Tuesday 05th March 2019 was the U13 Girls English Schools Water Polo Semi Final.
There were 4 terms competing, with 2 places in the final up for grabs.
Teams taking part:
Manchester High School
St Edwards School
St Bede's and St Joseph's Catholic College
SBSJ 10 - 0 Manchester High
SBSJ 3 - 3 Bolton School
SBSJ 8 - 0 St Edwards School
Player of the Tournament - Sienna Harrop
U13 Girls Water Polo team: Lilly Pryce, Severn Annakin, Jessica Fullerton, Ava Chambers, Julia Szadkowska, Gabrielle Parker, Holly Smith, Emily Burton, Amelia Brooksbank, Bhumi Mistry, Amber Parrington, Sienna Harrop
With two wins and a draw it means the girls are through to the English Schools Final! This means all three (U13, U15 and U18) Girls teams have reached the English Final this year, something all the girls should be immensely proud of.
The whole team were fantastic from start to finish! Everyone was on top form and I couldn't be happier or more proud of the girls for their application and attitude in the build up to this tournament and for the way they performed on the day.
Obviously we were pleased with the two wins against Manchester High and St Edwards. The girls didn't allow the opposition any time on the ball, always pressing and getting in their faces. More importantly breaking fast on the counter once we did regain possession.
The one we were most pleased with was the draw against Bolton. Having played them a few times already this year we knew it would be very tough game. We had a set game plan which was different to what we normally use but I knew if the girls stuck to it we could come away with a positive result. The first half was very difficult, with the girls struggling to get to grips with the changes we made and going into half time we were 2-1 down. However we didn't panic and I tried to assure the girls to stick to the plan. We came out of the blocks flying and the girls started to understand the plan a bit better and we had a couple of chances but it was Bolton who got another to make it 3-1. The girls to their credit kept faith and we ended up bringing it back for a 3-3 draw and in actual fact with 10 seconds left on the clock we hit the crossbar, which on another day could have easily gone in to win the game.
As I have already said everyone was on top form. Lilly Pryce and Holly Smith shared the goal keeping duties and both were solid, making some key saves to keep clean sheets in two of the matches. When they played out, they pressed well and made some good drives forward to spread the opposition. Amelia Brooksbank was at the heart of everything, making a ridiculous amount of steals and organising the team well. Most our attacks started from Amelia and she managed to record 6 assists and 2 goals. Julia Szadkowska and Ava Chambers, always tracked their markers and when we counter attacked, always held back ready to cover if we lost possession. Bhumi Mistry, Gabrielle Parker and Jessica Fullerton worked tirelessly on the wings helping set up many of our goals, with Jess also scoring 2 herself. Unfortunately Amber Parrington and Emily Burton were unable to get in but helped keep the girls spirits up when out of the pool during and between matches. Severn Annakin was key to all our results, especially against St Edwards, marking one of their key players out of the game, making sure she didn't have shot on goal. Whilst Severn sacrificed more of her attacking instincts for the team, she still managed to be a threat at times scoring 2 goals and getting a couple of assists. Finally we come on to the 'player of the tournament' Sienna Harrop. What she did today is nothing short of brilliant. Out of the 21 goals we scored Sienna scored 15, some of which were unbelievable finishes but most importantly Sienna scored all 3 of the goals against Bolton and she knows that it wouldn't be possible without the team behind her.
The girls are such a close knit group and are all really supportive and we spoke after the tournament how we have a really good balance and blend of players. Everyone offers something different and they all know their worth to each other.
The hard work starts now with the Final scheduled to be played on Tuesday 30th April. I know the girls won't rest on their laurels as they have already committed to come in during the Easter holidays for a training camp in preparation for the final.
Well done to all involved. You are all amazing! Coach Mr M Wright