West London Penguin go back-to-back as they retain U17 Open title

West London Penguin retained the U17 Open national title at the GoCardless Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships 2024 (U17/U19).

After a competitive first half, Penguin found themselves behind by one goal at half-time as Cheltenham led 10-9.

But a superb second half performance which saw them score 15 goals, set them on their way to clinching gold once again and being presented with the W J Read Trophy.

Strong performances, not just in the final but throughout the competition, saw Penguin’s Matthew O’Neill Cuadros awarded the Most Valuable Player award and his teammate, Adriano Porsia, the top goalkeeper award.

Cheltenham’s William Bamborough, who grabbed six goals in the final, claimed the top goalscorer award.

Ian Grimwood, team manager for West London Penguin, could not put into words how proud he was of his side’s achievement.

He said: “I’m elated as it was such a close game the whole way through and such an exciting game for everybody.

“It’s a real tribute to Swim England and the event that they’re putting on. Both of the teams deserved to be in the final and played out a great match.

“You can’t really put into words how proud I am of them and how well they played and how they played probably better than they’ve ever played before.

“The club’s spent a long time without junior teams because of the level of facilities in London being so low but fortunately for the club, a great facility came along and at the same time, two great coaches came along who are Claudio Palumbo and Rumen Kurtev.

“I also have to say that the whole club has been really supportive of what they’ve been trying to do and what they’re trying to achieve. The club really wants us to go from strength to strength.

“It’s great to win two years in a row and it’s a tribute to the squad to win two in a row – but we know that’s not going to happen every year.”

Cheltenham Top Scorer

Manchester in the medals

City of Manchester were amongst the medals once again at the National Age Group Championships, putting on a performance that was too strong for Caledonia.

The side from the North West earned the U17 Open bronze medal with a 16-9 victory over their opposition.

They came into the event on hot form, finishing with a 100 per cent record to top Group B of the preliminary round, but were beaten by the eventual champions, West London Penguin, in the semi-final.

However, the side regrouped to put on a strong display against Caledonia. City of Manchester were first to the ball and first on the scoresheet within the opening seconds of the match through Yaroslav Shemanov.

A second from Shemanov, a goal from Freddy Dean and a hat-trick from Caledonia’s Jason Dickson meant the sides were all level at 3-3 at the end of the first quarter.

Three goals for City of Manchester and two for Caledonia saw just one goal between them at half-time, but the third quarter was were the difference was made.

City of Manchester grabbed a total of seven goals. Shemanov added a hat-trick in that quarter with Miles Kinloch, Otis Mckelvey, Andrew Stephenson and Jude Eagling grabbing goals to open up a lead.

The final quarter saw Dean and Mckelvey add to their tallies as City of Manchester sealed their 16-9 win.

You can keep up with all the scores by visiting the live scoreboard and see all the reports from the Swim England Water Polo National Age Group Championships here.

Images – Will Johnston Photography


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