The South West Youth team returned from the ASA Inter-Regional Water Polo Youth Championships as national champions after demolishing the opposition at the Cardiff International Pool on 15/16 January.
The initial draw saw the South West in the tougher of the two preliminary round groups but the first match against East Midlands saw the team steadily pull away to a 16-2 win. The second match against North West (B) was an all together tougher affair with the two sides struggling for supremacy, but astute rotation of the squad by the South West coach ensured the team outran the opposition to a 8-6 win. And with a final 9-6 win against the East region squad, the South West team finished the day unbeaten and seeded at the top end of the semi-final draw.
Day two was no less impressive. The South West took an early lead in the semi-final against Wales finishing with a comfortable 24-10 win, setting the team up for a final against pre-tournament co-favourites North West (B). And after a turbulent first quarter which saw its’ keeper excluded from the game, the South West team continued to grow in confidence to take control of the match, dismissing their northern rivals with an impressive 22-10 win.
Dorset was the second strongest represented county in the regional squad with three players – George Sparks (Bridport Barracudas), Elliot Wilks and Sam Webber (both Seagulls) – all of whom returned home with one of the most prized awards in UK water polo – a national gold medal!