Ireland win U16 inter regionals

An exciting weekend of water polo action saw Ireland win U16 inter regionals at the Liverpool Aquatic Centre.

The tournament, hosted by the ASA North West region consisted of a whopping 34 matches played in two pools across the weekend, with some nail-biting encounters as 11 teams from across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales fought for the championship title.

Day One – The group stages

The group stages took place on Saturday 28 May, with Ireland leading the table in Group A, despite an early 3-4 loss to North West Thunder. There was nothing between some of the teams in the the group, with draws between Wales and North West Thunder, Ireland beating Wales by just a goal in a thrilling 4-3 victory, and the South West edging ahead of the Midlands in a 9-8 battle. East Angels took the runner-up spot in Group A, with three wins.

London Sharks took the title in Group B, finishing Saturday with an impressive unbeaten record, beating group runners-up South East in a tense 9-7 encounter which had the crowd on the edges of their seats throughout. Scotland Saltires took the third spot in the group after seeing off North West Lightning 7-5, whilst North East Steelers finished fifth.

Day Two – The play-offs

Sunday 29 May was the day for final positions to be decided, with the fifth to eighth place play-offs kicking the morning off. The South West saw-off North West Lightning 9-4, whilst North West Thunder beat Scotland Saltires 5-3 to go in to the fifth-sixth play-off match. The ninth to eleventh place games followed, with the Midlands and Wales both easing to victory over the North East, 12-5 and 9-1 respectively.

Hat tricks from Katie Cutler and Lucy Chard-Maple helped the South West land the fifth place spot in the tournament, as they beat North West Thunder 10-2.

The finals

A faultless performance from Ireland in the first of the semi-finals saw the first clean sheet of the competition in a 7-0 shutout against the South East, booking their place in the final. The second semi was a much closer encounter, with London and the East Angels tied at two a piece at half time. Three goals from Meg Wall-Peters in the second half was the undoing as the East dominated to eventually win 7-3.

In the bronze medal match, London Sharks booked their spot on the podium as they beat the South East 8-4, with Emily Campbell claiming four goals for the London side.

A thrilling final followed, with strong defence from both teams keeping the score line low. Ireland took the lead in the closing seconds of the first half, with Robyn Joyce netting a man-up. Aoife Hennessy found the back of the net early in the second half, only for Eve Poole to reply with a goal for East Angels. Just seconds later, Hennessy bagged her second of the game and Ireland held on to take their first ever victory in the competition, claiming gold.

Ireland Head Coach Stephen O’Brien spoke about their achievement: “This was a totally unexpected win for my team. We only came together at the beginning of May this year for our first training session.

“The girls played really, really well and got stronger game by game. This is a huge achievement for Ireland Water Polo. I have to congratulate Joanne Mountfield and all the local organisers for such a well run event. We will be back next year to try and defend this title.”

Tournament Awards

Most Valuable Player Awards went to:

  • Ireland – Sophie Moran
  • East – Poppy Mayall
  • London – Bob Toth
  • South East – Lily Turner
  • South West – Katy Cutler
  • NW Thunder – Emily Pyper
  • Scotland – Aithne Lawrence
  • NW Lightning – Marieke Head
  • Wales – Nia Sanders
  • Midlands – Pia Tonks
  • North East – Esther Mead

Sponsor awards from Water Polo Market went to:

  • Top Goal Scorer – Nia Sanders (Wales)
  • Top Goal Keeper – Anna Jenkins Delf (Wales)
  • Overall tournament MVP – Sophie Moran (Ireland)

Full Results


U16 Girls Group A
Midlands4 – 8North West ThunderFT
South West3 – 8East AngelsFT
North West Thunder4 – 3IrelandFT
Midlands5 – 7East AngelsFT
Wales4 – 4North West ThunderFT
South West3 – 8IrelandFT
South West6 – 4North West ThunderFT
Midlands3 – 11WalesFT
East Angels2 – 6IrelandFT
South West8 – 3WalesFT
Midlands3 – 7IrelandFT
North West Thunder5 – 11East AngelsFT
Midlands8 – 9South WestFT
Wales3 – 4IrelandFT
East Angels2 – 6WalesFT
U16 Girls Group B
North East Steelers2 – 5Scotland SaltiresFT
North West Lightning2 – 6London SharksFT
North East Steelers4 – 10South EastFT
North West Lightning5 – 7Scotland SaltiresFT
London Sharks9 – 7South EastFT
North West Lightning6 – 2North East SteelersFT
London Sharks5 – 1Scotland SaltiresFT
North West Lightning1 – 6South EastFT
London Sharks7 – 1North East SteelersFT
South East8 – 3Scotland SaltiresFT
U16 Girls 5th-8th Place Playoff
South West9 – 4North West LightningFT
Scotland3 – 5North West ThunderFT
U16 Girls 9th-11th Place Playoff
Midlands12 – 5North EastFT
Wales9 – 1North EastFT
U16 Girls Semi Finals
Ireland7 – 0South EastFT
London3 – 7East AngelsFT
U16 Girls 5th-6th Place Playoff
South West10 – 2North West ThunderFT
U16 Girls Bronze Medal Match
South East4 – 8LondonFT
U16 Girls Final
Ireland3 – 1East AngelsFT

U16 Girls Group A

East Angels530256
South West5302-26
North West Thunder5212-35

U16 Girls Group B

London Sharks4400168
South East4301146
Scotland Saltires4202-44
North West Lightning4103-72
North East Steelers4004-190

A special thank you goes to all of the Swim North West volunteers who made the weekend such a success, especially Mike Hesketh (Tournament Director) and Damien Taylor (Referees coordinator).

If you would like to get involved as a referee or table official, please click here.