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Dominant North West Thunder crowned Inter-Regional champions

Delighted North West Thunder coach Laura Hesketh hailed a series of convincing performances as her dominant side sealed back-to-back Inter-Regional Championships titles.

After being crowned U14s champions in 2018, Thunder were undefeated as they triumphed in the U18s’ girls competition at Blackpool.

It was the first time the Inter-Regionals had been held for this age group in four years due to the coronavirus pandemic and Thunder were in no mood to relinquish their status as champions.

They hit double figures in all their matches to top Division One after beating London Sharks 16-8, South East Anderida 19-2, South West Sharks 14-5 and North East Steelers 10-8.

That left them three points clear at the top of the table with an impressive goal difference of 36.

Hesketh said: “After winning the U14 title in 2018, North West Thunder came back to prove that lightning always strikes twice! 

“A convincing set of performances with four wins from four to lift the trophy. 

“Congratulations to captain, Izzy Robb, in leading her team to victory again and Amélie Cornell, the tournament’s top goalscorer and recipient of our MVP award.”

North East Steelers took second spot in the table on goal difference from South West Sharks after both teams finished on five points.

The championship trophy and individual player awards were presented by Swim England president Ian Mackenzie.

Determined West Midlands triumph

West Midlands

Unbeaten West Midlands showed ‘great team spirit’ to win Division Two in Bolton.

Two wins and two draws saw them finish on six points ahead of Scotland Saltires and Ireland.

They opened up their campaign with a convincing 20-4 victory over East Midlands and then defeated East Angels 19-12.

West Midlands then drew 11-11 with Scotland Saltires and 10-10 with Ireland much to the delight of coach Mark Ibbs.

He said: “It was a pleasure to be part of a fantastic weekend of water polo and to experience thrilling matches against Scotland and Ireland. 

“West Midlands is a small region and our girls showed great team spirit, determination and skill to eventually get us over the line. 

“I’m especially pleased for our older girls, as this was their last tournament. 

“They have missed out more than any age group over the last two years due to Covid, so it was great for them to go out on a high!”

Swim England East Region president Paul Kendall presented the team and individual trophies.

U18s Girls’ Division One awards

  • Top goalkeeper: Felicity Hughes, London Sharks
  • Top goalscorer: Amélie Cornell, North West Thunder
  • Overall MVP: Connie Swainson, North East Steelers

U18 Girls’ Division Two awards

  • Top goalkeeper: Zara Christie, Scotland Saltires
  • Top goalscorer: Amelie Perkins, West Midlands
  • Overall MVP: Rachel Concoran, Ireland

MVP Awards

  • North West Thunder: Amélie Cornell
  • North East Steelers: Laura Skelton
  • South West Sharks: Emily Mason
  • South East Anderida: Ruby Rosser
  • London Sharks: Felicity Hughes
  • West Midlands: Charlotte Turpin
  • Scotland Saltires: Anna Campbell
  • Ireland: Rachel Concoran
  • East Angels: Megan Calderwood
  • East Midlands: Lexie West

Fixtures & Results
Saturday 19 March
North West Thunder16 – 8London SharksFT
North East Steelers9 – 9South West SharksFT
North West Thunder19 – 2South East AnderidaFT
London Sharks6 – 9South West SharksFT
North East Steelers21 – 4South East AnderidaFT
Sunday 20 March
London Sharks11 – 6South East AnderidaFT
North West Thunder14 – 5South West SharksFT
London Sharks6 – 17North East SteelersFT
South East Anderida6 – 12South West SharksFT
North West Thunder10 – 8North East SteelersFT
Fixtures & Results
Saturday 19 March
West Midlands20 – 4East MidlandsFT
East Angels6 – 10IrelandFT
Scotland Saltires13 – 2East MidlandsFT
East Angels12 – 19West MidlandsFT
Scotland Saltires9 – 6IrelandFT
East Angels9 – 5East MidlandsFT
Scotland Saltires11 – 11West MidlandsFT
Sunday 20 March
Ireland11 – 6East MidlandsFT
Scotland Saltires8 – 9East AngelsFT
Ireland10 – 10West MidlandsFT
Division 1
North West Thunder4400368
North East Steelers4211265
South West Sharks421105
London Sharks4103-172
South East Anderida4004-450
Division 2
West Midlands4220236
Scotland Saltires4211135
East Angels4202-64
East Midlands4004-360