Pictured: Team coach Kamz Powell, Millie Raymond, Nyah Tomlinson, Amy Potter, Jenny Herring, Jess Garrad (front), Madeleine Crow (centre), Jai Powell (back), Jasmin Colman, Ella Louise Jones, Lucy Chard-Maple, Raewyn Newmarch, Nina Rickards.
Exeter ladies water polo team have made an impressive debut to their first season of playing in the national league, culminating this weekend in a promotion to Division 2.
The ladies team, which is one of the youngest in the league, with seven of its players under 18, overcame both their rivals in the final weekend of the Division 2 championships this weekend to take second place overall. Yesterday’s local Derby against Cheltenham saw them beat a strong team 13-5 with goals scored by Jai Powell, Jasmin Coleman (4) Jenny Herring (3), Nyah Tomlinson, Amy Potter (2), and Ella Louise Jones (2)
But it all hinged on two matches on Sunday. A turnover from Cheltenham against opponents London Penguins goalkeeper out of position in an effort to break the stalemate in the final seconds of their match resulted in a nail-biting finish as the ball drifted into an open goal.
This meant Exeter were through to Division 2 no matter what the outcome of their final match against Women’s masters English Roses.
The GB women’s experience shone through in the first quarter, where they led for most of it until an equaliser in the final few seconds brought them to 3-3. The second quarter played out in a similar vein taking the game to six all.
The second half of the match saw the Exeter ladies pull ahead with some strategic defence and tactical breaks resulting in a final score of 13-8. Goals came from Amy Potter, Jai Powell, Jenny Herring (2) Jasmin Colman (2), Ella Louise Jones (3), Madeleine Crow and Jess Garrad.
Having finished top of Division 3, the team finished second overall in the championship playoffs to Rotherham, and both teams will be promoted along with third place Liverpool.
Team coach Kamz Powell said:
“The team has outperformed some well-established and experienced national league teams in this competition, playing with skill, conviction and confidence.
It’s a young side and I’m really proud of the way they’ve worked together, and they’ve been quick to learn and develop as they’ve progressed through this year’s National League.
Next year will be a big challenge, but one I think they’re more than capable of tackling head on.
Thanks to our sponsors Taylor Wimpey, Active Devon and Wyvern Water Polo – many of our players are students and the accommodation and fees can be prohibitively expensive, but we want to be accessible to everyone and reward young talent, so it’s crucial we get sponsorship to help support our younger players.”
The league will resume in September.
Film: goalkeeper Nina Rickards talks about the win for Exeter Ladies.
Thanks to Lou Raymond & Suzy Tomlinson for the write up & videos.