Royals make most of Life Centre event experience
DEVONPORT Royals may not have won titles, but the hosts fought gamely and will have gained valuable experience in the ASA South West Inter-Club Water Polo Championships staged at the Life Centre.
In truth, Devonport's two entrants against many of the region's finest water polo players had not anticipated coming out on top in the two-day event.
Flying the flag for Devonport were the ladies' under-17s and their male club-mates who were competing in the under-19 competition, as water polo made a well-received debut on the Life Centre's fixture list.
Devonport head coach and tournament manager, Roger Bossom, was delighted by the event at Plymouth's state-of-the-art pool in Central Park.
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He said: "The tournament went very well and we were really pleased with both teams' performance.
"We weren't expecting the boys to do overly well as they're still developing and were playing stronger teams, but I'm extremely pleased with the girls and the effort they put in.
"They've all played against the best players of their age group in the South West and they now know what they have to do to build up their own ability and progress to be able to match these teams in the future."
In a tough, five-strong under-19 league, Devonport took on Exeter, Barnstaple, Cheltenham and Christchurch. The teams played each other throughout the day in matches made up of two 12-minute halves.
Cheltenham, boosted by having several Great Britain players in their team, were on top form from the off to claim victory.
They won all four of their matches with the smallest goal difference, eight clear of their opponents, with their largest in a single match being 21.
Christchurch, although no match for Cheltenham, showed their worth to win their other three games and gain second place above Barnstaple in third. Exeter placed fourth and a determined Devonport finished fifth.
In the youth ladies' under-17 competition, Devonport and Paignton were the only entrants vying for the title, which meant a match of four, eight-minute quarters was played – the same length played at top-level tournaments including the Olympics and World League.
After a close match, Paignton's Gabby Martin scored the decisive goal to secure an 8-7 win over Devonport.
There was a welcome home victory – 21-8 – for Devonport's junior 16 and under mixed squad, over visiting Weston-super-Mare in the Bristol and West League.
The Royals dominated much of the encounter with Alex Wilson top scoring with 11 and Rachel Ward bagging five.
Devonport hold training sessions for youngsters – aged six to 12 – on Wednesdays (6.45pm), while older age categories train most Sundays between 3pm and 7pm.
For further information about taking up the sport or coming along for training, contact email@example.com