Belper paddlers Gallin and Ross Montgomery recently travelled to Odense in Denmark with the Viking Canoe Polo team to compete successfully in the annual Odense International.
Nevermind “coals to Newcastle”; this was Vikings to Denmark!
This pool-based, new year tournament is well attended by many top Scandinavian and German clubs and the Derby-based Viking team competed as the only British entry, and are currently ranked number one in this country.
In the first round, Viking beat an inexperienced Finnish side 9–2.
They then scraped a win against a highly reputable German club, Roth Mule Essen, by a tight margin of 6-5 and lost their next game to a very experienced German team, K C Wetter 4-3.
Viking entered the second round in the hardest group, needing two wins if they were to have any hope of getting into the semi-finals.
Game one was against Meidericher, a good team based in Duisberg.
This proved to be the best game of the tournament with plenty of fast attacking play on offer from both sides, to entertain the Danish crow.
This attacking style was eventually to give Viking a 6-2 win.
The second game was against Hanover with the winner of the match knowing that victory would secure a place in the semi final of the competition.
Both teams demonstrated excellent shooting skills alongside strength in defence.
It was proving to be a very tight match but Viking eventually emerged as the victors, winning 3-2.
So it was into the semi finals, where the British Vikings met the Danes and all their local support.
The Danish side fielded several National squad players who proved to be very well organised with a solid defence to crack.
With two and a half minutes to play, and the score standing at 2-2, Viking picked up a second yellow card and had a front player sent off.
For four intense minutes, they weathered raid after raid from the Danes with only four men on the pitch.
Then, with just 30 seconds left, in one of those rare magical breaks, Viking got the chance to emerge from the depths of defence and pop in a winner.
The final was a rematch against Hanover and there, with bristling confidence and inspirational speed and teamwork, Viking beat the German side 6-3, to take the Odense International trophy for the second year running.
Anyone wishing to have a go at this exciting, emerging sport should visit the Viking website.
This can be found online at www.vikingcanoepolo.com/about us