“Most valuable”, it should be stressed, doesn’t necessarily mean the best player. The awards acknowledge a high level of commitment, loyalty and dedication of players to the club scene and the sport as a whole.
Linzi, now 58, made a spectacular sporting debut as a 13-year-old swimmer, representing Wales and Great Britain in sprint freestyle events. She competed in the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton in 1978, but, once women’s polo became established in the early 1980s, transition to the sport was inevitable – father Ted Motley and brother Chris were both GB internationals.
Linzi played for Loughborough University, Nottingham Northern and City of Coventry and, by 1985, became a key member of the Great Britain team that competed in the first women’s European Championships, then the first World Championships in 1986.
Back in Sheffield, she created the Sheffield Sharks team in 1987. The many players she has coached include her children Alex and Eleanor. Last season was probably the first time a mother and son have represented the same club in the Super 5s!
Ben Alcorn has been a fixture in Invicta’s goal for a number of seasons, a player whose consistency was recognised when he joined the GB squad preparing for the 2012 Olympics.
His introduction to the sport was hardly promising. He’d experienced a version of water polo in a hotel pool while on holiday and wanted to try a more serious version at the Worthing club. “His first deep water session was a bit of an eye-opener,” recalls Worthing’s Alastair Roberts. “I commented to other coaches that he would never make a player because he couldn’t swim! How wrong could I be!”
Ben knuckled down, improved his swimming and worked on his polo skills. His career really blossomed after changing from outfield to goalie, helping Invicta win a national age group title. Nowadays, he is lead coach of the South-East region boys’ squad as well as a member of Worthing’s coaching team and balances busy training, playing and coaching schedules alongside a career as a primary school teacher.
Photos: Trevor Hyde