Mid Sussex Marlins girls help team secure regional success
Six Mid Sussex Marlins girls were included in the South East team competing in the Swim England inter-regional under-16 water polo competition at Walsall Gala Baths.
Lillie-Rose Standen, Becky Smith, Bella Power, Ella Boyle, Ismey Hawley and Imogen Read all helped the South-East region secure third place out of 10 regions across Great Britain.
The SE girls were seeded in the premier division, their reward for finishing highly placed in the u14 competition in 2019.
Consequently, they faced four tough matches against the North-West, the East, the North-East and Scotland.
In their first match against the North West, the squad was slow to get going and was 10-4 down after the first quarter. However strong defensive play from Ella and great shooting from Lillie helped the girls fight back to win the fourth quarter 3-0.
The girls had shown great resilience in the first match and took this forward into the next match against the East, which they won 9-4.
Again, the Marlins players were key members of the team with Becky and Bella putting in some great drives and goalkeeper Ismey distributing the ball effectively down the pool.
Imogen, one of only three born in 2007 in the squad, held her own in defence and made many strong tackles and interceptions.
The third game was extremely tough and the girls lost 12-2 to eventual tournament winners the North-East.
Nevertheless the girls stayed tight as a unit and the coaches and supporting parents were impressed by the improvement in their teamwork.
The girls were determined to win the final match against Scotland as they knew this would guarantee them bronze medals. It was a tight start to the match, but in the 3rd quarter the South East girls began to pull away. Ismey made some brilliant saves which stopped Scotland from catching in the fourth quarter and the girls won 8-3. An indication of the key contribution of the Marlins players is that they accounted for 7 of the 8 goals scored. (Lillie 3, Becky 3 and Bella 1).
In addition to the whole team collecting bronze medals, two members of the squad picked up individual awards: Becky Smith was awarded Most Valued Player for her fantastic efforts in both attack and defence and Lillie-Rose Standen received the joint top division 1 goal-scorer award for her outstanding goal-scoring (11 goals across the weekend!)