British Water Polo League

A brief history of the British Water Polo League 

Lancaster City entered the NWPL in 1979 in division three. Lancaster first game was not a forgettable game. It was a 360-mile jaunt to Port of Plymouth for a Third Division game – a trip the players and staff involved will never forget. The team boarded a mini bus at 8.30 am on a July Saturday. After 100 miles, a water hose burst, causing a 45-minute delay. Near Bristol, at about 2pm, the engine failed and the vehicle had to be pushed off the M5 to the nearest garage. After a series of phone calls, another mini bus was secured at an additional cost of £53 – but the players had to take a taxi into Bristol to pick it up.

Telephone calls to Plymouth (no mobiles in those days!) produced reassurances from the bath staff that the pool would be available after the scheduled 6.30pm start. However, when Lancaster arrived some 20 minutes late, a swimming gala was already in full swing and the match was called off. To rub salt in Lancaster’s wounds, the league subsequently awarded the points to Plymouth. Fortunately, Lancaster’s weekend wasn’t entirely wasted. They played at Bristol Central the next day and won.

Lancaster only spent two years in this division after coming third in their first year and winning the league in their second year.

The second division in 1981 was hard for the Lancaster team but they managed to stay in there and between 1981 and 1987 Lancaster fluctuated from 8th position to 5th position but in 1998 they finished third and in 1989 they finished second and won the play off to be promoted to the first division.  In 1983 Lancaster’s player Rysh Detko picked up the league’s top goal scorer trophy.

Since their promotion in 1990 they have never fallen back down a division and have always finished in the top four. Lancaster have won the division one title an impressive twelve times in the last 18 years with their first win in 1996 and then 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 till their last win in 2012.

In them 18 years in division one a Lancaster player has won the top goal scorer 11 times. 1994 was the first time that Colin Burgess won the trophy and he also won it another four times (1996, 1999, 2001 & 2002). From 2005 to 2014 Lancaster won the top goal scorer every year bare 2010. Tom Curwen won his first in 2005, as well as 2011 and 2014. In 2006 Scott Carpenter did three years winning it before Alex Parsonage in 2009 won it for his first time as well as 2021 and 2013.