Malta bound ESSA boys head for intensive training weekend

The English School Swimming Association (ESSA) senior boys water polo squad will assemble at Northampton School for Boys for an intensive training camp this weekend (July 11/12) ahead of next week’s Exiles International Invitation Tournament in Malta.

In conjunction with the Aquatic Sports Association of Malta, an ESSA team consisting of 16 players born in 1997 will compete at the National Aquatics Stadium in Sliema against two South African teams, the national champions of Netherlands and a Malta representative side.

London 2012 Olympian Sean King will coach the talented youngsters alongside Bolton School’s Andy McGinty and Sean says he’s anticipating some highly-competitive games.

“We imagine the South African sides to be very strong and physical, while the Dutch team are national champions, so they will also be strong,” says Sean.

He continues: “The Malta team will be of a similar standard to ourselves, but we’ll be expecting tough games from all the sides and this tournament will provide great competition for us.

These matches will give the players great experience of playing international water polo – Sean King, ESSA senior boys coach

“This weekend in Northampton we’ll be looking at the fitness levels of the team as well as trying to introduce a few of the defensive and attacking ideas we’ll be looking to use out in Malta.

“This tournament is a fantastic opportunity for the players and it will give them great experience of playing international water polo and will ultimately benefit them and the teams they go on to represent, including the GB team.”

The ESSA team, which will be captained by Bolton School’s Lewis Daly (pictured above), fly out on Thursday 16th July and the prestigious five-day tournament begins on Friday 17th.

While in Malta the players will be based at the Exiles Club in Sliema, who are hosting the event, and a series of warm-up games against Maltese sides have been arranged in the traditional sea pitches as preparation once the team arrives.

With the local National Water Polo Leagues temporarily suspended to allow the tournament to take place, the ESSA team can expect to play in front of bumper Maltese crowds, famous for their loud and passionate support.

All 16 players were selected after their excellent performances at the 2014 Duke of Cambridge Cup, which was held in October at RAF Cranwell.

This year’s Duke of Cambridge Cup for those born in 1998 is scheduled for the weekend of October 10/11 and it’s hoped another trip to Malta, possibly for two ESSA teams, will be organised for 2016.

The ESSA team and coaches travelling to Malta are:


  • Dylan Green – Oldham College, Oldham, Gtr Manchester
  • Peter Pickford – Watford Grammar School for Boys, Herts
  • Jordan Elliot – Longslade Community College, Leics
  • Will Rayson – All Saints Academy, Cheltenham, Glous
  • Dan Paddon – Great Baddow High School, Essex
  • Joel Leighton – High Storrs School, Sheffield, Yorks
  • Aaron Winstanley – Bolton School, Gtr Manchester
  • Lewis Daly – Bolton School, Gtr Manchester
  • Rudi Polster – Cleeve School, Glous
  • Joe Hazeldine – Worthing College, W.Sussex
  • Tom Prayle – Bolton School, Gtr Manchester
  • Rob Gourley – Manchester Grammar School, Gtr Manchester
  • Remmy Gorton – Xaverian VIth Form College, Gtr Manchester
  • Sam Richards – Bolton School, Gtr Manchester
  • Sam Wordley – Exeter College, Devon
  • Alfie Brown – Glyn School, Epsom, Surrey

Coaches and Team

  • Peter Nield – ESSA Team Organiser, Warwick School
  • Colin Walsh – Team Manager
  • Sean King – Coach, Trinity School, Croydon
  • Andy McGinty – Coach, Bolton School
  • Mike Jukes – ESSA appointed referee

You can follow how the ESSA team fare out in Malta on Twitter @EngWaterPolo and regular updates will also be posted here on the ASA Water Polo Hub.