Bolton School Senior Boys

Old Boy Aaron Previews European Water Polo Qualifiers

Aaron Winstanley will captain the U19 GB Water Polo team in their forthcoming European Championship Qualifiers in Turkey. The British squad, which includes two other former pupils, Chris Ray and Ben Riding, will face Montenegro on 6 May, Turkey on 7 May and Belgium on 8 May.

Looking ahead to the tournament, Aaron said: “Irrespective of the support put around us, the need to perform falls squarely with the selected team of 13 players and we shouldn’t go into this competition with any fears, nor leave anything in the tank. We know that we have three extremely tough games – Montenegro should need no introduction and will start as favourites; Turkey has invested significant money in its water polo programme in the last few years and, as hosts, will have the local support behind them; and Belgium come as a bit of an unknown package. We must go into each game and make sure that we have given 100% physically and mentally – anything less than this and we will always ask ‘What if?’  We will have no regrets at the end of this and will have given every ounce of what we’ve got.

“We also owe it to the lads who have not made the cut to give it our best possible shot. There have been casualties along the way and this is part of sport.  However, a squad of 17 players has been preparing the last three or four months and the loss of the last four was tough. Remy Gorton, Alfie Brown, Rob Gourley and Rudi Polster have all made huge contributions to the squad and without the competition they provided we wouldn’t be where we are today. They’ve played their part, and whatever the outcome in Antalya, they will very much be part of it.

“I also need to thank the management team for their efforts to date. Tim Dunsbee, Andy McGinty, Tom Wall and Sean King have all played significant roles coaching the team and have been able to pass on their experiences in getting us to this stage. And last, but certainly not least, my thanks go to Colin Walsh as Team Manager.  He puts in a huge amount of time behind the scene to make sure that the training weekends we have go to plan and the time and commitment he makes is very much appreciated by all the lads with in the squad.

“Finally, I know I speak for all the squad when I thank the parents. There has been a huge amount of time and money invested in us to get us all to this stage. Whatever the sport, there is no higher accolade than representing your country and all of us are grateful for the support they’ve given us. We’re all looking forward to hearing them and seeing the Union Jacks flying high in Antalya!”

Former Bolton School pupil Aaron will captain the U19 GB Water Polo team this summer

Former Bolton School pupil Aaron will captain the U19 GB Water Polo team this summer