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London League 5

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Host club: 
London Bike Polo
Court size: 
Various court around London

For our 5th winter league we've changed the format.

This time we are doing a Bench format league.

We've got 10 teams, which were drafted, so should be roughly equal.

Teams are 5-6 players, and games are 1 hour long.


Full league proposal:
Fixture Format
One game consisting of 1 one hour game.
Unlimited Goals
1 point - win
0 points - loss

No ties, overtime will be played in 15 minute increments if required.

League Format
Round Robin
Bench Format.
Teams will be ordered by wins, then goal difference, then goals scored, then results between equal teams.

In the highly unlikely event that 3 or more teams are in equal position, with equal points, goal difference, goals scored, and equal points, goal difference and goals scored between those teams, playoff games will be required, between those teams.

Fixture release format
Dependent on team numbers, fixtures will be released in windows, ie. two or three fixtures at once.

Forfeit Format
If your fixture is not played in the allotted window (window length will be determined by number of teams/league length)
Full points awarded and +15 goals
Forfeits to be decided by league organisers.

Team Format
Teams consist of 5-6 players. Ideally all teams would be 5 players, but to include everyone it may be required to have up to 4 teams with 6 players. (Lots will be drawn as to which teams the extra players go to).

Captains will volunteer, if there are more than the number of teams, lots will be drawn. If there are less than the required number, players will be chosen based on last years league order, starting from the top.

Captains are included in the 5 players. If they choose not to play, they will not get an extra player. But a team may have a non playing coach, if they choose.

An online draft (in private) will choose the teams. Captains will be ranked in the order they finished the last league in (with lots drawn for captains from the same team), with the lowest getting the first pick (for captains outside of the league lots will be drawn). Picks will be made using the serpentine method (1 -> 8, 8 -> 1, 1 -> 8, etc), so as not to advantage any one team.

Trade Windows

For a week between the draft and the start of the league, and for 2 weeks during the Christmas break, Captains may swap a player, or players with another team. Trades do not have to be equal, so a team can swap two players for one, if they choose. Teams do not have to remain at 5 or 6 players.

Teams can name substitutes at any time before the last 3 games of the season, but to do so a member of the team must leave, and may not play for that team for the rest of the season. Unlimited subs can be made.
The purpose of this rule is to allow for real-life changes, such as serious injury/illness, moving away, giving up polo etc, but any short term absences will be covered by the squad system. The reason for no further subs in the last 3 games, is to stop teams abusing the rule, and bringing in subs for the last game.

All subs will have to be approved by the league organisers, if the organisers feel the teams are abusing the system by bringing in much stronger players, substitutions can be veto-ed.

Court Time
All captains should play all their players as much as possible. A minimum of 20 minutes per player per fixture is expected, and more is encouraged. This is self policing, but any team members who are unhappy may register their complaint (in private) to the league organisers, who will evaluate the situation, and may apply penalties to the teams in question. A player may not be able to play their allocation, due to mechanical issues, injury, illness, etc, but this must be voluntary, any reports of pressure from captains will be taken seriously.

Based on the LHBPA ruleset, but with minor changes to suit the Bench format.

For example:
Time would run constantly except for serious injury, or where play is unable to continue for a long period of time (for example the ball is lost). Time would not stop for mechanicals (sub a player), and referees are expected to keep the game moving, especially after goals they should call time on, if teams are taking to long. Refs may add on time at the end of the hour.

Each captain, and only the captain, can call 3 tactical timeouts per game, each with a length of 1 minute.

All games must be played in the London area.

The default time for games will be Saturday and Sunday mornings. Teams can agree to play at other times, but if that can not be agreed forfeits will be based on who is available to play at those times.

Registration fee
£5 per registered player.
The league will be non profit, any monies received will be put towards the league eg. league patch/ trophy/ end of league BBQ.
In turn, if the nominal £5 is not enough to cover the above then fundraising to cover costs incurred will be necessary.


London London
United Kingdom

Signed up

Someone please video the games so i can watch them here in the USA!

"rubber side down boys"

Damn John, want to come out and organize our bench league? Our first game is tonight. Our draft was a little wonky and we're not even a quarter as organized as you guys, plus it will be a short season but it should be fun and something to build off of. We have 4 teams of 8-10, with each team bringing around 7 people per night.

Ha, one day... going from scene to scene, organising polo tournaments ;)

Good luck with your league, and good to see there are other Bench leagues out there.

Julias team takes it all.

The only reason anyone does anything.
For the lulz.

Full league rules:

London League V Rules

The rules will be largely based on the LO ruleset, but with a few changes, to suit the bench format.



Games will be 1 hour of continuous time. Time should only be stopped for a major break in play, such as a serious injury where the player cannot be moved, or the ball is lost.

Time will not be stopped for goals, resets, mechanicals, etc.

If the ref feels a team is wasting time, for example after a goal, they can call game-on, regardless of where the ball or players are, a team should cross within 10 seconds of a goal.

At the first break in play after 30 minutes, teams will swap ends.

In the event of a draw after 60 minutes, overtime will be played in 15 minute increments

Each captain will have 3 tactical timeouts, of a maximum length of 1 minute (time will be stopped during the timeout). Only the captain can call those timeouts, and only when their team is in possession of the ball

Rolling Subs

Teams can make subs at any point, and as many as they like.
Players should not be dabbed when they sub out. If they are, for example for a mechanical, injury, etc, then the player coming in must tap in.

Subs should wait at the end of the court, of out play, for Newington this means staying in goal, for Downs either in goal or outside the gate, and for Mitch one team in goal, the other team by the ramp.

Only 3 players must be on court at a time. If a team has 4 players on court, or subs otherwise interfere with play, the ref can penalise them.


The following penalties are available to the refs. Note that tapout is not a valid call.

Refs should try and play advantage where possible. This will follow the football style, where the advantage expires at the refs discretion once they are happy it's been restored.

Turnover - the most basic penalty.


Powerplays should be called where advantage needs to be restored.

2 Minute Powerplay - for fouls where advantage has been lost which can't be restored by a turnover.

5 Minute Powerplay - for fouls where a major advantage has been lost which can't be restored by a turnover, or violent behavior has lead to an illegal advantage.

Powerplays can be called against a player, or also against a team (for example in the case where 4 players are on court, or repeated timewasting, and no single player is at fault). If against a team, any two players from that team can play.

Note, both powerplays are over as soon as the team with 3 players scores.

Penalty Shot

Penalty Shot - where a foul or other illegal action has lead to a direct goalscoring chance being stopped, for example a zombie footdown, a thrown mallet, a t-bone from the last defender, etc

In addition to the penalty shot, the ref may call a powerplay, which would be cancelled in the event the penalty is scored, or a misconduct. For example a thrown mallet, being dangerous play, would also lead to penalty for that player.

Misconduct penalties

In the event of repeated foul play, violent misconduct, or any illegal action which don't disadvantage the opposition, a ref can call a misconduct. Here the player may not be played during the length of the misconduct, but can be subbed.

A misconduct can be added onto a powerplay, so initially the team will play as two, but can sub the player after the powerplay expires.

10 Minute Misconduct - When a player has committed an action which they need to be punished for, but didn't affect play, or where a number of incidents have occured during the course of the play. Examples could be violent behavior, breaking someone's mallet with a hack, referee abuse, throwing a mallet (off ball).

Game Misconduct - The most serious penalty. The player is removed from the rest of the game. This would only be used for serious violent behavior, such as fighting, or throwing a bike/mallet, which has lead to injury to a player, ref, spectator or damage to a bike.

5 minute powerplay for a team that's in the lead -> 3 minutes of doing circles in the offensive end followed by 2 minutes of actually trying to score?

Is that what happens in Hockey (no idea, I'm genuinely asking).

We're trying out a few new things with the rules, they may or may not work.

But as a ref, if you want an advantage restored, 5 minutes is going to give you a much better chance than 2 minutes.

What makes you think I know what happens in hockey!?!?!

(Actually, this situation doesn't really exist in hockey... A more serious infraction either gets a 4 minute double minor, or a 5 minute major. A 5 minute major allows the attacking team to score at will -- the penalized player sits for 5 mins regardless of how many goals are scored against their team. A double minor is just a couple of two minute penalties stacked on top of each other, giving the attacking team the chance to score twice on the powerplay. The second penalty comes into effect after two minutes, or immediately if a goal is scored. Might suit your needs if you have trouble with teams running the clock on the powerplay... or it might not!)

The concept of "restoring advantage" is not clear to me. If a ref sees a foul, a foul is penalized. What is this advantage restoration business all about?

I'm on a breakaway against an empty net. Opponent rides up behind me and hits me in the back with a mallet before I can shoot and score on the empty net, but I'm still clearly able to finish it despite the mallet whack. Call the foul or wait until the ball is shot and count the goal?

Or if you put your mallet under my wheel, but I don't foot down. Call the foul or let me keep the ball and finish on the empty net?

Pretty much what Pete said.

There are two attitudes to fouls. Do you penalise the fouler, or do you reward the person/team fouled.

I'm very much in the second camp. If you put a mallet under someone's wheel, and it's off the ball, and doesn't affect play, no-one needs to be penalised, because no advantage needs to be restored.

If you put a mallet under someone's wheel, but they keep the ball, the advantage has been restored, again, no-one needs to be penalised.

If you put a mallet under someone's wheel, and they lose the ball to your team, then advantage is lost, and they should be rewarded (ie you are penalised).

We play quite a lot with advantage here, I think it's much effective than just calling stuff without considering what's happening in the game.

So in this ruleset, the turnover and powerplay penalties are for restoring advantage, not penalising.

The misconduct penalties are for penalising a player (without giving the other team an unfair advantage).

If you need to do both, restore an advantage, and penalise a player, then use both types of penalty.

Ah, that's it. You penalise. On this side of the Atlantic we penalize. Gosh. Do your refs say please and thank you?