North East Girls Winners of ASA Division Two Inter Regional Water Polo Championships

The U18’s North East girls squad have been our most successful age group in recent years. They were crowned Inter Regional Champions in 2014 under then head coach Ian Richards, who gained success with the girls by ensuring early preparation and match practice. However, due to the finishing positions of the North East girls teams in 2015, the U18’s squad were to be placed in division two for their 2016 campaign. This was a disappointment to the girls, meaning they could not defend their title from 2014, but they put this aside and determined to give their very best performance.

One of the parents offered to take the team manager role and Mark Sutcliffe, who had good knowledge of this group of girls, agreed to be head coach, with Heather Hall as assistant coach.

There followed full commitment from every girl and every parent from October 2015 attending practice matches and training sessions. All travel and pool time was self funded. We would like to thank various clubs who were prepared to accommodate us in their own pool time – City of Leeds, Rotherham Metro, City of Sheffield and Hucknall WPC.

The Regional tournament took place at Northampton on 27/28th February 2016. The first match for the girls was against Wales. This was a competitive match, but they secured a 9-4 win with some good goal scoring. Their second match was against the East and saw the girls apply themselves to the team tactics very well, producing effective defence and a 6-1 win. The third match was won 7-4 against Scotland, again the girls showed a mature approach carrying out the team plan.

Day two of the tournament saw the girls dominating against the South East with many of the girls scoring goals. Another win 11-0. The last game was against a very physically strong Irish team who we knew would be challenging. Tensions ran high throughout the game and we found ourselves 3-4 down towards the end of the game. A late equaliser gave us a thrilling finish with a 4-4 draw securing us an overall win on goal difference.

Special mentions to Sophie Jackson who was awarded the best goalkeeper of the tournament award and our captain, Emily Pilkington, who was most valuable player of the tournament. A fitting end to a very successful and enjoyable weekend. Well done to all the girls, coaches and parents for their commitment and hard work throughout. The girls have gained promotion to division one for next years Inter Regional competition – congratulations!

The team consisted of:
1. Sophie Jackson  – Halifax
2. Annabeth Pycroft – York
3. Amber Linney – Rotherham
4. Lucy Rodgers – Rotherham
5. Isabelle Lacy – Leeds
6. Phoebe Jarvis – Rotherham
7. Eleanor Sowerby – Leeds
8.Emily Pilkington – Sedgefield
9. Terri Millington – Sedgefield
10. Giulietta Lane – Leeds
11. Claire Harrison – Leeds
12. Lauren Richardson – Leeds
13. Panna Csano – Sedgefield