It had been a while since our last slap about on the bottom of a pool so we were both pretty chuffed to be able to sneak a trip across to Singapore for the Asian Underwater Hockey Championships.
We were both looking forward to a couple of cheeky games and our hosts certainly didn’t disappoint. Singapore is well and truly a melting pot of Asian cultures, so it provided an ideal place to host an Asian Championships. This diversity definitely showed in the water with each country bringing their unique style and game: the Japanese with their power forwards and kamikaze runs; the Philippines their pressure, physicality and long flicking; Singapore had exuberant forwards, solid backs and the Doctor; the (West) Australians, a clean open game and far too much class.
Then there was us, the internationals a team of miscreants and misfits. Two from Australia, three from Hong Kong (via the UK) and five from Japan. We bridged cultural divides, overcame language barriers and showed great improvement and brief glimpses of competitiveness.
At 1.8m deep and with a recently retiled bottom, the Queenstown Swimming Complex proved an ideal venue for great competitive hockey across the two competitions (Nations Cup and Challenge Cup) and various divisions (Men and Women’s and Mixed). The games between Singapore and the Philippines provided particularly spirited contests.
Being an outdoor pool provided an added the bonus, we were treated to some spectacular sunsets and lighting displays. Apparently the Singapore poolies are dynamite on getting the punters out of the water at the first hint of lighting but thankfully the gods saw fit to keep it well off in the distance.
Our nights were spent enjoying a quintessential Singapore food court dinning. I have never really rated the food court experience, too many bogans and bainmaries, but visiting Singapore provided a glimpse of what they could and should be; aisles of deviously delicious, simple and cheap food. The problem is it will just make me hate all subsequent food courts even more.
The finals provided an aptly mixed bag of results:
3rd & 4th: JPN (4) vs PHI B (8)
Final: PHI A (4) vs SIN (3)
Men’s Division A
Final: PHI A (1) vs SIN A (4)
Mixed Division B
3rd & 4th: PHI/SIN 3a (7) vs PHI/SIN 3b (4)
Final: PHI 2 (7) vs SIN 2 (3)
Mixed Division A
3rd & 4th: JPN (3) vs PHI 1 (9)
Final: AUS (13) vs SIN 1 (0)
Exhibition matches featuring a random hodgepodge of nationalities in both the Men’s and Women’s also provided a highlight.
With the formalities out of the way the scene was set of the real action to begin. The venue was Harry’s Bar, the location Central Quay. It was a presentation night that didn’t disappoint. The food was good and booze flowed.
The strip paper rock scissors proved to be nights true highlight. Two blokes stood on the table top, the crowd chanted, they danced, they paper, rocked or scissored, then the loser stripped. Young McKenzie showed some mettle to dominate his bout.
Arm wrestling was another pastime embraced in earnest on the night. More shots and booze followed as did acrobatics, chanting and dancing. Gavan the Wise was worshiped as the water gladiator that he is. The further the night progressed the further the adults regressed into adolescence. By the end it we were back to Blue Light Disco debauchery, and that means good fun was had by all.