Saturday, 08 July 2017
Back in 1986 when Trevor Pledger first joined Bolton School Boys’ Division he hoped to “improve water polo”; 31 years on and with the School achieving the triple of winning all national age group water polo titles for the third year in a row and with a string of international caps for former pupils, he can leave content in the knowledge that he achieved this!
Saturday saw a gathering of former and current water polo playing pupils, many of them internationals, at Bolton One pool for an afternoon celebrating the sport and in particular Mr Pledger. The afternoon offered a chance for some of the members of the triple winning current teams to play against senior internationals such as Andrew Crawford and Richard Lawlor and recent Olympian Ed Scott. Forty two Old Boys played in the afternoon, many of them junior internationals, with over 50 attending at some point in the day; several, including senior internationals Lewis Daly and Aaron Winstanley (brother of GB junior internationals, Drew and Jos) and junior international Ben Ray (brother of Chris, another junior international who played in the afternoon session), joined the celebration in the evening, direct from GB training. Taking part in the festivities were three junior internationals, who played in the first Bolton School Gold Medal ESSA U18 team of 1994 – Dominic Speakman, Chris Graham and Simon Baker, who came in from Dubai, Sweden and Lostock respectively! Joined by teachers, well-wishers and family members, former players spectated on a series of “friendly” matches before they were joined by more guests for an evening celebration at Bolton School Boys’ Division. The evening buffet was attended by over 300 people and the evening drew to a close with a wonderful standing ovation for Mr Pledger after a series of reflections and speeches.
Reflecting on his time at Bolton School, Mr Pledger said: “I have been privileged to be part of what I truly believe is the unique Bolton School Water Polo Team at a time of great success. The success of the boys during this period is a tribute to their talent, hard work and dedication and to the quality of the coaches we have been able to bring to the School to work with them. It has truly been a 'special' time as the water polo squads have not only produced international water polo players but boys who have gone on to play professionally in other sports (football, cricket and rugby league) and win World titles in swimming (Daniel Sliwinski) and most notably World Endurance Mountain Biking (Chris Eatough). The team and the future is in the very capable hands of Dr Mike Yates and GB water polo Coach of the Year Andy McGinty, and I wish them every success in the future. I hope to continue to watch the progress of players in the national leagues as I move to a role of Delegate.”
During Mr Pledger’s career, the School has produced over 40 youth/junior internationals and nine full internationals, including three girl youth/juniors and one senior woman. Mr Pledger has also been instrumental in developing the Outdoor Learning programme, the use of adventure learning centre Patterdale Hall, the ski trip and outdoor pursuits as part of the games curriculum. He moved on to be Director of Sport and, since 2009, Director of Partnerships in which he has done much to move along the many and various partnerships the School has with the local community, including the nationally recognised Bolton Sports Alliance. Outside of school, as a volunteer, Trevor has officiated on the play zone of four European, two Commonwealth and the London Olympic Games as well as being a table official for a European Championship. He is also former President of English Schools’ Swimming Association and current Chairman and Lead Delegate at World Schools’ Games Swimming in Doha.
You can watch a video of some of the afternoon water polo action here.
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