SBSJ in the Vanguard of Schools Water Polo in Yorkshire
5th June 2018
Matthew Wright, who coaches the water polo teams at St Bede's and St Joseph's Catholic College, Bradford pays tribute to the school's Boys’ Water Polo Teams after recent successes as finalists in the English Schools National Championship - and as the first ever winners of the all-new Yorkshire Schools Championships:
"This was the first year of the competition's existence with the aim to make it an annual event. Whilst there are only four teams for now, it is my aim to increase the participation of the sport in schools here in Yorkshire and the support from Bradford Grammar School, St Peter's (York) and Ampleforth College was greatly appreciated. We are all in agreement that we would like to continue with the development of Water Polo in Yorkshire and are we are going to try and find more schools to get involved over the coming years.
Whilst SBSJ were the more experienced team, I would like to congratulate BGS, St Peter's and Ampleforth in their efforts and at times they were playing some good Water Polo. The progression they made over the course of the two legs was evident, which is clear in the results between themselves when you compare the two legs. I am really looking forward on building our current relationship over the coming years.
Finally I would like to congratulate our U18 SBSJ Boys’ Water Polo team. Although we were the more experienced team, that doesn't take away from our achievement. It is through our years of hard work and dedication to improve ourselves that has given us the chance to become Yorkshire Champions, something I hope to retain each year!
A big well done to all the U15 players (10 out of a team of 13) for stepping up and not letting playing older and bigger opposition faze them. Not only was this particular group the first boys team to reach the English Schools National Championship Final in the school's history but they have also made history by becoming the first ever U18 Yorkshire Schools Champions. They still have another 3 years to play in this competition; let's see if they can retain it throughout the rest of their time here at SBSJ.
I would also just like to say a huge well done and farewell to our three senior players in Daniel Colehan, Jack Sheehan and Dominic Walker, all of whom were part of the very first 'Year 7 Water Polo team at St Bede's C.G.S.' For 7 years they have given up hundreds of hours of their free time to train and represent the school. All three players trained at regional level in Manchester as well as getting a trial for the Great Britain squad back in 2014. For school, they won the 2011 Liverpool and District Water Polo Club Championship. They have been involved in 2 ESSA Championship Semi Finals - only missing out on the Final by one place in both attempts. They have also reached the ESSA Plate Final on four occasions with second place being their highest finish.
Finally and most importantly, our school is going through some changes at the moment where we will see students of all ages mix and help and support one another in their journey through school. Whilst this may be a new concept throughout school, I know all the Water Polo players will not be fazed by these changes as this is something we have done for many a year. Danny, Jack and Dom are prime examples of this: starting off as young students who looked up to players like Rocky, Jordan Towers, Luke Habergham, Matthew McLoughlin, Benn Adams and many others. Now in turn, they too have become great role models to our younger players, showing them just what it means to be part of the SBSJ Water Polo fraternity.
On a personal note, they have been great influences on my life and I am immensely proud to have seen them grow from young boys into the young men they have become. I wish them all the best for the future!
The team for the U18 SBSJ Yorkshire School Champions (goals from both legs) are (in alphabetical order):
Yenukua Anarwat, Jastin Barrientos (1), Sam Chewins (5), Daniel Colehan (15 & Player of the Tournament), Tom Doyle, Darwin King (10), Ikenna Obasi, Konstantinos Odiomume (2), Jack Sheehan (4), Jacob Slator, Dominic Walker (4), Harvey Weston-Beyer (3), Adam Zdolyny.
Well done to all involved!"