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Senior Team in ManUp! Water Polo Tournament

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ManUp! is a ‘Beach Style’ friendly senior water polo tournament held annually at the Albert Docks, Liverpool, and Salford Quays, Manchester. The Boys’ Division Senior Water Polo Team, undefeated throughout their time at Bolton School, competed in the Albert Docks event.

The ManUp! Tournament proved to be fast-paced, competitive and exciting to both play and watch! Matches were six-a-side with two substitutes, lasting eight minutes and played in a shorter pitch of 18 metres. The ten teams taking part were divided into two pools of five and after the ‘round robin’ group stage each team finished with a further playoff match.

Bolton School finished third in their group of five and then won their fifth/sixth place playoff.

The school team comprised Year 12 pupils Harry Bentham and James Blenkinship, who recently represented the GB Junior team in the European Championships qualification tournament in Slovenia; Year 13 pupils Daniel Bentham, Jensen Myerscough, Tom Simpson and Thomas Yates; and Old Boys Marcus Crompton (Class of 2020, captain 2019-2020 and University of Nottingham Sports Scholar) and goal keeper Matthew Schaffel (Class of 2019). When two of the Bolton team were delayed for the first game, Dr Yates stood in as substitute. He had to step in again when one of the Bolton team picked up three major fouls.

Dr Yates commented that it was great to see so many old boys playing for different teams:

Simon Baker (Class of 1993) was goalkeeper of the first Bolton School team to win an U18 English Schools competition in 1992. Now a parent of a daughter in the Girls’ Division and a son who will join the Boys’ Division in September, he played in goal for Nomads.

Ben Riding (Class of 2017) had outstanding success as a junior international, playing for an unprecedented three junior age groups while at Bolton School. He was a key player in the ‘born 1999 team’: the first Bolton School age group in over ten years to qualify for the European Championships, held in Belarus. They were coached by Andy McGinty. Ben played for the Oxford team, who were undefeated at this year’s ManUp! to be crowned overall winners.

Having just completed a Master’s degree, Old Boy Ollie Rhodes (Class of 2016) represented Liverpool University and was part of the opposition in Bolton’s first game. Andrew Faulkner (Class of 2007) and Mr T Grieve (Park Road teacher, played for the GB Junior team in 2014) both played for Bridgefield 2 in Bolton’s second game.

In the other group, Peter Flaherty (Class of 2019) and Chris Rhodes (Class of 2020) played for Tyldesley. Alex Saunders (Class of 2010) represented Bridgefield 1, who won the group but were defeated by Oxford in the final.

The Bolton School Junior team (born 2005) are due to compete in a ManUp! at Nantwich Lido in the middle of August.

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