Ireland win U16 inter regionals31/05/2016
An exciting weekend of water polo action saw Ireland win U16 inter regionals at the Liverpool Aquatic Centre.
The tournament, hosted by the ASA North West region consisted of a whopping 34 matches played in two pools across the weekend, with some nail-biting encounters as 11 teams from across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales fought for the championship title.
Day One – The group stages
The group stages took place on Saturday 28 May, with Ireland leading the table in Group A, despite an early 3-4 loss to North West Thunder. There was nothing between some of the teams in the the group, with draws between Wales and North West Thunder, Ireland beating Wales by just a goal in a thrilling 4-3 victory, and the South West edging ahead of the Midlands in a 9-8 battle. East Angels took the runner-up spot in Group A, with three wins.
London Sharks took the title in Group B, finishing Saturday with an impressive unbeaten record, beating group runners-up South East in a tense 9-7 encounter which had the crowd on the edges of their seats throughout. Scotland Saltires took the third spot in the group after seeing off North West Lightning 7-5, whilst North East Steelers finished fifth.
Day Two – The play-offs
Sunday 29 May was the day for final positions to be decided, with the fifth to eighth place play-offs kicking the morning off. The South West saw-off North West Lightning 9-4, whilst North West Thunder beat Scotland Saltires 5-3 to go in to the fifth-sixth play-off match. The ninth to eleventh place games followed, with the Midlands and Wales both easing to victory over the North East, 12-5 and 9-1 respectively.
Hat tricks from Katie Cutler and Lucy Chard-Maple helped the South West land the fifth place spot in the tournament, as they beat North West Thunder 10-2.
A faultless performance from Ireland in the first of the semi-finals saw the first clean sheet of the competition in a 7-0 shutout against the South East, booking their place in the final. The second semi was a much closer encounter, with London and the East Angels tied at two a piece at half time. Three goals from Meg Wall-Peters in the second half was the undoing as the East dominated to eventually win 7-3.
In the bronze medal match, London Sharks booked their spot on the podium as they beat the South East 8-4, with Emily Campbell claiming four goals for the London side.
A thrilling final followed, with strong defence from both teams keeping the score line low. Ireland took the lead in the closing seconds of the first half, with Robyn Joyce netting a man-up. Aoife Hennessy found the back of the net early in the second half, only for Eve Poole to reply with a goal for East Angels. Just seconds later, Hennessy bagged her second of the game and Ireland held on to take their first ever victory in the competition, claiming gold.
Ireland Head Coach Stephen O’Brien spoke about their achievement: “This was a totally unexpected win for my team. We only came together at the beginning of May this year for our first training session.
“The girls played really, really well and got stronger game by game. This is a huge achievement for Ireland Water Polo. I have to congratulate Joanne Mountfield and all the local organisers for such a well run event. We will be back next year to try and defend this title.”
Most Valuable Player Awards went to:
- Ireland – Sophie Moran
- East – Poppy Mayall
- London – Bob Toth
- South East – Lily Turner
- South West – Katy Cutler
- NW Thunder – Emily Pyper
- Scotland – Aithne Lawrence
- NW Lightning – Marieke Head
- Wales – Nia Sanders
- Midlands – Pia Tonks
- North East – Esther Mead
Sponsor awards from Water Polo Market went to:
- Top Goal Scorer – Nia Sanders (Wales)
- Top Goal Keeper – Anna Jenkins Delf (Wales)
- Overall tournament MVP – Sophie Moran (Ireland)
|U16 Girls Group A|
|Midlands||4 – 8||North West Thunder||FT|
|South West||3 – 8||East Angels||FT|
|North West Thunder||4 – 3||Ireland||FT|
|Midlands||5 – 7||East Angels||FT|
|Wales||4 – 4||North West Thunder||FT|
|South West||3 – 8||Ireland||FT|
|South West||6 – 4||North West Thunder||FT|
|Midlands||3 – 11||Wales||FT|
|East Angels||2 – 6||Ireland||FT|
|South West||8 – 3||Wales||FT|
|Midlands||3 – 7||Ireland||FT|
|North West Thunder||5 – 11||East Angels||FT|
|Midlands||8 – 9||South West||FT|
|Wales||3 – 4||Ireland||FT|
|East Angels||2 – 6||Wales||FT|
|U16 Girls Group B|
|North East Steelers||2 – 5||Scotland Saltires||FT|
|North West Lightning||2 – 6||London Sharks||FT|
|North East Steelers||4 – 10||South East||FT|
|North West Lightning||5 – 7||Scotland Saltires||FT|
|London Sharks||9 – 7||South East||FT|
|North West Lightning||6 – 2||North East Steelers||FT|
|London Sharks||5 – 1||Scotland Saltires||FT|
|North West Lightning||1 – 6||South East||FT|
|London Sharks||7 – 1||North East Steelers||FT|
|South East||8 – 3||Scotland Saltires||FT|
|U16 Girls 5th-8th Place Playoff|
|South West||9 – 4||North West Lightning||FT|
|Scotland||3 – 5||North West Thunder||FT|
|U16 Girls 9th-11th Place Playoff|
|Midlands||12 – 5||North East||FT|
|Wales||9 – 1||North East||FT|
|U16 Girls Semi Finals|
|Ireland||7 – 0||South East||FT|
|London||3 – 7||East Angels||FT|
|U16 Girls 5th-6th Place Playoff|
|South West||10 – 2||North West Thunder||FT|
|U16 Girls Bronze Medal Match|
|South East||4 – 8||London||FT|
|U16 Girls Final|
|Ireland||3 – 1||East Angels||FT|
U16 Girls Group A
|North West Thunder||5||2||1||2||-3||5|
U16 Girls Group B
|North West Lightning||4||1||0||3||-7||2|
|North East Steelers||4||0||0||4||-19||0|
A special thank you goes to all of the Swim North West volunteers who made the weekend such a success, especially Mike Hesketh (Tournament Director) and Damien Taylor (Referees coordinator).