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Perfect Ireland seal promotion at Inter-Regional Water Polo Championships

Ireland produced a flawless tournament to win the U16 Girls Division Two title at the Inter-Regional Water Polo Championships.

The Irish began their campaign at Walsall Gala Baths with a statement, beating a strong East Midlands team 10-3.

They never looked back from there, beating North West Lightning 17-3, Scotland Saltires 18-0 and West Midlands 15-3.

That had all but guaranteed Ireland would win the title, but they finished emphatically with a 13-3 win over East Angels to celebrate their promotion to Division One for the U18 Girls Inter-Regional Championships in 2021.

As with the U16 Boys’ championships a week earlier, the competition was played under the new FINA water polo rules for 2019-2021.

Head coach Goran Sablic said: “Prior to the tournament, the Irish girls had attended a seminar in Dublin on the new FINA rules.

“They were nervous going into the competition, as they were worried about giving away penalties or major fouls.

“The technical meeting before the tournament began was a useful refresher for the coaching team and referees.

“We wanted to try a few new drills using the new rules in the competition. We played the goalie as a seventh outfield player and the goalkeeper was able to take a penalty.

“It was good to get all the players on the scoresheet.

“The new rules sped up the play, enabling us to score 10-18 goals in every match, over just two periods of play.”

East Midlands revival

After that crushing opening loss to Ireland, East Midlands went through the rest of the competition unbeaten.

They conceded just five goals en route to winning their five remaining games, scoring 51 goals in total throughout the weekend to finish second.

North West Lightning took home third place, winning three and drawing one of their six matches.

Inter-Regional Water Polo Championships Division Two

Fixtures & Results
West Midlands7 – 7North West LightningFT
East Angels7 – 7Scotland SaltiresFT
Ireland10 – 3East MidlandsFT
North West Lightning15 – 4South East SolentFT
East Midlands9 – 1East AngelsFT
Scotland Saltires5 – 8West MidlandsFT
Ireland17 – 3North West LightningFT
East Angels14 – 5South East SolentFT
East Midlands10 – 1Scotland SaltiresFT
East Angels8 – 13North West LightningFT
Ireland18 – 0Scotland SaltiresFT
West Midlands10 – 4South East SolentFT
Ireland15 – 3West MidlandsFT
East Midlands11 – 0South East SolentFT
Scotland Saltires6 – 7North West LightningFT
West Midlands2 – 6East AngelsFT
South East Solent3 – 15IrelandFT
North West Lightning3 – 10East MidlandsFT
East Angels3 – 13IrelandFT
South East Solent7 – 8Scotland SaltiresFT
West Midlands2 – 8East MidlandsFT
League Table
East Midlands65013410
North West Lightning6312-47
East Angels6213-105
West Midlands6213-135
Scotland Saltires6114-303
South East Solent6006-500