Northern League 16&u (mixed) 16th July 2016
Maltby Leisure Centre, Rotherham
Warrington’s under-16s made the journey across the Pennines knowing they had some tough water polo matches ahead of them. The other teams in the tournament were some of the strongest in the country - Sedgefield, Sheffield and Rotherham. Warrington were to play three matches, each consisting of four 5-minute quarters - the team were up for the challenge, guided by Coach Su.
1st Match - Warrington vs Sedgefield
Warrington started strongly as Dom put the team ahead with two goals. Sedgefield increased the pressure and took the lead. Dom scored a penalty at the end of the first quarter. Warrington played well; Conor scored - the opposition were kept at bay and didn’t score all second quarter. Dom scored again to even things up, meanwhile Luke made some terrific saves and the team defended strongly. In the final quarter the Warrington players were superb - they could not have given anymore. Conor scored, to put Warrington ahead, spectators began to think a Warrington victory was possible, but it wasn’t to be, as Sedgefield got a goal making the final score 9 - 9. Warrington gave absolutely everything to gain a draw against a fantastic side and earning a point in the league.
2nd Match - Sheffield vs Warrington
With no time to recover from their first, Warrington faced another top-team in their second match. Sheffield were rested and looking for a second win of the tournament - this was going to be tough. After a change of hats and a quick drink, the Warrington players were back in the water. Sheffield were the stronger side for the first two quarters, nevertheless Luke pulled off a couple of superb saves and the team were keeping Sheffield at bay with the score at half-time 3 - 0. Warrington got a second wind in the third quarter, with a goal each from Matt and Conor. Warrington fought to stay in the game in the final quarter, with a goal from Emily B and a ridiculous red-card for Ben in the final moments of the game. Determination and team-spirit was shown by all the Warrington players, but Sheffield were the winners, with the final score 7 - 3.
3rd Match Rotherham vs Warrington
Warrington had a much-needed rest to re-fuel before their final match of the tournament. Su briefed the team and spirits were high as they hoped for a win to end the day. The teams were evenly matched during the first quarter, but Rotherham just edged ahead. Dom scored in reply and Luke made a great save. In the second quarter some of the Ref’s decisions were unfavourable and the opposition gained a Penalty, which increased their lead to 3 - 1, at half-time. The third quarter was exciting with both sides showing how much they wanted to win - Warrington’s scorers were Matt and Dom. Rotherham gained another penalty, which hit the post, although was gathered in and converted after the re-bound. The score was very close going into the final quarter - 6 - 5, to the home side. The last five minutes of the match were nail-biting and Warrington were battling throughout the eventful quarter. The Rotherham keeper was sent out; Dom and Dan scored for Warrington and the visiting supporters were very tense! The Warrington side kept trying right to the end; the final score was Rotherham 8 Warrington 7.
The players were shattered but should be proud of how they played against very strong opponents and the final placing didn’t reflect the quality of the water polo from the Warrington players, many of whom were well below the age of those in the other teams.
Tournament results -
1st Sheffield, 2nd Sedgefield, 3rd Rotherham, 4th Warrington.
Luke Atkinson, Ben Dailey, Dom Richard, Emma Horne, Matt Williams, Conor Lynch, Emily Bowater, Katie Bowater, Alfie Shelley, Emily Ireland & Dan Farini