Warringtons 16 & under team attended Roytons Victorian home pool which brought memories to me of when I played their as an U16 when one of the spectators hit me on the head with an umbrella when shall we say I impeded one of the Royton players. The pool which by modern standards is tiny can cause problems to visiting teams.
Warrington attempted to defend the shallow end in the first quarter and were caught on the break on several occasions Royton seemed expert in finding the free player in a small area and many shots coming from the wing which was very close to the huge shallow end goal. Warrington had difficulty protecting the goal and conceded seven goals in the first quarter.
The second quarter saw much of the same with the Royton tactic being a simple one - win the ball in your own half and sprint to the oppositions 2 metre line pass across goal and score. Each time the more experienced core of 16 year old Royton players hit Warrington on the break. At the end of the second quarter the score was 15-2 with consolation goals from Stanley Mainwaring (13) and James Collins (15). Royton’s major foul count stood at 5 compared to Warrington’s 1.
In the third quarter Josh Regan (16) scored with an excellent shot from 5 metres. Further goals from the utterly committed Harry Pollock (15) and exceptional Sam Cooper (14) started to claw their way back into the game although were still hit on the break by the fast Royton swimmers. The quarter ended 9-4 to Royton. Royton had two more player’s excluded during this quarter but Warrington failed to form into a 3-3 power play formation and hence rarely took advantage of the situation.
The fourth and final quarter saw the eight Warrington players start to tire but that didn’t stop Sam Cooper scoring two more excellent goals often using the difficult lob shot which he appears expert at already. Further goals came from James Collins, Josh Regan and Adam Farini (13). Adam Farini showing he has an excellent powerful shot scoring from outside 5 metres. Royton continued their counter attacks against a tired Warrington team who to their credit kept working until the end.
The final score was 37 – 11 or converted to a score in a normal size pool 3.7 – 1.1. The Royton spectators commented on the commitment of the Warrington players and the Manchester coach was interested in our man of the match Sam Cooper scoring four goals of high quality. Warrington won the majors count giving away only one major to Roytons 12. We need to convert the power plays in future games!
Warrington’s team of 8 players consisting of only one 16 year old and three 15 year olds the rest being our 14 & under team and whom have taken up water polo in the last 12-18months. We are currently where Royton were 3-4 years ago when Warrington went with six players and comfortably beat Royton.
Warringtons team will develop of the coming years with an excellent core of 13/14 year olds coming through matches like this make us realise water polo is a game for fast swimmers even in small pools.