Posted by Sue Seagroatt
Hillingdon Penguin Water Polo Club took a team to Crystal Palace on Saturday 18 June to represent Hillingdon in the water polo final at the London Youth Games. Our team included a handful of experienced players, but the bulk were young and relatively new to the sport.
We were unlucky with the draw and had to compete against two top quality sides at the group stage. We narrowly lost both these games, 3:7 against Camden and 3:4 Croydon. This meant we progressed to the Plate Competition where we easily won our next four games and were able to give our younger players lots of time in the water. Results: 9:2 against Enfield, 11:3 against Merton, 10:2 against Harrow and 9:5 against Waltham Forest. The team had a great day and were delighted to come home with some silverware.
Credits go especially to Yalin Gulen and Toby Roberts who scored many goals. Both train with Ealing Water Polo Club and have also been selected for the current U16 London Team. Meanwhile Michael Seagroatt, the goalie, made many vital saves and Samir Garnie and Ben Mason have improved hugely as players this year.
Coach Aram Eidipour was delighted with the team’s performance and pleased to see the inexperienced players performing so well in the really tough games.
Five members of the team have joined relatively recently: Zak Smith, Manooch Nazem, Lavanya Manral, Lindi Fang and Matthew Emerton. Especially well done to them for competing for the first time with so little preparation and standing up to the tough and scary tactics employed by more experienced teams.
Only one member of our team will be too old to compete next year and four are under 13 years old. To have so much young talent sets us up for an even better performance next year. Thanks are also due to Ilyas Raja in the role of coaching assistant and mentor.
Everyone really enjoyed the London Youth Games and we are grateful for the format, which encourages greater participation in our sport and development of new talent. We are also grateful to the Hillingdon Council Sports Development Team for their support.
We would love to hear from anyone aged 10-18 wishing to join our team. Join now and it could be you getting a prize this time next year! As long as you can swim well enough, our experienced coaches will teach you all the water polo skills required. If interested contact Sue at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07980 577082.