Army looks ahead to British Water Polo League play-offs at Inter Corps Championships

The Army plays in their annual Inter Corps Water Polo Championships as the Army men look to league play-offs.

The Royal Engineers have enjoyed success at the Army Inter Corps Water Polo Championships after powering their way to the men's title in Aldershot. 

The tournament comes just weeks before the Army Men's team face a series of play-offs to remain in the top divisions of the British Water Polo League, following a restructuring of the national competition.

The Royal Logistics Corps enjoyed success in the women's game, taking the win over their REME rivals. 

The Royal Engineers in the men's game consists of players who hail from overseas, with the majority coming from South Africa where water polo has a strong following. 

With the depth within their arsenal, the Engineers powered their way to a clean sweep of victories to win the overall tournament. 

Captain of the Men's Royal Engineers Water Polo Team, Sapper Brandon Smyth, said: "It's really good, we've got so much depth in our team, a few star players and a few new players coming in which makes all the difference and they love it.

"There's one lad that started last year and he has improved so much in a year, which is really good."

The best players from the corps sides also feature for the successful Army team, who have climbed the ranks of the British Water Polo Leagues in recent years. 

But a restructuring of that tournament means the Army now have to play in a series of play-off fixtures in April to keep them in the UK's elite competition.

Warrant Officer Class 1 Luke Illingworth, team manager of the Army Men's Water Polo Team, said: "It's quite strange, we had a 10-year plan to make Division 3. We did that 10-year plan in four years and now we are fighting to stay in there.

"Now it's about keeping everybody really involved and the hard work continues, we've not achieved everything we wanted to achieve.

"The teams are really strong that are in there, I think we'd do really well to qualify, but the previous year we were there on merit and we did a good account of ourselves."

WO1 Illingworth added: "We struggled a little bit for personnel, I think we probably could have done slightly better but to be in Division 3 in the British Water Polo League is an amazing achievement."

In the women's game, the RLC beat the REME after a penalty from Katie Hawkins narrowly separated the teams before the break. 

The teams continued in the second half until the RLC wrapped up with a win after pulling away from their REME rivals with several goals, including one from Captain Lucy Powell, a perfect end for the outgoing skipper after a decade in the game. 

"It's really special to me," she said. "I have been playing Inter Corps now for over 10 years and it has been great to see the girls over the years building that team, as initially, just trying to get girls in the pool and give it a go was a real struggle.

"And now you can see 10 years later, the teams have got rolling subs which is really nice to see."

The focus now turns to the Inter Services Championships which take place later this summer. 

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