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Meet the four teams bidding to be crowned U19 boys national age group champions

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Sixteen teams will be bidding to win the Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championship as the U17s and U19s boys and girls finals are staged at the Liverpool Aquatics Centre.

In the build-up to finals weekend on 13-14 April, we focus on the sides who will be battling it out for the prestigious title.

Here are the four U19s boys teams who are in the running to become national age group champions.

City of Manchester

City of Manchester sealed their return to the semi-finals with a flawless run through qualifying.

After winning all five of their preliminary round matches, they went three-from-three in Elstree, scoring an impressive 51 goals.

With the U19s winning bronze last year and the U17s being crowned national champions, head coach Andy McGinty fancies his team’s chances in Liverpool.

“Each player has individual strengths and capabilities which they work on in many ways, including other sports and with their schools and local clubs, so fitness levels are high,” he said.

“They train together at many of the City of Manchester’s various sessions each week and they are put through their paces in friendly matches against members of our men’s teams – Hawks, who are currently in BWPL League 3 and the senior team, who were recently crowned national champions – so the lads know what moves and skills will work for them collectively.

“To have such a strong team at this age group is great for the club and these players will go far together.

“They already know each other very well and trust each other’s judgement in the match environment. They just need to keep calm and focused now, against the strong opposition they will face from the other finalists.”

City of Manchester take on Watford in the first semi-final.

Squad list

Brett Takemoto, Callum Fookes, Christian Thompson, Ciaron Byrne, Conor Lynch, Daniel Bentham, Harry Bentham, Jensen Myerscough, Luke Roche, Marcus Crompton, Thomas Yates, Tom Roche, Tom Simpson.

City of Sheffield

Sheffield’s U19 boys finished fourth last year, but will be favourites when they take on Newton Abbot in the semi-finals.

They scored 39 goals across their three wins in the qualifying round.

Squad list

Arshia Keyghobadi, Ben Stephenson, Benjamin Urquhart, Connor Charles, Corran Bradley, Daniel Harris, Dominique Zahra, George Jackson, Lewis Waite, Luke Taylor, Matthew Collier, Miles Robinson, Oliver Vodden, Oscar Kelly, Samuel Swainson.

Newton Abbot

Sheffield’s opponents Newton Abbot had a similarly smooth run through qualifying.

They qualified after convincing back-to-back wins over City of Leeds and Caledonia, before losing 14-4 to City of Manchester.

Squad list

Alexander Christie, Charles Tod, Francesco Lepre, Joseph Hubble, Joshua Wardle, Oliver Stanley, Oliver Wright, Rowan Astwood, Seth Perkin, Theo Quantick, Thomas Hunt, Thomas Manley, Toby Marks.

Watford

Watford face a tough rematch against City of Manchester in the semi-finals, having suffered a heavy 7-1 loss to their opponents in the preliminary rounds.

That was just one of two losses for Watford en route to the finals, with the other coming against City of Sheffield in the qualifying round.

But Edi Brkovic’s side will be buoyed by the fact that four of their players – Adam Page, Matt Molnar, Petar Djordjic and Yalin Gulen – have recently been selected to the Great Britain U19s squad for the 2020 European Championship qualifiers.

“We lost to Manchester last time out, so we want to go that one step further this time,” Brkovic said. “It will be tough as they are a good squad but our lads that have recently made the GB squad will want to prove that selection was on merit.”

Squad list

Adam Lecomber, Adam Page, Daniel Atkinson, Elliot McHugh (GK), Jack Gibson, Joshua Mills, Matyas-Daniel Molnar, Max Cohen, Petar Djordjic, Rushil Shah, William Morris, Yalin Gulen, Zack Kovacs.

The schedule

  • Semi-final 1: City of Manchester v Watford, 5.40pm on 13 April
  • Semi-final 2: City of Sheffield v Newton Abbot, 6.50pm on 13 April
  • Bronze medal match: 4.30pm on 14 April
  • U19s Boys Final: 5.40pm on 14 April

Plate competition

West London Penguin, Carmarthen, Beckenham and City of Birmingham will all be competing to win the U19 boys plate competition.

All the games will take place on Sunday 14 April.

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