‘Grit and determination’ help North East Steelers seal Inter-Regional title

North East Steelers showed ‘grit, determination and great skill’ to come out on top in a thrilling U18s Girls’ Inter-Regional Championships.

Four years after winning the U14s title and then being narrowly beaten to the crown in the U16s competition, North East Steelers returned to the Division One summit with a 100 per cent record at Blackpool’s Palatine Leisure Centre.

It proved to a gripping championships as a three-way tie for second, third and fourth places in the five-team table.

There was no doubting the title winners, however, as North East Steelers celebrated a 16-7 triumph over Scotland in their opening match and followed it up with wins over South West Sharks (11-6), South East Anderida (13-5) and North West Thunder (14-12).

Delighted North West Steelers coach Kevin Swainson hailed his hard-working team.

He said: “The standard of the teams was excellent.

“The North East 2006s were always a really good squad. They won in Walsall four years ago and we got pipped to the post two years ago with a goal from the North West with seven seconds left to play when a draw would have secured gold.

“It is fantastic to finish the U18s Inter-Regions back on top again.

“The girls worked so hard. They played fantastic polo, showing grit and determination and great skill to win all four matches and do themselves, their parents, the coaches and the North East Region proud.”

Team captain Connie Swainson added: “What a way to finish the 06 journey.

“We started it on a win and finished it on a win. I couldn’t have hoped for a better team.”

South West Sharks, North West Thunder and South East Anderida all finished on four points after winning two and losing two of their four games.

It was South West Sharks who took the runners-up spot with a superior goal difference with North East Thunder third and South West Anderida fourth.

Dedication pays off for Warriors

West Midlands Warriors

West Midlands Warriors topped Division Two after two convincing victories at the Northampton School for Boys.

They defeated London Sharks 19-9 and East Angels 20-7 to take the title.

Hannah Hinton, head coach of the West Midlands Warriors, said: “I’m very proud of all the girls and how they have worked hard as a team. 

“This squad of girls have been training and playing together for a number of years and all their commitment and dedication has paid off.

“Our GB girls took control with Amelie Perkins securing top goal scorer showing strength in front of goal.

“Bella Ibbs was awarded MVP for the team and there were strong performances from Bella Balzaretti in pit defence and our captain, Charlotte Turpin, controlling play down the right wing.

“As a coach, the Inter-Regions has always been an enjoyable tournament. 

“It’s not only an opportunity for the girls to gain valuable experience but also to showcase the talent we have in the West Midlands.”

MVP Awards

Division One

  • North East Steelers: Laura-Jean Skelton
  • North West Thunder: Lucy Blenkinship
  • Scotland: Zara Christie
  • South East Anderida: Ismey Hawley
  • South West Sharks: Izzy Baker
  • Tournament MVP Award: Laura-Jean Skelton
  • Top Goalkeeper: Zara Christie
  • Top Goalscorer: Lucy Blenkinship

Division Two

  • East Angels: Eve Barnes
  • London Sharks: Sophie Wilkinson
  • West Midland Warriors: Isabella Ibbs
  • Tournament MVP Award: Eve Barnes 
  • Top Goalkeeper: Christina English 
  • Top Goalscorer: Amélie Perkins

Fixtures & Results
Saturday 4 February
Scotland7 – 16North East SteelersFT
North West Thunder11 – 15South West SharksFT
Scotland9 – 14South East AnderidaFT
North East Steelers11 – 6South West SharksFT
North West Thunder16 – 13South East AnderidaFT
Sunday 5 February
Scotland6 – 18South West SharksFT
North East Steelers13 – 5South East AnderidaFT
Scotland3 – 14North West ThunderFT
South West Sharks9 – 11South East AnderidaFT
North East Steelers14 – 12North West ThunderFT
Fixtures & Results
Saturday 4 February
London Sharks11 – 15East AngelsFT
London Sharks9 – 19West Midlands WarriorsFT
East Angels7 – 20West Midlands WarriorsFT
Division 1
North East Steelers4400248
South West Sharks420294
North West Thunder420284
South East Anderida4202-44
Division 2
West Midlands Warriors2200234
East Angels2101-92
London Sharks2002-140