13th February 2017
Report by John Stephenson, North East Water Polo Manager
Over the weekend, a team of U18 North East boys travelled to Watford to complete in the ASA U18 Inter–Regional Water Polo Championships. The team played exceptionally well beating the North West in the semi final match and then London in the final to be crowned champions.
Due to the distance support was given by the North East to travel down on Friday night in preparation for the tournament starting Saturday morning. The team were hoping to retain the trophy we won last year and the only way of doing this was to take each game at a time, and looking to build and get stronger as the tournament progressed.
The first game up was against the South East, the North East dominated throughout and came out on top 17-1 winners. The second game we came up against a strong and physical Irish team, however we matched them strength to strength and eventually came out 3-0 winners. The third group game we found our selves up against London Sharks seeded forth in the competition we were now in full flow and triumphed 8-2. Going into the final group game against Wales we knew a win would leave us topping our group the lads showed their talent and water polo skills by coming out 15 – 2 victors.
Going into Sunday we were up against the North West in the Semi final (seeded 3) where we dominated throughout and over came them to win 6 – 3. This set us up in the final against London Sharks who beat South West in the other semi final.
We headed into the final knowing that all the practice and training these lads have put in all year came down to one match. From the start it was clear the London Sharks had one tactic in mind which was to be very aggressive in their play however the North East remained disciplined through out and were crowned champions again running out 16 – 9 winners.
For many of these players it is the last inter regional competition they can play in due to their age and what a way to go out by retaining the trophy they won last year. I have to say that Richard Cousins (Head Coach) got every game tactically spot on, and I also have to say what a fantastic group of lads they are who are totally committed to Water Polo and are a credit to all their coaches and clubs.
Competition Top Scorer – Dan Hunt, North East MVP (joint award) Kris Egginton and Dan Hunt
The team for the championships were:
Richard Murray – Sedgefield WPC
Connor Carpenter – City of Sheffield WPC
Kris Egginton – Sedgefield WPC
Michael Cousins – Sedgefield WPC
Ben Stephenson – Sedgefield WPC
Jacob Skelton – Rotherham Metro WPC
Matt Bottomley – Halifax WPC
Dev Sacmacioglu – City of Sheffield WPC
Sam Swainson – Rotherham Metro WPC
Connor Keeble – Sedgefield WPC
Oscar Kelly – City of Sheffield WPC
Dan Hunt – Rotherham Metro WPC
Will Mardlin – City of Sheffield WPC.
Head Coach – Richard Cousins
Ass Coach – Kevin Swainson
Team Manager – John Stephenson
Many congratulations to all players and team staff on the result.