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Pupils Join Olympian and Commonwealth Athletes in British Water Polo Championship Tournament

Friday, 16 January 2015

A number of Bolton School’s current and former pupils will be taking part in the very first competitive water polo match to be played at the new East Manchester Leisure Centre. They will be playing with the Manchester team against the Scottish Portobello side. The game is part of the first round of matches in the Men’s British Water Polo Championships.

On both sides there will be recent Commonwealth Games medal winners, as England won gold last year in Aberdeen and the Scottish team took bronze. The Manchester team will also feature a number of players that represented Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics.

Current Sixth Form students James Barker, Lewis Daly and Aaron Winstanley will likewise join the roster as members of the eighteen-man Manchester squad. All three have an excellent chance of selection for the final thirteen players needed for the match.

Old Boys Rob Rae, Charles Boothe, and Edward Scott are also members of the Manchester squad – and are likely to find themselves facing off against fellow Boys’ Division alumnus Edward Grundy, who plays for Portobello and scored the goal that won Scotland their bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games!

In fact, there is a Bolton School presence in four of the eight teams selected as the top in the country to compete in this year’s Championships. As well as the alumni playing for Manchester and Portobello, Old Boy Andrew Crawford plays for Bristol, while Old Boy and current staff member David Teasdale plays for Lancaster. The other teams taking part are Cheltenham, Invicta (London), London Polytechnic and Sheffield.

Despite members of Manchester’s squad taking part in both Commonwealth and Olympic games, and the current Bolton School pupils in the roster also playing in Team GB youth squads, the City of Manchester Water Polo Club is not professional. The team trains and plays in their spare time from work and school. Nonetheless, the team is the current National League champions and stand a good chance of winning this year’s British Championships – for the first time, after taking second place on a number of occasions!

This is therefore a particularly exciting tournament and the School will be watching it progress with interest.

Old Boy and goalkeeper Ed Scott, who played between the sticks for Team GB at the 2012 Olympics, said, “It’s going to be a tough game against Portobello on Saturday. We’ve played them twice already this season and lost them both, so we certainly have a big incentive to get our own back.

“The new facility at the Etihad Campus is fantastic and it’s been a great place to train. I’m now really looking forward to making it our home and playing the first match there on Saturday.

“We only narrowly missed out on winning the competition last year, so we need as many people behind us as possible to make sure we can go one better this time.

“Hopefully we can get a lot of people in the gallery and create a great atmosphere.”

The Manchester vs Portobello match on Saturday will begin at 5.45pm, but even before the main event begins there is plenty of excitement promised for the afternoon and evening. A number of pieces of GB memorabilia will be raffled to raise money for the Manchester club, and the Championship match will be preceded by a game between the Manchester U15 side and the Scotland national U15s, with that fixture starting at 4.30pm. Bolton School pupils Tom Daly, Bill Moores and Ben Ray from Year 11, Harrison Barker Smith and Andy Mattison from Year 10, and Jos Winstanley from Year 9 will play for the Manchester side in this fixture.

Tickets to Saturday’s matches are £3 for the day.

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Aaron Winstanley, James Barker and Lewis Daly are part of the Manchester squad

Aaron Winstanley, James Barker and Lewis Daly are part of the Manchester squad

Old Boy Rob Rae in action

Old Boy Rob Rae in action

Old Boy Ed Scott defending Manchester

Old Boy Ed Scott defending Manchester's goal