The 2021 edition of the Nautilus took place this weekend in Sheffield, England. After two years of covid having truncated the competition, the British championship organized by the British Octopush Association made its return! We’ve done some research on the origins of this competition.
Known for its gathering side with players coming from all over Great Britain, the Nautilus is a mythical tournament that has existed for many decades. Before it, the competition had an ancestor called the National Ladder which was born in the 1970s thanks to John Towse and Adrian Whorly, both from Southsea. However, the tournament did not have quite the same form as the current one. Several leagues were competing at the time and came together under the leadership of Cliff Underwood (an influential figure in British underwater hockey at the time and a former player at the London Aquatic Club) who allowed the competition to evolve along with the sport. The national championship was a great success and qualifying rounds were introduced due to the large number of teams wishing to compete.
Today, the tournament is held only once a year and has 6 divisions, from D1 to D6. A total of 108 games were played to allow British underwater hockey to make its grand return, with 39 teams participating. Division 1 won the title of British champion while the others fought for the accession in the higher or against relegation in lower division. Some clubs have engaged several teams like Yorkshire or Manchester. Since 1986, the standings of the competition are accessible. The Southsea club is the main winner of this competition with 15 titles including the one won in the last edition.
If this weekend was reserved for mixed teams, a women’s edition of the Nautilus will take place on February 26, 2022 at the John Charles Aquatic Centre in Leeds.