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Dominant display from Cheltenham as they reclaim U19 Female national title

Cheltenham were on top form as they powered their way to reclaiming the U19 Female title at the GoCardless Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships 2024 (U17/U19).

The home side didn’t let up as they produced a dominant display to beat City of Sheffield by 23-5.

After losing out to City of Manchester in last year’s final, Cheltenham ensured they got their hands on gold this time around.

Some solid defence resulted in few opportunities for Sheffield, whereas Cheltenham were clinical in front of goal and listed nine different goalscorers throughout the match.

Converting almost a third of Cheltenham’s chances was Amelie Perkins, who grabbed seven in the final, on her way to earning the top goalscorer award.

City of Sheffield’s Alice Berrill netted a hat-trick, with Georgie Coles and Laura-Jean Skelton also on the scoresheet.

But it was Cheltenham who took a clean sweep of the added awards, with Elizabeth Ross presented with the Most Valuable Player award and Sophie Leveridge the top goalkeeper award alongside Perkins’ individual accolade.

Cheltenham head coach, James Ross, said: “I’m super proud. It’s a squad that has been together now for the last four or five years.

“We had a bit of a gap with Covid but then came on from that and have dominated this competition. It sounds a bit arrogant to say but the results speak for themselves.

“We lose three of those girls for next year but actually, there’s a good core there and we hope to train hard over the year and come back harder next year.”

The gold medal makes it four medals in total for Cheltenham across the course of the championships – one bronze and two silvers the earlier acquisitions.

On Cheltenham’s medal haul, James added: “It’s amazing for the club and across all of the squads.

“Our U19 boys, what a performance from them, they were massively unlucky not to come out with another gold. Our U17 girls and boys again, they did us super proud and the girls winning their game this morning to get the bronze.

“If you told us two weeks ago we’d be coming away with a gold, two silvers and a bronze we’d have been made up – and we are!”

Hat-trick of medals for Manchester

City of Manchester earned a narrow win over Worthing in the U19 Female bronze medal match to make it a hat-trick of medals for the club at this year’s championships.

After claiming U17 Female gold and U17 Open bronze, Manchester were able to overcome Worthing with an 11-10 win and add another bronze to their tally.

It was Lucy Blenkinship’s early double in the first quarter that ultimately made the difference, as the sides went on to score an equal amount of goals in every quarter thereafter.

City of Manchester were deserved winners of the tie after preventing Worthing from ever taking the lead in the match.

It looked as though the match was running away from Worthing in the second quarter with the score standing at 5-2 to their opposition, but credit to the Sussex team who battled their way back.

You can keep up with all the scores by visiting the live scoreboard and see all the reports from the Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships here.

Images – Will Johnston Photography