Friday, 12 May 2017
Bolton School’s water polo teams have made School and national history with their ‘triple triple’ win of English Schools Swimming Association (ESSA) Water Polo titles. For the third year in a row, the U18, U15 and U13 teams have won all three ESSA National Championships in the sport.
In early March, the U18 team successfully defended their age group title for the fourth year running, defeating Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School 8-1 after dominating the finals day. The U15s were equally strong later the same month, winning their final against Trinity School 6-2 and holding their national title for a third consecutive year.
That left just the U13s to maintain the winning streak and the pressure was on as the team travelled to Northampton for the finals.
Opening wins against King Edwards School Birmingham 8-1 and Whitgift 6-2 gave the Bolton School team great confidence as they progressed to the semi-final. There they faced local rivals Manchester Grammar School. On their only previous encounter this year, the two teams had drawn, so there was everything to play for in this match. After a strong start, Bolton won 5-4, scoring the winning goal with 17 seconds left in the game!
The final was against strong favourites Trinity School, who had previously defeated Manchester Grammar School 6-0 in the group. A fantastic attitude and performance led to a 3-1 lead, but after being pinned back to 3-3 the game was eventually decided by penalties. However, Joel Male’s two exceptional saves won Bolton the third ESSA title 3-1!
Bolton School’s Head Water Polo Coach Mr Andy McGinty said, “In regards to the triple triple achievement, I am incredibly proud of all of the boys that have played during this time. It has been a special time for Bolton School Water Polo and the dedication of all of the boys is something that I’ve been extremely proud to have witnessed. Dr Yates, Mr Teasdale and the soon to be retired Mr Pledger have all been instrumental in what I believe will be a unique achievement, so huge credit must go to them.”
The defence of all three titles for a third consecutive year, and in particular inspiring the youngest School team to victory against very tough opponents, is arguably Mr McGinty’s finest hour. Last year, he was named British Swimming’s Water Polo Coach of the Year for his work at Bolton School, with the Manchester City team, with the ESSA national side and with the GB U19 Squad. His successes have recently been recognised by ESSA, and following on from this he has been appointed the Head Water Polo Coach for English Schools.
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