Bridgefield claimed the U15 Boys Water Polo Championships 2015 title after an exciting day of action at Manchester Aquatics Centre.
Making their debut at the ASA National Age Group Water Polo Championships (U15), Bridgefield opened their 2015 campaign with a commanding performance in the group stages. After a dominant victory against Grantham (11-3) and a 6-4 defeat over Caledonia, the team from Liverpool finished in pole position of Group B.
Despite their narrow loss to Bridgefield, Scottish outfit Caledonia, who finished fourth at last year’s Championships, looked an equally impressive side with a 17-0 victory in their first match of Group B against Grantham (17-0).
The semi-final action saw City of Manchester take on Bridgefield, while City of Sheffield and Caledonia battled it out in an attempt to secure their place in the final.
Despite coming under pressure from the host city’s local team, Bridgefield were able to maintain their early lead and take a 7-4 win. Over in the other pitch, Caledonia over-powered last year’s runners up, City of Sheffield, to secure their spot in the final with a 6-0 win.
Bridgefield and Caledonia were equally matched in the final, with both teams able to hold off the attacks of their opponents. It was Bridgefield’s Michael Hampshire who put the first points on the scoreboard, setting up a confident attack over five minutes into play. Caledonia responded quickly with a quick-fire equaliser from Dominque Zahra to set the scores at 1-1 heading into the break.
Bridgefield looked in control heading into the second half of the match with captain Matthew Kendall, who was named overall Most Valuable Player of the day, finding the back of the net and edging his team into the lead.
A time-out with just over one minute left on the clock saw Caledonia emerge determined to level the score but Bridgefield’s defence was ultimately too strong and they were able to hold on to take the ASA U15 Boys Water Polo Championships 2015 title with a 2-1 (1-1, 2-1) win.
“I am really excited for our team,” said Kendall. “We worked really hard over the first half.
“There was a lot of fast swimming and it was quite tiring so I am really glad we came through in the end.
“We were really lucky to score our second goal and I am so proud of the whole team for being able to hold onto our lead in the end.”
There was an equally tough battle for bronze between local team City of Manchester and City of Sheffield. With both teams goal for goal heading into the final few minutes it was City of Sheffield who pulled ahead scoring two goals back to back and taking bronze with a 5-4 victory.
U15 Boys Water Polo Championships 2015 MVPs:
- City of Sheffield – Oscar Kelly
- Ealing – Matyas Molnar
- Watford – Peter Djordjic
- Newton Abbott – Haydn Woolley
- Cheltenham – Tom Hunt
- City of Manchester B – Callum Fookes
- Chelmsford – Robert Gilmoor
- Bridgefield – Matthew Kendall
- City of Manchester A – Leo Healing
- Caledonia – Jonathan Roberts
- Grantham – Louis Lane
- Barnstaple – Robert Whittaker
- Highest Goal Scorer – Yalin Gulen (Ealing)
- Goal Keeper – Thomas Manley (Newton Abbott)
- Overall Most Valuable Player – Matthew Kendall (Bridgefield)