City of Sheffield water polo U15’s girls defeated all before them last weekend in the National Age-Groups at the Manchester Aquatics Centre to become national champions.
The team, who have been training hard together for many months, put all three opponents to the sword in their group matches, beating Otter Futura 16-0 , Watford 11-3 and Cheltenham 11-5.
Sheffield then played tournament favourites Liverpool in the semi-finals and tactically outwitted their opponents to beat them 10-5.
Anna Motley scored the opening goal before Asia Law, Emma Jackson and Emily Crossley all added goals to seal the victory. Superb defending from Aderyn Lane and Goalkeeper Captain Kiah Dyas kept the opposition attack at bay.
In the final Sheffield faced a Cheltenham team who were hungry for revenge,but took the lead through a brilliant Sarah Craig counter attack.
Sheffield’s MVP Asia marked Cheltenham’s most dangerous player out of the match (as she had done in the semi final) as well as netting twice.
Aderyn and Emily made sure Sheffield were a force at the back, with tournament MVP Emily expertly marking the centre forward out of the game as well as scoring two goals.
As she had in the semi-final Anna controlled the play for Sheffield helping set up goals for her teammates. Tournament top scorer Emma was clinical on the counter once again, as she had been throughout the tournament, scoring four times.
Every player contributed to the victory and earned their gold medal. Ella Boyer used her pace to create chances for the team and scored important goals. Laura Skelton, two years younger than most of her opponents, was tenacious in her tackling and made things happen up front with excellent driving and passing, whilst Maddy Ralston and Amy Wakefield defended brilliantly, consistently winning possession for their team. Captain Kiah was calm and reassured in goal, leading by example by making some excellent saves to enable Sheffield to storm the final by 14 goals to 3 and become U15 National Water Polo Champions for the first time in their history.