Dominant North West Thunder crowned Inter-Regional champions

Delighted North West Thunder coach Laura Hesketh hailed a series of convincing performances as her dominant side sealed back-to-back Inter-Regional Championships titles.

After being crowned U14s champions in 2018, Thunder were undefeated as they triumphed in the U18s’ girls competition at Blackpool.

It was the first time the Inter-Regionals had been held for this age group in four years due to the coronavirus pandemic and Thunder were in no mood to relinquish their status as champions.

They hit double figures in all their matches to top Division One after beating London Sharks 16-8, South East Anderida 19-2, South West Sharks 14-5 and North East Steelers 10-8.

That left them three points clear at the top of the table with an impressive goal difference of 36.

Hesketh said: “After winning the U14 title in 2018, North West Thunder came back to prove that lightning always strikes twice! 

“A convincing set of performances with four wins from four to lift the trophy. 

“Congratulations to captain, Izzy Robb, in leading her team to victory again and Amélie Cornell, the tournament’s top goalscorer and recipient of our MVP award.”

North East Steelers took second spot in the table on goal difference from South West Sharks after both teams finished on five points.

The championship trophy and individual player awards were presented by Swim England president Ian Mackenzie.

Determined West Midlands triumph

Unbeaten West Midlands showed ‘great team spirit’ to win Division Two in Bolton.

Two wins and two draws saw them finish on six points ahead of Scotland Saltires and Ireland.

They opened up their campaign with a convincing 20-4 victory over East Midlands and then defeated East Angels 19-12.

West Midlands then drew 11-11 with Scotland Saltires and 10-10 with Ireland much to the delight of coach Mark Ibbs.

He said: “It was a pleasure to be part of a fantastic weekend of water polo and to experience thrilling matches against Scotland and Ireland. 

“West Midlands is a small region and our girls showed great team spirit, determination and skill to eventually get us over the line. 

“I’m especially pleased for our older girls, as this was their last tournament. 

“They have missed out more than any age group over the last two years due to Covid, so it was great for them to go out on a high!”

Swim England East Region president Paul Kendall presented the team and individual trophies.

U18s Girls’ Division One awards

  • Top goalkeeper: Felicity Hughes, London Sharks
  • Top goalscorer: Amélie Cornell, North West Thunder
  • Overall MVP: Connie Swainson, North East Steelers

U18 Girls’ Division Two awards

  • Top goalkeeper: Zara Christie, Scotland Saltires
  • Top goalscorer: Amelie Perkins, West Midlands
  • Overall MVP: Rachel Concoran, Ireland

MVP Awards

  • North West Thunder: Amélie Cornell
  • North East Steelers: Laura Skelton
  • South West Sharks: Emily Mason
  • South East Anderida: Ruby Rosser
  • London Sharks: Felicity Hughes
  • West Midlands: Charlotte Turpin
  • Scotland Saltires: Anna Campbell
  • Ireland: Rachel Concoran
  • East Angels: Megan Calderwood
  • East Midlands: Lexie West

Fixtures & Results

Saturday 19 March
North West Thunder 16 – 8 London Sharks FT
North East Steelers 9 – 9 South West Sharks FT
North West Thunder 19 – 2 South East Anderida FT
London Sharks 6 – 9 South West Sharks FT
North East Steelers 21 – 4 South East Anderida FT
Sunday 20 March
London Sharks 11 – 6 South East Anderida FT
North West Thunder 14 – 5 South West Sharks FT
London Sharks 6 – 17 North East Steelers FT
South East Anderida 6 – 12 South West Sharks FT
North West Thunder 10 – 8 North East Steelers FT

Fixtures & Results

Saturday 19 March
West Midlands 20 – 4 East Midlands FT
East Angels 6 – 10 Ireland FT
Scotland Saltires 13 – 2 East Midlands FT
East Angels 12 – 19 West Midlands FT
Scotland Saltires 9 – 6 Ireland FT
East Angels 9 – 5 East Midlands FT
Scotland Saltires 11 – 11 West Midlands FT
Sunday 20 March
Ireland 11 – 6 East Midlands FT
Scotland Saltires 8 – 9 East Angels FT
Ireland 10 – 10 West Midlands FT

Division 1

Team P W D L GD Pts
North West Thunder 4 4 0 0 36 8
North East Steelers 4 2 1 1 26 5
South West Sharks 4 2 1 1 0 5
London Sharks 4 1 0 3 -17 2
South East Anderida 4 0 0 4 -45 0

Division 2

Team P W D L GD Pts
West Midlands 4 2 2 0 23 6
Scotland Saltires 4 2 1 1 13 5
Ireland 4 2 1 1 6 5
East Angels 4 2 0 2 -6 4
East Midlands 4 0 0 4 -36 0