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Batley players aim to strike World Championships gold

Batley underwater players (from left) Richard Adams, Fiona Maynard, Tom Pitchforth and Haydn Pitchforth are representing Great Britain at the Wolrd Championships in Quebeck.
Batley underwater players (from left) Richard Adams, Fiona Maynard, Tom Pitchforth and Haydn Pitchforth are representing Great Britain at the Wolrd Championships in Quebeck.

Four players from the Batley and Yorkshire underwater hockey team are representing Great Britain at the World Underwater Hockey Championships in Quebec, Canada, which starts tomorrow.

Tom Pitchforth and Fiona Maynard will be the youngest players playing in the men’s elite and women’s elite respectively.

Tom, aged 20, is currently studying Civil Engineering at Manchester University, while 17-year-old Fiona is a pupil at Heckmondwike Grammar School.

Richard Adams, who coaches the junior team at Batley, is competing in his fifth World Championship as a men’s master, having played in his first World Championship in 1994 as an elite player.

He will be in the men’s masters team alongside Haydn Pitchforth, who at the age of 52, will be attending his first championships and as the oldest player will carry the GB flag during the opening ceremony along with Fiona, who is the youngest player.

The Great Britain teams will face competition from 14 other countries over 10 days.

Other countries taking part include USA, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, France, Netherlands, Belgium , Japan, Columbia, Portugal and Spain.

Underwater hockey games are 15 minutes each way with a three minute break at half-time.

Teams of 10, with six in the water at any one time, will be playing in a 3m pool in Quebec.

Information about the tournament can be found at http://www.uwhworlds2018.ca/tournoi-tournament.

Four teams from Batley Octopush Club attended the National Championships which were held at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford.

The teams were organised into age groups for Under-12, Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18s, and the Batley teams again impressed.

Many of the Under-12 category players were playing in their first tournament and the team welcomed three players who joined Batley from Manchester.

The U12s played really well only losing to a strong Team South West.

They beat Team South East A in their final game 2-1 to finish second out of the seven teams and claim the silver medal.

The U14s faced the largest competition with nine teams and they finished third.

The U16s only had seven players but fought hard and were joint top on points but had to settle for the silver medal due to goals against ruling. TSW took the gold since they had three goals against to Batley’s four.

The U18 team was a North Team made up of players from Manchester, Rochdale and Batley, which included Fiona Maynard and Matthew Adams.

The North team faced opposition from Team SW and Team SE and won the gold medal.

Games at the tournament were played in two metre pool and were 10 minutes one way, with U18s playing 15 minutes.

Underwater hockey sessions are held at Batley Sports centre on Sundays at 5pm. Swimmers must be able to swim five lengths and touch the bottom at the deep end of the pool.