In a stunning weekend of water polo, Christchurch Seagulls simultaneously took silver medals in two of the most prestigious tournaments in the country.
Seagulls U19 squad arrived at the ASASWR Championships in Exeter looking to improve on their fourth place from 2010. The draw saw Seagulls go head-to-head with tournament favourites Cheltenham in the first match of the day and in a pulsating game both sides swapped scores with neither team getting ahead by more than one goal until with less than two minutes to go Cheltenham pushed ahead, scoring twice in the last 30 seconds to take a thrilling match 8-5. Seagulls bounced back with close wins over both Barnstaple and old rivals Exeter to fix a final round match against local counterparts Bridport. Seagulls, needing a win to secure the silver medal, struggled to find their rhythm in the first half but bouncing back after half time, played their usual brand of fast, free flowing water polo to score at ease throughout the second half winning 11-1.
At the end of the tournament coach Tony Kingsley said, “This is a fantastic result for us. The first medal in this age group by a Dorset side. Three of our usual first team players were away with the SW academy side so bring this team here and take silver is special.”
At the same time on the other side of the country three Seagulls players were part of the South West U16 squad contesting the Inter-regional championships in Basildon. Jackson Mullins, Charlie Roberts and Cianan Mann helped ease the South West side through the preliminary rounds to secure a place in the semi-final and in a tough semi-final overcame the North East to set up the final against pre-tournament favourites North West. The final, however, was just one step too far as the South West lost 6-5 in a tight match – a repeat of the 2010 result.
Seagulls U19 Squad: Charles Elderfield, David Gallagher, Joe Foale-Groves, Mikey Kingsley, Josh Lay, James Rogers, Anand Vaithilingham, Sam Webber, Elliot Wilks,