Water Polo - U14 Boys Inter - Regionals Report28 November 2023
London Inter-Regionals U14s 2010s
On the weekend of 18th / 19th November, 13 excited boys and their parents made their way up to Walsall to represent the London Region at the Inter-Regionals for U14s. After a tough round of selection trials earlier in the month, Coach Shaun Hill chose the squad of Tolly Danielson, Dominic O’Neil Cuadros, Zayd Khan, Joe Beckett-Aller, Adrian Babic, Max Barrasa Gordon, Matei Moatar, Thomas Green, Tommi Mosca, Zain Garnie and Jacob Ramackers, with Milo Jones as Team Captain and Jacob Lillie as goal keeper, to represent the region. The Assistant Coach was Barry Danielson, with Alex Kent Jones as Team Manager.
The team got off to a great start against East Midlands. Positive play within the 2m line led to them winning 4 penalties and finishing with a 12-7 victory. Two hard games followed however, and despite holding Ireland to 0-0 at half time, London eventually went down 3-1, in a game decided on the thinnest of margins. Next up were group leaders North West Tigers, and the match was a thrilling and physical contest. Notwithstanding their lack of training time, the London team really came together in this match and held North West to a 7-7 draw, in a game that could have gone either way and decided the group placings.
Sunday morning started with the boys tired but clearly raring to go and bounce-back from the two previous results. The coaches and team manger were immensely proud of the way the boys showed up on the Sunday with renewed focus to do their best. The first game of the day was against South East in the last of the group games. The team came out firing and put on one of the best defensive displays seen all weekend, closing out the match 9-1. This put London in third place in Group A, behind Group winners North West Tigers and second place Ireland.
The boys were determined to snatch 5th place overall and were pumped and ready for the start of the Play-off rounds. The first match was against North East Steelers, 4th placed finishers in Group B. Again, the London team topped their previous performance and were strong at both offensive and defensive plays, ending up 13-4 winners.
Feeling confident but not complacent for their last match of the tournament, London lined up against a resurgent team from Scotland. Dominating most of the play, London rounded off the weekend with a convincing 13-2 win.
Whilst it was disappointing not to medal, there is much to be positive about; the boys improved a great deal over the weekend, 10 of the outfield players made the scoresheet, and London were the only team in the whole competition not to lose their match to eventual winners, North West. Finishing in the top 5 does put London in Division 1 when this group of talented boys move up to U16, an achievement in itself, particularly as this level of competition was a new experience for the majority of the boys.
Special mentions must go to Jacob Lille in goal; after a nervous start, he was an almost impenetrable wall from game 2 onwards, giving his outfield players an enormous confidence boost, to well-deserved MVP – Dominic O’Neil Cuadros, superlative in defence, and to team top scorer, Milo Jones, who finished the tournament with 13 goals. Additional thanks to Shaun, who always shares his passion and technical nous, with the boys.