received the ball, but Colchester struggled to get the ball through to him. Blacker did manage to get one goal, but Colchester conceded 4 as the third quarter ended 7-2.
The Colchester coaches gave final team talk before the final quarter to try and encourage the youngsters, who all still wanted to get in the pool and compete despite being extremely tired. They showed a great deal of determination and strength to finish the game 11-4 to Hitchin. Blacker scored another 2 goals, but Colchester conceded 4 on the break. It was a fantastic performance by the Colchester team in their first real competitive game against an older and more experienced team. The more games they are able to play the more they will improve, build on their stamina and be more competitive in these games. Thanks to Hitchin, who made the long journey to Colchester on a Sunday night, it was great to see so many cheering both teams on in the spectator area.Back row from left to right: Dexter Atkinson, Josh Raven, Max Rose, Seth Belshaw, Almos Bujtar, Aryan Uttawar, James Blacker. Front row: Daniel Blacker, Seb Velcherean, George Vinter, Emily Turton and Ed Turton
Colchester under 18s vs Cambridge under 18s - 11th December 2022
15 December 2022
Colchester welcomed Cambridge under 18s team to Leisureworld for a hard-fought game on Sunday evening. Despite the inclement weather Cambridge turned up with a strong team and both teams put in a huge amount of effort and the result was a very entertaining game.
Colchester began the first half brightly with Alex Wood, two, and Olivia Vinter scoring to see the home team race into a 3-0 lead, however Cambridge fought back well and showed they are no mugs with 2 goals late in the first quarter to see the deficit reduced to 3-2.
The second quarter was again evenly matched. Colchester again increased their lead thanks to a brace for Vinter and further goal for Wood. But again, Cambridge fought back strongly to reduce the arears. Wood managed to score with a long shot in the final second of the quarter to leave Colchester 7-5 up at half time.
The third quarter was full of goals. The game was now end to end and shots being fired in from all angles. Vinter scored a hatrick in the third quarter, Wood a further goal and George Li got on the scoresheet. Cambridge were equal to Colchester who tried to introduce some younger members of the team for an introduction to the game. Cambridge quickly pounced and reduced the lead to 12-11 going into the final quarter.
Colchester went back to first team for the final quarter to secure the victory. Li and Felix Hirst scored 2 each in the final quarter and Vinter scored to finish the game with 7 goals. Cambridge scored 3 goals of their own in the final quarter but were just not strong enough as Colchester ran out 17-14 winners.
Waterpolo is a team game all members contributed to the team. Full team below: Sergio Velcherean, Olivia Vinter, Freya Wood, Daisy Himsworth, George Li, Tilly Bland, Matt Birsan, Almos Bultjar, George Vinter, Felix Hirst, Seth Belshaw and Dan HimsworthColchester senior team now take on Chelmsford in a 2 legged final for the Eastern summer cup.
2 Colchester teams travel to Norwich - 12th October 2022
14 October 2022
Colchester took 2 teams to play Norwich recently on the 12th October. Norwich also have a junior section and asked Colchester to field a mixed junior team for a friendly before the senior teams met in the Eastern league fixture.
Colchester fielded a team of 10 juniors ranging from the age of 14 to 17. The game began as a tight affair with the first quarter being drawn 2-2. Colchester’s goals came from Matt Birsan and Maisy Head. Colchester had a couple of late arrivals due to the lengthy journey and by the second quarter they were up to their full squad and piled pressure on Norwich. George Li scored 3 goals and a goal a piece for Felix Hirst and Head saw Colchester build up a 7-2 lead at half time.
The third quarter showed the strength of the Colchester juniors as they held the Norwich team at bay and continued to be ruthless in front of goal. Olivia Vinter and James Blacker got on the score sheet as Li and Hirst added to their tallies in the 3rd quarter as Colchester built up a 11-4 lead going into the final quarter. Their dominance continued as Vinter scored a hat trick in the final quarter and Li and Head scored further goals. Norwich were unable to break down the resilient Colchester defence in the final quarter and Colchester ran out 16-4 winners.
Buoyed by the juniors result the seniors then set about taking on the Norwich senior team. Colchester started at a similar pace to the juniors with Ben Chapman grabbing two really quick goals at the start of the game. Norwich did respond, but Colchester managed to grab two further goals through Martin Vinter and Simon Lecomber to lead 4-2 after the first quarter. The second quarter saw Colchester build up a head of steam, Chapman added a hat trick to his tally, Matt Vinter scored 2 and further goals by Dan Himsworth and Ethan Wyatt saw Colchester build up an 11-3 lead at half time.
Colchester Mens Polo Team Compete atPonds Forge in Sheffield 8/9th October
10 October 2022