Baldock in International Canoe Polo Tournament

Members of the Baldock and District Canoe Club had a different kind of bank holiday. They were in action at the Ypres International Canoe Polo Tournament in Belgium. Brothers Colin and Patrick Tomkins were competing with the Bedford Raiders in the open Di

Members of the Baldock and District Canoe Club had a different kind of bank holiday.

They were in action at the Ypres International Canoe Polo Tournament in Belgium.

Brothers Colin and Patrick Tomkins were competing with the Bedford Raiders in the open Division Two event.

There were 26 teams entered which were split into four leagues before the play-offs began. The Raiders came second in their league having been beaten by the league winners Dragon (Wales) 1-0 in the opening game of the weekend. Their win over Loeuilly (France) in the quarters saw them secure a top four finish.

Their final hurdle for a place in the final was another English team Viking C (Derby). The first half was evenly matched but a surge by the Raiders in the second half resulted in a 5-3 victory.

The final was between the Raiders and Dragon (showing the strength of their original league).

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The final resulted in a 2-2 draw and another three minutes each way of extra time was played with a 'golden goal' opportunity.

Extra time finished in stalemate and the decider was a penalty shoot-out with Colin as the team goalkeeper. The Raiders were victorious after a couple of missed shots from Dragon to win the competition.

Raiders: Colin Tomkins (Letchworth), Patrick Tomkins (Arlesey), Matt Cain (Knebworth), Andy Metcalf (Stevenage), Kev Barnard (Leighton Buzzard), and Paul Barfoot (Luton).

Club member Paul Stephens had arrived at the tournament as a spectator as his usual team was not attending.

However, he ended up playing for the Manchester A team in Division Two as a last-minute stand-in when only one of their players appeared. The team, who had never played together before, finished 16th in the league.

Michelle Grudzinski and Carmel Buttimer made guest appearances for the St Albans Ladies 'Blue' team. Their lack of experience as a team showed at the start of the weekend but all the girls gelled towards the end and put in some good performances. The team finished fifth in the ladies' league.

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