The boys’ and girls’ U19 Water Polo plate competitions took place at the Manchester Aquatics Centre today, alongside the finals for the National Age Group Water Polo Championships 2016.
Boy’s U19 Water Polo plate
Cheltenham were in fine form taking a gold medal win for the boys. They had a small pool of opponents, with just two other rivals playing in a round robin playoff.
Their first opponents, City of Manchester B went down without much of a fight, the match ending 23-1 to Cheltenham. They also went on to beat Carmarthen in a slightly more challenging match, but the end result was the same. They won 12-4 to win gold in the Boys’ U19 Water Polo Plate.
Cheltenham’s team captain, Joe Berry, commented on the win, “It’s a really great feeling, it’s the first thing we have won in a junior national competition, and on a personal note, it’s my last one, so it’s nice to have some silverware to show for it.”
Girls U19 Water Polo plate
The Girls’ U19 Plate competition was a much more complicated affair. Two groups of three played a round robin tournament, then playoffs took place to determine the winners.
Every game was closely contested, with no huge score margins like the boys’ competition. Hucknall Water Polo showed some grit and determination throughout the competition, winning three out of three matches. They came away with a gold medal win.
City of Leeds also went into the finals unbeaten, topping Group B to take on Hucknall in the finals. The U19 Girls’ plate final was a nail-biting battle throughout, but Hucknall managed to scrape the win from the Leeds side, winning the match 5-4.
Caledonia and Otter played the third place playoff in the match before, and while London Otter were advancing and applying pressure to the Scottish side, they just couldn’t manage to pull back the goals, taking fourth place.
The Hucknall team captain, Naya Patel, commented on the win, “It feels amazing to win, we’re just a small club with big ambitions.
“Last year we can away with third, so to come back here today and take the gold has proved that we have the skill and we’re an organised group of girls who put in the training, which has put us up on top today.”