City of Liverpool become U15 Female National Age Group Champs for the first time

City of Liverpool became U15 champions for the first time at the GoCardless Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships 2023.

The Merseyside club defeated West London Penguin 11-6 in a back and forth final at Coventry’s Alan Higgs Centre.

Like in their decisive group match with the City of Manchester yesterday, Liverpool’s strong start put them into a commanding lead in the opening quarter.

However, Penguin weren’t going down without a fight, battling back to bring the game to within one at 6-5 in the third quarter.

Spurred on by the efforts of tournament MVP Manpreet Gill, Penguin looked to complete the turnaround but Liverpool dug deep in the final seven minutes to secure the title.

Natalie McGeehan, Jenna Binks and Freya Buckley all contributed to a Liverpool attack that scored four in the final period to put the game beyond doubt.

The clubs impressive defence all weekend stood out with goalkeeper Issy Taylor taking the top keeper award after standing firm in between the posts to keep Penguin at bay.

The result delighted the team’s head coach Alice Byrne, who put the performance down to a ‘full team effort’.

She said: “I’m just over the moon. This result is full credit to this group who’s dedication and commitment to work together as a team has gotten them to this point.

“They’ve worked so hard to get to here and it really was a full team effort this weekend to win the title.

“Penguin gave us a really good run for our money, it was really tight at points. They defended really well and made it difficult for us to score goals but we’ve been so good defensively ourselves this weekend.

“It’s been a full team effort, people stealing the ball, making good saves, interceptions and blocks.

“So they’ve worked really hard on their defence which meant that we’ve been able to get the results that we have.”

‘Unbelievably proud’

After winning the national title at this age group for the first time, Alice commented on how proud she was of the team and goalkeeper of the tournament Taylor.

“We’ve never won the U15s before so I’m just so pleased for them because they’re just such a nice, friendly and positive group of girls.

“They always work hard and are always wanting to improve their game and what they’ve learnt so I’m just unbelievably proud of them.

“She’s (Taylor) incredible, over the past six-nine months she’s just gotten better and better. I cannot wait to see what she can do as she continues to develop and improve.

“I want to keep this group together as a team, some of them will of course go up and play in the U17s which will be incredible but I want to build on this foundation of a win and keep that going as they grow up.”

Worthing defeated City of Manchester 14-4 to win the bronze medal match.

The South East club’s stunning first half display saw them defeat the defending champions to see the club earn another national medal.

E Graves’ six goals inside the first two quarters sent the club on their way to victory with an Anjelea Gallagher-Padayachy double and one each for Calista Almeida and Jessica Fleming giving them a 10-2 lead at half time.

Worthing managed the game expertly from then on to keep Manchester at bay and extend their to ten by the finish.

Almeida got her second with Skye Priede, Florence Cooper and Maia Middleton completing Worthing’s scoring.

Amy Houghton put in a good performance to grab a hat trick Manchester but her efforts couldn’t quite bring her team back into the contest as they had to settle for fourth spot.

Exeter ran out comfortable winners in the fifth place playoff match.

The beat a hard working City of Sheffield side 22-1 to end their competition on a high note.

Nine goals from Poppy Liu put Exeter into a strong position and earnt their number two the top scorer award for the competition.

She scored 21 times in five games in Coventry to come away with the title in impressive weekend for her.

Elsewhere, Cheltenham finished seventh place after their victory on the final day against Rotherham (11-5) with Beckenham also defeating the South Yorkshire side (19-7) to secure eighth spot.

You can find all the scores from the weekend here and make sure to check out today’s event photography courtesy of Will Johnston Photography.