Basingstoke Bluefins Junior’s Progress into Qualification round of ASA National Age Groups…

Bluefins Junior team (Players born 1995 & under) has progressed into the ASA National Age Group Junior Boys Qualification round to be held at Liverpool Aquatics Centre on 13th and 14th April following last weekend’s Preliminary round at held at Watford Woodside leisure Centre.

The Bluefins team made of up a mix of Christchurch Seagulls players and Basingstoke Bluefins continuing the partnership of the past 2 seasons as the top players from each club play and train together to be able to compete at a national level.

Saturday March 16th saw Bluefins compete against some of the best water polo teams from around the country in the first round of the ASA national club competition.

A packed stand of spectators at Woodside witnessed a very high standard of polo, teams featuring a large number of players training with the GB talent squads in Cardiff. Currently no player from the Bluefins squad is training in these talent squads…

Bluefins group included the 2nd and 3rd seeds in the competition, playing matches against Solihull, Castleford, Manchester, Sheffield and Watford

Bluefins first game was against 2nd seeds Sheffield following a nervous start a goal by Cianan Mann gave Bluefins a half time lead and Bluefins started the second half with more confidence scoring 4 more goals in the first 2 minutes without response Sheffield tried to come back into the game and scored a late consolation goal to give the Bluefins a 5-1 victory over the team that game 2nd in the country last year.

Scorers: - Cianan Mann 1, Charlie Roberts 2, Sam Webber 1, Jackson Mullins 1
Majors: - Jackson Mullins

Next game was up against 3rd Seeds Manchester Bluefins knowing Manchester reputation started slowly conceding the first goal but some great saves by keeper Mikey Kingsley kept the Bluefins in the game before goals from Sam Webber (2) and Charlie Roberts without response gave Bluefins a deserved 2 goal lead but Manchester showed their class with a response just before half time to leave Bluefins leading by 1. The second half was a frustrating experience for the Bluefins coaches as the Bluefins failed to make the best of several great chances and all their good counter attacking play was rewarded with a solitary goal from Josh Lay after 2 mins of play which Manchester responded to within 30 secs is took another 2 minutes of play before Bluefins could restore their 2 goal advantage through Elliot Wilks Manchester fought back but despite conceding some inevitable major the Bluefins defence held firm conceding just the one towards the end to win 5-4

Scorers: - Sam Webber 2, Charlie Roberts 1, Josh Lay 1, Elliot Wilks 1
Majors: - Josh Lay 2 Elliot Wilks 2, James Stone 1

The next match was against Solihull who had also won their first two games, Solihull took a quick lead as Bluefins made an unusually slow start but the Bluefins came straight back with a Charlie Roberts goal but Bluefins were struggling to contain the Solihull centre forward as the responded with 2 quick goals to give them a 2 goal lead Jackson Mullins then pulled a goal back for the Bluefins but Solihull responded with 2 unanswered goals James Stone pulled one back for the Basingstoke side with a 7 meter shot But once again Solihull responded and despite a goal on the half time whistle by Charlie Roberts Solihull went into half time with a 2 goal lead 6-4. The second half continued in the same vain with Bluefins never quite getting the scoreboard equal and despite 5 second half goals Solihull always maintained their advantage eventually winning 14-9 The only consolation for Bluefins was they scored more against the eventually undefeated Solihull team than any other side…

Scorers:- Cianan Mann 2, Elliot Wilks 2, Charlie Roberts 2, James Stone 1 Ali Rogers 1 Jackson Mullins 1
Majors:- James Stone 3, Ali Rogers 1 Cianan Mann 1 Josh Lay 1

The following game matches Bluefins against Castleford, the opposition took the lead within the first minute but a goal from Charlie Roberts soon restored parity then Elliot Wilks won a penalty which was duly dispatched by Josh Lay to give a 2-1 lead. Roberts fired in another to give Bluefins a 2 goal advantage but Castleford soon pulled a goal back before David Gallagher popped up for his first goal of the tournament to restore the Bluefins 2 goal advantage at half time. As the Bluefins started to tire from the exploits earlier in the day Castleford fought back and despite goals from Wilks, and Mann, Bluefins had to rely on the defense to keep them in the game as with a minute 30 seconds left in the game Castleford took a 7-6 lead but Bluefins showed character in still coming back and created an opportunity for Josh Lay to convert to tie the game despite both coaches calling timeouts within the last minute no further goals were scored leaving the game tied at 7-7

Scorers: - Josh Lay 2 Charlie Roberts 2, Cianan Mann1 David Gallagher I Elliot Wilks 1
Majors: - Josh Lay 2 Charlie Roberts 2 Jackson Mullins 1

Final game of the day saw a very exhausted Bluefins take on Home team Watford how needed to win themselves to qualify for the next round, Bluefins defense held firm but the Watford centre forward helped himself to 2 goals without response in the first half to leave Bluefins trailing 2-0 , the second half was similar with Watford adding another 3 without response before James Stone with another of his long range efforts and a first in tournament for Dan Hutton gained some respectability for the Bluefins team final score 5-2

Scorers: - James Stone 1 Dan Hutton 1
Majors: - James Stone 2 Cianan Mann 1

Head Coach Rob Webber commented at the end to the team “We rode our luck at times BUT the commitment to the team that you all showed was first class. We've never done that before with our own home-grown players.  You should all be immensely proud of what you have achieved. You are worthy of your place at Liverpool”

team: Mikey Kingsley, Elliot Wilks, Jackson Mullins, David Gallagher, Ali Rogers, James Stone, Cianan Mann, Sam Webber, DAn Hutton, Charlie Roberts and Josh LAy

Coach Rob Webber

Team Manager Gerry Lay

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