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North West Tigers roar to win Boys' U16 Inter Regional title

North West Tigers have been crowned Swim England Inter Regional Boys U16 champions.

They won all four of their matches at the Palatine Leisure Centre, Blackpool, to seal the title – two years after lifting the U14 championships.

The North West Tigers opened up their campaign with an emphatic 33-0 victory over Scotland Saltires and followed that up with a comprehensive 24-3 win against London Sharks.

North East Steelers were beaten 20-6 before the Tigers defeated reigning champions East region in their final game 34-6 to take spot with a goal difference of 96.

Ant McGuinness, North West Tigers’ head coach, said: “It was great to see the boys come together at the competition and perform so well.

“They have worked very hard over the past two years after winning the U14 title. They have continued to develop as individuals at their home clubs and as a team with the North West Water Polo programme, with the majority of them being part of the U16 squad last year and the younger ones with last year’s U14 squad.

“I was so pleased they stuck to the game plan that we have practised during our monthly North West Water Polo Academy sessions. It showed during the tournament that they were well prepared.

“They were stronger, faster and fitter than other squads and all knew their roles within the team.

“All the players contributed to every win and I am so happy for them. It was very well deserved.”

Most Valuable Player awards:

North West Tigers: Harry Dunkerley; North East Steelers: Oliver Vodden; London: Max Hubrich; East: Adam Lecomber; Scotland: Louis Steele; East Midlands: Joe Hood; Ireland: Phil Tracey; West Midlands: Daniel Day; South East: Josh Luff; South West: Henry Davis; NW Ravens: James Blenkinship; Wales: Jack Knight.

Top goalscorer:

Division One: Harry Dunkerley, North West Tigers. Division Two: Daniel Day, West Midlands.

Top goalkeeper:

Division One: Callum Fookes, North West Tigers. Division Two: William Sey, East Midlands.

Harry Dunkerley, North West Tigers’ captain and Division One top scorer, added: “It was a great weekend.

“I enjoyed playing with such a brilliant team. We were well prepared to take on all our opposition thanks to our coach.”

North East Steelers were second after winning their remaining three matches. Scotland Saltires were relegated to Group B after failing to pick up a single point.

Meanwhile, East Midlands won promotion after taking top spot in Division Two.

They were undefeated at the Liverpool Aquatics Centre, winning five and drawing one of their six matches, to finish two points ahead of the West Midlands.

The East Midlands defeated South West 7-3, West Midlands 5-3, North West Ravens 7-0, South East 10-2 and bottom club Wales 16-2.

They were denied a 100 per cent record after being held to a 6-6 draw by Ireland.

Tim Dunsbee, East Midlands’ head coach, said: “The players have worked hard and we are very happy with the results.

“We are a small water polo region trying to punch above our weight. We are really pleased to see our close friends from the West Midlands also in the medals.”

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