North East Steelers coach hails ‘fantastic' Inter-Regionals achievementJuly 3, 2023
Victorious head coach Matt Graves hailed a ‘fantastic achievement’ from his North East Steelers side as they were crowned U16s Boys Inter-Regional Champions in style at the Liverpool Aquatic Centre.
They avenged a group defeat against South East as they defeated them 15-12 in the final, just months after vowing to turn around ‘not good enough’ performances in the tournament.
North East stormed into an 8-0 head start in the opening quarter against South East, with the championships’ MVP Gregor Marsland scoring five.
South East did recover to win the second half 7-2 but North East held on to claim the title – and deny their opponents an U16s Inter-Regional double after the girls had triumphed the week before.
Graves said his players had been outstanding, having realised themselves that their performance levels needed to improve.
He added: “The North East boys all sat down in February and said the results we’ve produced haven’t been good enough over the past few Inter-Regions tournaments.
“They made a decision as a collective to turn things around and this is a fantastic achievement off the back of that decision.
“The group have been outstanding to work with, taken responsibility for their own work ethic and delivered the ultimate prize in regional water polo.
“Fair play lads!“
Eli Wass, the delighted North East skipper, added: “Solid performance throughout the weekend from all the boys who stepped up.
“Proud of us all and the improvements we’ve made as a team so we’ll keep building.”
North East had defeated Group A winners West Midlands Warriors 15-12 to reach the final – while South East needed penalties to edge past Scotland 13-12.
Goalkeeper and South East MVP William Makepeace was their hero as he saved three of the four Scotland penalties to ensure they reached the final.
It was a closely-contested bronze medal match, with West Midlands edging it 14-10 after pulling away in the final quarter.
London Sharks in Division One
London Sharks claimed the all-important fifth spot to seal a Division One place in the U18s 2025 championships.
They drew two of their group matches against West Midlands Warriors and Scotland to narrowly miss out on a semi-final spot but took fifth after defeating East 10-5.
Shaun Hill, London head coach, said: “London played valiantly and we are pleased to take a well-deserved fifth spot.
“This is huge credit to team captain Zac Shaw, also top goal scorer of the competition, who led by example for London.
“Every member of the London team had a great work ethic, it was fantastic to see them develop over the weekend and it’s been a privilege to be on this journey as their coach.
“The experience was excellent for these young talented athletes, who are more driven than ever to compete and take on the next challenge at the Division One event in 2025.
“It was a really well-organised tournament and great to see a good level from all the regions which is a really positive thing for water polo.”
- East: Sam Barnes
- East Midlands: William Newham
- London: George Henderson
- North East Steelers: Aston Walsh
- North West Tigers: Joseph Roxburgh
- Scotland Saltires: Jason Dickman
- South East: William Makepeace
- South West Sharks: Harvey Mitchell
- Wales: Gilad Abramovich
- West Midlands Warriors: Erik Buhaescu
- MVP: Gregor Marsland (North East)
- Goalkeeper: Keeyan Shah (East)
- Top goal scorer: Zac Shaw (London)
|London Sharks||17 – 4||East Midlands||FT|
|East||15 – 3||Wales||FT|
|Scotland||4 – 9||West Midlands Warriors||FT|
|North East Steelers||4 – 3||South West Sharks||FT|
|North West Tigers||10 – 7||London Sharks||FT|
|South East||4 – 2||East||FT|
|West Midlands Warriors||10 – 2||East Midlands||FT|
|South West Sharks||17 – 5||Wales||FT|
|Scotland||7 – 5||North West Tigers||FT|
|North East Steelers||3 – 4||South East||FT|
|London Sharks||4 – 4||West Midlands Warriors||FT|
|East||2 – 3||South West Sharks||FT|
|North West Tigers||10 – 3||East Midlands||FT|
|South East||7 – 3||Wales||FT|
|Scotland||6 – 6||London Sharks||FT|
|North East Steelers||4 – 1||East||FT|
|North West Tigers||0 – 2||West Midlands Warriors||FT|
|South East||6 – 6||South West Sharks||FT|
|East Midlands||6 – 11||Scotland||FT|
|Wales||5 – 8||North East Steelers||FT|
Group A Team
|West Midlands Warriors||4||3||1||0||15||7|
|North West Tigers||4||2||0||2||6||4|
Group B Team
|North East Steelers||4||3||0||1||6||6|
|South West Sharks||4||2||1||1||12||5|
|North West Tigers||9 – 10||East||FT|
|South West Sharks||7 – 9||London Sharks||FT|
|West Midlands Warriors||12 – 15||North East Steelers||FT|
|Semi Final 2|
|South East||13 – 12||Scotland||FT|
|East Midlands||12 – 13||Wales||FT|
|East||5 – 10||London||FT|
|North West||13 – 12||South West||FT|
|North East||15 – 12||South East||FT|
|Bronze Medal Match|
|West Midlands||14 – 10||Scotland||FT|