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Cheltenham water polo star Sam Legge inspired to take up the sport by his brother Adam

All Areas > Sport > Water Polo

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Wednesday, 24th May 2017, 08:00, Tags: Father & Son

Sam Legge. Picture, Andrew Coley Sam Legge. Picture, Andrew Coley

Sam Legge has been the secure last line of defence for Cheltenham’s water polo team as they have dominated the sport in recent seasons.

The goalkeeper has been a key component in the team that have won the British title again this season – their fourth success in six years.

Throw in a few knockout Championship wins and it’s not difficult to see why their director of coaching Martyn Thomas claims they are the most successful team in Gloucestershire.

Sam, 26 and a freelance photographer who lives in Cheltenham, has early memories of watching his dad Tim play – he played predominantly for Leeds and Newport – but it was his brother Adam who was the inspiration behind him taking up the sport.

Adam is four years older than Sam, who said: “I remember Adam was selected to take part in a water polo tournament in Malta at the age of 16.

“It was a club trip and we went over as a family to support him. We combined it with a holiday but I remember just being blown away by the water polo and thinking it was a sport I wanted to get involved in.”

Sam and Adam are now in the same all-conquering Cheltenham team along with the likes of Joel Thomas and Mark Banwell, who was also in the team competing in Malta.

“It’s amazing that after all these years I am now playing in the same team as them,” said Sam. “We’re all good mates.

Sam’s role as a goalkeeper is obviously a little different from that of the rest of the team.

“You are treading water for the whole of the game, you’ve got to keep afloat,” he said. “It’s a different type of fitness to the players out on the pitch. And it’s very rare for a goalkeeper to be subbed. The rolling subs are usually for the players on the pitch so you’ve got to be on it the whole time.”

It can also be quite a dangerous position at times with shots hurled in at speeds of up to 75km.

“Yes, you can get bashed around the face a bit,” he chuckled, “but I think I’ve been quite lucky. I have had a few sore fingers but that’s about the extent of it.”

He’s also been lucky that his dad has been a big supporter of his sport.

“He comes and watches us quite a bit,” said. Sam. “He used to play in goal a bit as well as out on the pitch so he’s always offering me bits of advice and giving me feedback.”

Remarkably, the Legge boys are one of four sets of brothers in the Cheltenham squad so when they talk of being a ‘family club’ they really are.

The other brothers are Mike and Joel Thomas, Jake and Rudi Polster, and Albert and Marc Tarres and Legge added: “It’s quite a feat considering a water polo team features only 13 players.”

The demands that water polo makes on players are well documented but Sam has no intention of giving up the sport any time soon.

His dad Tim remains a keen supporter of both himself and Adam and Sam said: “I think I’ll go on for a while yet. Why not? It’s a sport I really enjoy being part of.”

Other Images

Adam Legge. Picture, Andrew Coley

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