We would like to congratulate Mr Matthew Wright on his recent selection to become the Assistant Coach for this years English Schools U17 Boys Water Polo team. Mathew spent the recent October half term doing just that in Malta. This is what he had to say about his experience.
"At the start of the year I was selected to be the assistant coach of this years English Schools U17 Boys Water Polo team. This years team was made up of the best 16 boys from around the country who were born in 2001 (U17), who represent England in an international tournament in Malta which is an annual event. The English Schools U17 Girls Water Polo team also went on tour and took part in the same tournament for girls.
During the October half term break between Monday 23rd October and Monday 30th October the tournament took place in Malta hosted by Maltese 'Exiles' Water Polo club. This was 50th anniversary of the tournament and was made up of four teams, two Italian, one from Rome (Nautilus) and another from Leghorn (Livorno Nuoto) as well as the Maltese National U17 squad and the English Schools team representing England.
The tour consisted of a 3 day training camp Tuesday - Thursday, where we trained at the National Pool in Gzira which is also the headquarters of the Maltese ASA and Olympic Committee. The training consisted of a 2 hour training session in the pool early morning, a land training session in the afternoon and a practice match in the evening. This was to prepare the team for the 3 day tournament which was also at the National Pool Friday - Sunday. This was the first time the team had ever been formed and together as well as the first time myself and the head coach Dylan Green had seen any of the lads.
The English Schools U17 Boys Water Polo team placed 2nd overall having beat both Italian teams but unfortunately could not get a win against the Maltese National team. We were really disappointed not to come away winners as we were beating Malta 8 - 6 going into the final quarter but they managed to mount a comeback and we lost 10 - 11.
Friday 27th: ESSA (England) 17 - 1 Nautilus (Rome)
Friday 27th: Malta 9 - 7 Livorno Nuoto (Leghorn)
Saturday 28th: ESSA ( England) 10 - 11 Malta
Saturday 28th: Nautilus (Rome) 1 - 20 Livorno Nuoto (Leghorn)
Sunday 29th: Malta 33 - 3 Nautilus (Rome)
Sunday 29th: ESSA (England) 8 - 5 Livorno Nuoto (Leghorn)
Even though we thought we could have come away winners and were gutted, I must say I was really proud of the entire team for the way they applied themselves throughout the whole tour. To say this was the first time the squad had been together and only marginally lost out on 1st place I think is quite an achievement and something we should all be proud of. Another positive was the girls managed to win their tournament so well done England girls!
On a personal note this was one of the best experiences of my life and something I will never forget. To represent my country as a Water Polo coach is the proudest moment of my career and I'd like to thank St Bede's and St Joseph's Catholic College and all those involved in my development throughout the years. I'd also like to thank all those associated with ESSA Water Polo and the coaching team and players whilst out on tour. Finally to all the students of SBSJ over the years, without them I would not have the enthusiasm and drive to keep improving as a coach and now I have seen the standard, my aim is to continue to develop our students and hopefully get them the opportunity to represent their country in this illustrious competition".
SBSJ Swimming Instructor and Coach
2017 English Schools Assistant Coach for U17 Boys Water Polo team