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The Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes
Once upon a time we had a really good water polo team based in the Swimming Pool in Grosvenor Park. So much so they were mentioned twice in this ancient tome, from which two extracts are shown.
Swimming - page 284
The first county match was one arranged by the London League at Tunbridge Wells, the opposing counties being Middlesex and Kent. It was played on July 26, 1890, the home county, Which was almost entirely composed of members of the Tunbridge Wells Cygnus Club, winning by four goals to three. This success caused the honorary secretary ofthe Cygnus Club to endeavour to form a county association; and in 1891 the other clubs rallied round, and the Kent County Water-Polo Association was established. Since its formation it has done good work, and large crowds have gathered at Tunbridge Wells to witness its matches. Many new players have been unearthed by means of a challenge shield competition for affiliated clubs, won the first year by Tunbridge Wells; and there is reason to believe that, although the officials have greater difficulties to contend with in raising teams than are met with in the really metropolitan counties, whose men are always at hand, Kent will maintain a leading place in county water-polo.
and on page 290
The most pleasant games of water-polo are undoubtedly those in deep open still water. So much more scope is given for skilful play that fouling is largely avoided, and the absolute necessity for swimming, or keeping afloat without aid all through the match, assists in no small degree to develop and improve the staying powers of those taking part therein. Unfortunately, there are but few spaces of open water which are available or suitable for the game, and the almost total absence of them in large cities compels the various associations to conduct their championships and other competitions in ordinary covered-in baths, which are, as a rule, far too shallow for the game to be played properly. The players, taking advantage of the opportunities offered them, naturally indulge whenever possible in a rest, by standing on the bottom of the bath.
Of the open water-baths which are suitable' for the game, those at Tunbridge Wells have obtained the greatest notoriety. They are admirably situated, and the' natural sloping banks afford a fine view for the, spectators who can look down from them into the bath, and follow every movement in the game. For years past the local club has striven hard to popularise water-polo, and their matches are now always attended by an enthusiastic crowd of residents. Their home-match results afford an interesting table for comparison, as against the results of their games played. away. These latter, in the majority of cases, are, of course, played in ordinary town baths. At home, the Tunbridge Wells Cygnus have time and again vanquished teams who in their respective districts are considered invincible, the altered conditions under which the game is played in deep water no doubt aiding in the downfall of the visiting clubs. Many of the losing combinations have been compelled to admit that a long hard struggle in deep water, without any possible chance of rest except at half-time, is a far different thing from a swift passing game in a shallow bath, where, during one half of the match at least, an occasionai rest can be taken.
See it in context - all 512 pages of it.
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