Swim England North East Boys U18 won the Silver medal at the weekend when they competed in the U18 inter regionals in Blackpool. Match Results were as follows:
North East 6 v 6 North west tigers
North East 7 v 10 South West
North East 18 v 3 London Sharks
North East 11 v 4 Ireland
North East MVP – Ben Stephenson
Boys U18 (Born 2001) Inter Regional Champs 2018
This competition was clearly going to be a tight hard fought affair. The last time these age groups met NE finished fourth behind NW, SW and London—all three of which were here again this year along with national squad of Ireland. In addition we had possibly the youngest squad there with only 5 of our players 2001—the rest being 2002 and 2003.
We couldn’t have asked for a more difficult opener —winners of 2016 the NW. The NE quickly went 2 goals down and the NW looked confident and in control. But the NE boys are not just good players they are determined battlers. They dug in hard in what proved to be a tense and exciting game finishing at 6-6 and the NE finishing the stronger side and could have easily pinched it at the end.
Unfortunately due to an unlucky draw the boys then only had one hours rest before playing the runners up of 2016 the SW. The exertions of a tough first game and the fact that this was the SW first game showed and NE soon found themselves 4-0 down and facing a rampant looking SW. But our boys’ resilience,skill and determination came through and they fought their way back to level terms. This had been a brilliant performance but by the final period they had little left in the tank and the SW edged in front to take the game 10-7.
On Sunday the NE dispatched with London with some style scoring 18 with London only managing to breach our defences 3 times. In our final game against Ireland the game was quite tight in the first half but then the superior fitness and quality of the NE boys came through and we came out comfortable winners.
So a highly commendable silver medal was won by NE. I was immensely proud of all the players. They worked their heart and soul out – showed fabulous commitment and played some excellent water polo—and had they had a bit more luck could well have taken gold. This was not only a great team performance but every individual played and behaved outstandingly and were a credit to our region.
But well done South West who had some fabulous individual goalscorers and came out worthy winners.
Report by Martin Kelly NE Head Coach