It was an epic day of water polo for Warrington under-16s on 12th November, with the L&D tournament, followed by a league fixture against Radcliffe. The tournament was held at Europa Pools, Birkenhead; the team faced some familiar opposition in the form of Bridgefield, Chester, Southport, Birkenhead and Liverpool.
First match was against Liverpool, with goal-scorers Dom (4), Dan (4), Conor (2), Katie (2) and Emily I (1) the team won comfortably, with the final score at 13–2. In their second match the team faced Southport, the goal-scorers were Ben (1), Conor (4), Louis (1), Emily I (2) and Eleanor (1), final score was 9-1. These two wins put Warrington at the top of their group and playing against Chester in the semi-final. The winners knew they would be playing Bridgefield in the final. Goal scorers for Warrington were Dan (3), Ben (1) and Dom (5), with the final score at 9-1. The final was a close match, with Warrington taking the title 3-1. Goal-scorers Dom (2) and Ben (1). A full and busy afternoon of water polo for the team of Luke Atkinson, Conor Lynch, Ben Dailey, Dominic Richard, Katie Bowater, Emily Ireland, Eleanor Brear, Matthew Martin, Louis Stowell Emily Atkinson and Dan Farini, with Tom Costello coach.
After a dash along the M62 to Bury, the under-16s team faced Radcliffe. With Conor in net, Luke won the swim-off and Katie was first on the score-sheet, quickly followed by Dan. Radcliffe attacked, Conor saved a lob-shot, and Ben was also quickly on the score-sheet. The hosts counter-attacked and scored. Luke swam up starting the next Warrington attack and Ben hit the back of the net. Conor threw a long pass to Dan, who sent the ball into Dom, and he scored. Katie scored next with a lovely lob-shot. Some confusion in the Radcliffe defence and Dom knocked the ball from the goalies hand and went on to score. Radcliffe defended the next attack again, but Luke went on to score. Radcliffe started an attack, Emily I intercepted a pass, before Dan passed back to Conor. Dom was in the pit but Radcliffe defended well. Ben took a shot but it hit the post. In the final seconds of the quarter Katie scored a magic goal from just inside the half-way point, to get a hat-trick. The score at the end of the first quarter was 1-9.
For the second quarter, it was Dom’s turn to go in net and he made a diving finger-tip save in the opening minute. Katie had a shot saved, before Radcliffe scored. Luke was in the pit as Katie had another shot saved and Radcliffe started another attack. Emily A and Louis were superb in their defensive duties; Katie went on to score. The hosts got a man-up and took a shot which hit the post, they followed-up with a goal. Emily A blocked another shot, and the hosts got another man-up - this time they scored. Warrington got a man-up, Louis saw an opportunity and shot, but it hit the post. Radcliffe counter-attacked with a strong swim-up but the ball hit the post. The quarter ended 4-10.
Dan was the next to wear the red hat in the deep-end - Radcliffe scored straight away. At the other end Ben took a shot, sending the ball wide; the hosts scored again. Warrington got a man-up and Emily Ireland took a shot but the ball was sent wide. Radcliffe scored again narrowing the gap. The host’s goal-keeper made a save, as Ben took a shot; Warrington went on to get another man-up, but failed to capitalise. Radcliffe were awarded a penalty and scored - the pressure was too much for Dan as he and Luke swapped hats. Warrington needed a goal and Conor scored from a back-hand shot. Dom hit the post, then went on to score. Katie defended well and Louis intercepted a pass. Warrington got a man-up, Katie made a great shot and scored. Luke was forced to make a save and Dom had a back-hand shot saved as the quarter ended. Score 8-13.
In the final quarter, Warrington had the first attack and Louis took a shot. Radcliffe attacked and the visitors defended well as the attack ran out of time. Ben passed the ball to Dom who scored. Radcliffe got a man-up but Warrington defended well. Luke received the ball from Dan, and passed long to Ben who went on to score. Warrington defended another Radcliffe man-up. Dan passed to Dom, who scored. Eleanor defended well again. Luke passed to Ben who passed to Katie, who was closely marked so passed back to Ben. His shot went wide. Luke made a save and passed to Katie, she was held back and Warrington were awarded a penalty. Dom took the pen and scored. In the last minute of the match Radcliffe had the final attack. Warrington won 8-17.
Team (goals) - Luke Atkinson (1), Dom Richard (6), Louis Stowell, Ben Dailey (3), Conor Lynch (1), Katie Bowater (5) Eleanor Brear, Emily Ireland, Dan Farini (1), Emily Atkinson. Coach Tom Costello
The player’s attitude and effort was fantastic all day long, although they were shattered by the time they had finished, especially some of the boys who had also played for Warrington Seniors in the tournament. A great days water polo!