The water polo season has had a rather unexpected twist at its end. The team expected to win the National competition finished Third but the Under 16s (not expected to win) ended as National Champions.
The achievement of this Under 16 team cannot be understated, with Manchester Grammar starting as clear favourites. On finals day, the side began shakily with narrow wins over Trinity London and City of London schools and the semi-final saw a narrow, one goal win over Trinity School Carlisle. These unconvincing performances were then well and truly forgotten in the final with a display of maturity and confidence which left Manchester struggling to keep up with the mighty King Edward\'s. Andrew Macarthur and Ryan Hughes scored the goals as KES won 3-2, with key performances by Sam Polding in goal and Matt Richardson (Junior Player of the Year) in defence. James Cull and Morgan Hirsch (Great Britain Captain and senior Player of the Year) led the team impressively and the performances from younger players were encouraging for next year. Ed Burns (An Upper Middle) was faultless in all matches with Nick Gateley, George Wilson and Harry Cowley adding much needed back up and changes of strategy at key points.
The Under 18s were disappointed with third place after being deservedly seeded first and a narrow loss in the semi-final was their only loss in nearly two years of water polo. However, the side did win the Under 18 Warwickshire Cup, beating Handsworth 33-3 in the final. From the Under 18 side, Simon Gateley was again selected as England Schools Captain, Dan King and Will Divall have also been chosen for the England Schools side.
Photo: James Cull celebrating the Under 16 team triumph.