A TOP underwater hockey club is on the move after bosses of a new pool included markings.Xarifa established itself as a standout in the sport after provided no fewer than seven players to recent Great Britain squads at last year’s world championships.
Now the opening of the new £15 million Tameside Wellness Centre means they can move into the borough many of their players come from for matches.
Xarifa will now be based at the centre from March 2 and after playing their North West League matches in Manchester at Wright Robinson Sports College, fixtures will be held there.
Club chiefs approached those behind the Tameside Wellness Centre about including the correct markings on the swimming pool’s base that could enable matches to be played on their doorstep.
Top of their list was a centre spot and penalty spots to be laid at the facility, which is on Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze Way in Denton, as they would make refereeing easier.
And it looks like contractors and owners Active Tameside were convinced it would be worth doing as it opens up the potential to host competitions in future.
Phil Thompson of Xarifa said: “The underwater hockey court markings in the new pool are a first for the borough and will aid the coaches and referees during gameplay.
“Underwater hockey is unique and the game requires three in-water referees and one chief ref on the poolside, the markings are used to set the puck and player lines after an infringement has occurred.
“It will help the young players to understand the rules and when the referees need to give hand signals.
“Xarifa UWH Club is excited about the use of the new facility and hope that the markings become a talking point and encourage more young people to get involved.”
As well as providing Great Britain representatives, Xarifa members were involved in two Manchester sides that achieved promotion in the British Octopush Association’s Nautilus National League competition.
Jake Charnock, of Hyde, was in the A team that won Division Two by winning all six matches at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge centre, scoring 45 goals and conceding none!
While Megan Callaghan and Charlie Brincat, from Stalybridge, were part of the C team that won the Division Six trophy and was promoted to Division Five.
Other members were involved in the recent Ladies’ National Club Championships while on Saturday, March 14 they will host the annual MOT (Manchester Octopush Tournament) at the Manchester Aquatics Centre.
This will see six hours of non-stop hockey in two pools, featuring about 12 teams from around the country and two years ago, a team from Germany.
This is followed by a curry buffet at the Viceroy in Hyde.