Perfect Liverpool set up exciting final with West London Penguin

A 100% group stage record saw the City of Liverpool set up a gold medal match with West London Penguin in tomorrow’s final at the GoCardless Swim England Water Polo Female U15 National Age Group Championships 2023.

The Merseyside outfit won all three of their group matches against Rotherham Metro, City of Sheffield and rivals City of Manchester at Coventry’s Alan Higgs Centre.

The standout performance of the three was their 10-3 victory against defending champions Manchester.

A first quarter blitz put them in full control of the contest with the club managing the game expertly throughout the second half to thwart any chance of a late comeback.

An opening period hat trick from Natalie McGeehan got them off to a perfect start, with Jenna Binks and Freya Buckley adding one of their own in the opening five minutes.

That gave Liverpool an early 5-1 lead with goals from Ataliah Taylor-Potts and Lily Watson allowing them to move 7-2 ahead at the half-way point.

Taylor-Potts, Binks and Buckley made it a brace each in the fourth quarter to complete the sides scoring and put them into an unassailable lead at the top of Group A following their earlier victory against Sheffield.

They defeated the South Yorkshire side 16-1 as they opened up their competition in style before securing their place as the only side with a 100% record from day one after another 16-1 victory over Rotherham.

Both Manchester and Sheffield bounced back from their defeats against Rotherham, meaning that the match between the two would decide who would play for the bronze medal.

It was won by last year’s champions with Amy Houghton top scoring as Manchester took a 15-6 victory.

She netted five with Tiffanie Ainge grabbing four and a hat trick for Hanisa Bebic in a convincing performance.

Deryn Francis, Ilana Aaron and Lillia Dean also got on the scoresheet for Manchester as they aim to secure the clubs place on the podium once again tomorrow.

Penguin top competitive group to make final

West London Penguin overcame strong challenges from both Worthing and Exeter to top Group B and ensure they’ll have a shot at gold tomorrow.

Penguin topped the standings with seven points, just one clear of Worthing with Exeter also close on five points from four games.

The three sides traded results with one another but Penguin remained unbeaten after a thrilling 11-11 draw with Exeter was the only blip on their record.

Penguin begun their day with a 12-0 victory against Cheltenham. Emily Barea put on a goal scoring masterclass with nine on her sides goals as she looks to challenge for the top scorer title this weekend.

A scintillating match with eventual runners-up Worthing followed where Penguin looked to be in control in the early stages.

The club strolled into a 5-0 lead at the midway point of the second quarter but Worthing showed their spirit to battle back into the contest.

Jessica Fleming and Skye Priede got one each to give them hope going into half time before four goals in the third quarter brought the game level at 6-6.

Worthing then took a shock lead with just 44 seconds to go thanks to Calista Almeida’s strike but Penguin turned the game back around to steal the points.

Late goals from Barea and Darya Kakari’s finish with two seconds on the clock gave Penguin the vital points in the race for top spot.

Then came that draw with Exeter where Penguin once again from behind after being 7-4 down at half time. However, five goals in the third period alone meant that they brought the game to within one as they headed into the final five minutes.

They levelled the scoring with just over two and a half minutes left on the clock after Barea got what was her fourth of the match.

With ten seconds left, Greta Perkins gave Penguin the lead with what looked to be the winner until Exeter came straight up the other end to equalise in the final second.

Poppy Liu got the goal that stunned the crowd in Coventry and kept Exeter’s hopes of a place in the medal matches alive.

Unfortunately for them the game with Penguin was their final match and after they lost 11-3 in their opening match, the others had a chance to leapfrog them in the table.

Penguin faced Beckenham whilst Worthing took on Cheltenham as Exeter watched and awaited their fate.

Both clubs put on a professional and confident display with Penguin running out 15-9 winners whilst Worthing defeated Cheltenham 19-2.

The result means that Exeter will face City of Sheffield in the fifth place playoff whilst Worthing will battle Manchester for bronze.

Each side will play their playoff matches tomorrow as we decide the final placings for the event in an exciting final day in Coventry.

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