We are delighted to announce that Arkline will be sponsoring Sheffield University student, Matthew Graves, in his bid to become a Water Polo international following his recent trial for the GB student team. Matt, pictured above in action at the BUCS Northern Premier League Play Off Final 2018, in a 12-4 win over St Andrews, shares his story here:
“My name is Matthew Graves, I’m 20, and I’m about to start my second year of studying Economics at the University of Sheffield, on an Elite Sports Performance Scholarship.
Having been a very average competitive swimmer in my early teens, I searched for a new, more exciting challenge; this came in the form of starting to play water polo at York City Water Polo Club, where I went for a taster session, aged 16.
There are a lot of stories between then and now, lots of highs, equally many lows, as with any riveting journey.
The last year, however, has been the most phenomenal 12 months yet. I’ve captained the University of Sheffield to their highest ever BUCS ranking, promotion to the BUCS Premier League, a silver medal in the UPolo British Championships and earned a regular place in the starting seven of York City’s first team.
Most recently, however, I was invited by the Great Britain Head Coach, Tim Dunsbee, to trial as part of the GB student team, which will fly to the World University Games next summer, in Naples. While I am yet to hear the outcome of the trial, I am optimistic that either Naples 2019, or the following games in 2021, remains an ambitious, yet possible target.
I am very much looking forward to the year ahead. At the end of September, we are straight back into the season, at full speed ahead. I’ll be playing in Division 4 of the British Water Polo League for York City. We start the season against newly-relegated Birmingham, as we attempt to earn qualification for Championship 3, in January. A week later, I’ll be playing in the BUCS Premier League, with an away fixture against Loughborough. We will be aiming to break into the medal positions in the Championship play offs, in March.
While I have support from Sport Sheffield and the GLL Foundation in terms of certain training facilities, all water polo in the UK is self-funded. On the whole, the average player at this level will pay around £1000 per year out of their own pocket, in the form of match costs, travel and training fees.
If my trial with the GB squad has been successful, this could treble, so I am delighted that Arkline will be helping me out financially for the forthcoming season, allowing me to compete at this level.”