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ESSA captain praises team spirit after Malta tournament triumph

The English Schools’ Swimming Association (ESSA) Water Polo captain Lewis Daly was beaming with pride when he and the team lifted the Exiles International Tournament trophy on Tuesday afternoon in Sliema.

“What an absolutely amazing experience to beat Malta 19-8 in the final game to win the competition,” said Daly after the match.

“It’s no more than this team deserves as everyone has worked so hard for this moment and I’m so proud of all the players.

“The coaching staff – Andy McGinty, Sean King and Colin Walsh – have been totally unreal as well and without them we wouldn’t have been where we are today.

“I can’t remember the last time an English Schools team won a tournament like this and it’s a fantastic trophy to win. To remain unbeaten and get our hands on the cup is a really incredible feeling.

“Throughout the week, this team has really grown and grown and everyone has played a massive part in this victory.

“It’s been a great team effort, a huge achievement and it’s an unreal feeling to have won every game and been crowned champions.”

“Everyone has worked so hard for this moment and I’m so proud of all the players,” – ESSA captain Lewis Daly.

Aaron Winstanley was ESSA’s top tournament goalscorer with 13 and he shared Daly’s thoughts on the team’s sensational triumph in Malta.

“This tournament has been a great privilege to play in. It’s been fantastic being away with this bunch of players and it’s an amazing feeling to know we’ll be going home as champions.

“We were clinical in attack and to score 19 goals against Malta in their own pool was phenomenal.

“We were scoring lots of fantastic team goals and to have 10 different scorers shows what a great overall team performance it was.

“We’ve played some excellent water polo this week. Our defence has been really, really strong and we’ve cut the other teams off, allowing us to go on and win.

“Our time in Malta has been absolutely fantastic and to win four games in a row is an amazing feeling. It’s simply been brilliant.”

“It’s an amazing feeling to know we’ll be going home as champions,” – ESSA top scorer Aaron Winstanley.

After the trophy presentation, Team Manager Colin Walsh added, “I can’t say how proud I am of this team, they all worked so hard and have all had a very professional approach.

“Everyone has enjoyed this tournament and we’ll look to build on this result for the future.”

ESSA Team Organiser Peter Nield was also immensely pleased with the team’s performances and declared the tournament a huge success.

“Every member of the squad has now become a full English Schools international and for eight of the guys it’s been their first international cap.

“The relationship with the hosts has been excellent and this builds on the work we did in the 1990s and early 2000s when we used to bring groups here for training.

“This tournament has provided a fantastic opportunity to all the players and allowed them to experience playing water polo at an international level.

“For these players to lift the trophy after four great wins in a row is a fantastic achievement. They are all winners.”

ESSA squad in full:

  • Dylan Green – Oldham College, Oldham, Gtr Manchester
  • Peter Pickford – Watford Grammar School for Boys, Herts
  • Jordan Elliot – Longslade Community College, Leics
  • Will Rayson – All Saints Academy, Cheltenham, Glous
  • Dan Paddon – Great Baddow High School, Essex
  • Joel Leighton – High Storrs School, Sheffield, Yorks
  • Aaron Winstanley – Bolton School, Gtr Manchester
  • Lewis Daly – Bolton School, Gtr Manchester
  • Rudi Polster – Cleeve School, Glous
  • Joe Hazeldine – Worthing College, W.Sussex
  • Tom Prayle – Bolton School, Gtr Manchester
  • Rob Gourley – Manchester Grammar School, Gtr Manchester
  • Remmy Gorton – Xaverian VIth Form College, Gtr Manchester
  • Sam Richards – Bolton School, Gtr Manchester
  • Sam Wordley – Exeter College, Devon
  • Alfie Brown – Glyn School, Epsom, Surrey
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