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North West Thunder win U18 Inter Regionals in Blackpool

North West Thunder stormed to victory at the U18 Girls Division 1 Inter-Regional Water Polo Championships in Blackpool.

Thunder were the only team to win all four matches over the weekend and sealed the title with a crucial victory over defending champions South West in their final game.

England Water Polo U19 Assistant Coach Sue Webb was watching from the sidelines, observing her squad players as they look towards the World Youth Championships in Serbia in August.

“The girls had worked hard in training to improve their overall fitness after the Christmas break,” said head coach Lauren Tasker.

“They applied the team tactics which really showed over the four-match tournament. It was an excellent weekend of junior water polo from all teams and it was great to be a part of it.”

Eight goals for Boniface-Ashton in opener

The North West side took on the East Region in Saturday’s first match and comfortably ran out 18-3 victors thanks largely to eight goals from centre forward Molly Boniface-Ashton and excellent goalkeeping from Annie Holt, who saved two penalties.

Next up were last year’s bronze medalists South East, who held them at 10-8 at half-time following a second period hat-trick from Lily Turner.

However, North West centre forwards Molly Boniface-Ashton and Thea Simpson were too strong for the South East defence, scoring 12 goals between them to secure a 14-11 win.

Sunday saw the North West carry on where they left off on Saturday by demolishing London 20-2 which gave them their biggest winning margin of the weekend. Tournament Top Goalkeeper Annie Holt shut them out completely for final three quarters.

Their final match of the weekend was to decide the gold and silver medal positions and although the South West kept the game tight until half-time, a decisive third quarter performance from the North West saw them score three without reply to lead 9-5 going into the fourth.

A spirited effort by Katy Cutler in the final period, scoring three goals on behalf of the South West, meant the North West had to keep their concentration to the end for their 13-9 victory.

South West took consolation with an overall silver while South East won bronze with victories over London and East Angels.

This result means the North West Region currently hold all three women’s age-group titles in the Inter-Regional Championships.

MVPs and Awards

Tournament Awards

  • Overall MVP: Emily Pyper (North West Thunder)
  • Top Goalscorer: Molly Boniface-Ashton (North West Thunder)
  • Top Goalkeeper: Annie Holt (North West Thunder)

Team MVPs

  • South West: Katy Cutler
  • East: Ella Cotton
  • South East: Lily Turner
  • London: Mia Redfern
  • North West Thunder: Molly Boniface-Ashton

Wales win Division Two Title

Wales won a closely-fought battle for the Division Two title at Woodside Leisure Centre in Watford.

While they drew their opening match 8-8 with Scotland, an 8-7 defeat of West Midlands proved crucial.

The Welsh side finished on seven points with three wins and a draw with West Midlands second and Scotland third.

“It was a great weekend of water polo, capped by Wales winning Division 2,” said Welsh head coach Phil Whiting.

“We had two really hard games, in which we went behind, but fought back to draw against Scotland and win by a goal against West Midlands.

“To win Top Goalkeeper and Top Scorer was the icing on the cake!“

Results and Group Table

Click or tap on ‘PDF’ to download a match sheet for each fixture.

Division 1 Results

North West Thunder18 – 3East AngelsPDF
South West9 – 3LondonPDF
North West Thunder14 – 11South EastPDF
East Angels4 – 16LondonPDF
South West13 – 9South EastPDF
East Angels6 – 17South WestPDF
North West Thunder20 – 2LondonPDF
East Angels10 – 15South EastPDF
North West Thunder13 – 9South WestPDF
London12 – 15South EastPDF

Division 1 Table

North West Thunder4400408
South West4301176
South East420214
East Angels4004-430

Division 2 Results

Wales8 – 8ScotlandPDF
West Midlands24 – 2North West LightningPDF
Wales19 – 11North EastPDF
Scotland7 – 11West MidlandsPDF
North West Lightning7 – 16North EastPDF
Scotland16 – 1North West LightningPDF
Wales8 – 7West MidlandsPDF
Scotland5 – 3North EastPDF
Wales15 – 7North West LightningPDF
West Midlands20 – 8North EastPDF

Division 2 Table

West Midlands4301376
North East4103-132
North West Lightning4004-540