Successful Ending to 2019

British Water Polo League Round Up

CSWPC Mens First team, Div 1, 2nd Weekend

The Mens first team faced three matches at their second weekend of National League at Haberdashers, Watford. The first match, against Sheffield, was a dazzling display of resilience by CSWPC. The whole game they were matched goal for goal but 54 seconds from the end Sheffield were defeated 11-10 by a winner from Alejandro Sanchez – his sixth of this thrilling match! Later that day Cheltenham faced Polytechnic. This was another tight match with the two teams locked in a draw each quarter. At the start of the final period score was 10-10 then goals by Will Middleton (2) and Joe Berry swept CSWPC to a 13-12 win. A superb weekend of high quality games ended with CSWPC and Solihull drawing 10-10. CSWPC edged ahead in the last quarter thanks to two super goals – one a lob, then a sharp, angled shot from distance – from Alejandro Sanchez but with under a minute to go Solihull equalised. Qualification to Super 5’s now rested on the final weekend.

CSWPC Mens First Team, Div 1, Final Weekend

The final weekend of BWPL was certainly not CSWPC’s luckiest at all. The first match against Invicta was very evenly matched, first quarter finishing 4-4, 2nd 6-6. The third saw Invicta just take the lead 9-8 but CSWPC pulled it back with just over 1 min left in the match the score was 12-12. Sadly a penalty 25 seconds from the end of the match saw Invicta take the lead. Everything rested now on Sundays match against Sutton & Cheam. In an extraordinary finale to the men’s Division 1 programme at Newport former champions CSWPC went down 9-8 to Sutton & Cheam – and crash-landed into Championship 1 in the second phase of the season. A very tight division everything went down to the wire and the very last fixture to decide who would head to Super 5’s. CSWPC played well against Sutton & Cheam and entered the final period with a 6-4 lead but Sutton hadn’t given up hope and blasted the last goal past CSWPC 1.38 seconds from the end of the match. This is the first time Cheltenham have not qualified for Super 5’s in a long time but they will be heading off to battle in Champs 1 in 2020. Good Luck guys!

Spartans, Div 3, 2nd Weekend

Spartans played Penguin & Southampton at Haberdashers in Watford. Another great weekend with smarter waterpolo assisted by our amazing support network of parental helpers, supporters and team entourage. In the pool the squad was boosted by our very own Rob Parker and Ali Arat who were fantastic throughout the weekend providing strength and style and giving the time to team mates to develop and simply get better. Just what it is all about. Thank you to James Ross who controlled the team once again playing a huge portion of each match and also to “stand in” Head Coach Jimmy Walsh who gets his first win, so probably less of the stand in – in future!

With hindsight we realise we could now have made a better difference to the Penguin result (Penguin 16 Spartans 11) seeking at the least a draw if we believed in it, however Penguin are undefeated so far this year and have a team full of adult European league players so it wasn’t going to be a walkover. The Southampton result was quality – Southampton 12 Spartans 13 – giving Spartans their first win so far this season. Each man played their part with commitment, having given away the lead only to regain it again in the last quarter. The juniors continued to grown from strength to strength, all playing again after the Sheffield weekend and looking sharper and more confident. Congratulations to James Willis who netted his debut National League goal this weekend. Team at Watford were;

Henry Redman, Rob Parker, Ali Arat, James Ross, Tristan Bradshaw, Dan day, Xander McKie, George Glover, Taylor Walsh, James Willis, Morgan Wells, Luke Tubby, Stu McKie.

Spartans, Div 3, Final Weekend

The Team travelled to Manchester for the final weekend of the first round of BWPL. Playing for guaranteed safety in Div 3 & potential Div 2 playoff. 

Saturday saw an extremely narrow defeat to Birmingham 18-17 in what was a match we should have won. It was disappointing to score 17 goals and not take the victory but Birmingham held on and found some strength to keep the match going to the wire as Spartans had failed to secure a cushion in goals ahead at any one time Birmingham took the lead. A true master class in pit attack from Rob Parker (12) who got deserved applauds on the BWPL website write up, supported by our returning seniors Mike Thomas, Joel Thomas & Jules Bewley. Not to be out done Juniors Dan Day and Taylor Walsh both netted one each marking their debuts on the scoring at National League.

The result was a bitter pill to swallow but the lads kept their heads up for the Sunday morning match which brought victory over Castleford 20-17. Always a hard, niggly, physical match, which also makes the win so much sweeter. Good all round performance with Seniors bringing on our Juniors development once again. Well done George Glover (1), Morgan Wells (2) & Taylor Walsh (3) all getting on the score sheet For National League. Notable senior performances from Mikee  (5), Jules (3) and Joel (3). Team at Manchester were:

Henry Redman, Rob Parker, Mike Thomas, Joel Thomas, James Ross, Jules Bewley, Tristan Bradshaw, Xander McKie, Taylor Walsh, Dan Day, Morgan Wells, George Glover & Will Cook. Coaches Martyn Thomas, Jimmy Walsh & Stu McKie

Sadly Spartans fell short of proceeding to Champ 2 play offs by just one point! An extremely tight league but none the less Spartans showed improvement as one of the strongest teams in the final stages of Phase 1 and a team to be reckoned with for Phase 2 in the New Year. All the best guys in 2020!

CSWPC Women, Div 3, 2nd Weekend.

With the success of the first weekend of the BWPL a distant memory, the women’s team travelled to Sheffield in October with one objective in mind – securing their place in phase two of the competition.

Saturday 12th October – Rotherham Metro 4 – Cheltenham 8

Cheltenham dominated the first half of the match with a superb demonstration of a ‘press defence’, their efforts being rewarded with a strong 6-2 lead at the end of the second quarter. By the end of the match Cheltenham had cruised to a final score of 8 – 4 leaving Rotherham ‘in a state of flux’ – Cheltenham now with 4 wins from 4 matches and secured their place in phase 2 – job done!

CSWPC Scorers:

Charlotte Martin (2), Sam Tubb (2), Sofia Fountain (1), Meg Swinburn (1), Sam Tubb(1),n Priya Kennedy (1) and Crystal Hulls (1).

Sunday 13th October – Watford 3 – Cheltenham 11

With qualification to phase 2 secured, the final match of the weekend against Watford was a formality, allowing Cheltenham’s young guns to play with a relaxed freedom not enjoyed before. By the end of the first quarter the women had raced to a 5–1 lead. The second quarter saw Cheltenham return to type with their trademark press defence dominating Watford and eliminating any ideas they may of had of making an impact to the score line. By the end of the third quarter Cheltenham had leapt to an 8-2 lead, with the final score a superb 11-3 win, extending their 100% record to five wins.

CSWPC Scorers:

Priya Kennedy (2), Crystal Hulls (2), Sofia Fountain (4), Sam Tubb (1), Georgia McCool (1) and Sophie Clink (1).

Captain Kate Read retained her own 100% record with 2 more penalty saves.

CSWPC Women, Div 3, Final Weekend

The final weekend of matches in phase 1 of the BWPL moved onto Manchester Aquatics Centre. It was now clear that Cheltenham were now setting the standard in the division. The women would face their strongest challenge to date from Exeter, who had only lost one match in their series of matches and were looking to upset Cheltenham’s 100% record in their first match on Saturday.

Saturday 16th November – Exeter 10 – Cheltenham 5

After an excruciating 15 mins 38secs from the start of the match, CSWPC started to respond to Exeter’s phenomenal 6-0 start, with Priya Kennedy finally putting the team on the score sheet – after two quarters the score stood at 6-1.The next two quarters were, as pre match predictions had expected, a tough, tight and physical battle between the two class teams of the league finishing with four goals respectively.

CSWPC Scorers:

Charlotte Martin (2), Priya Kennedy (1),  Crystal Hulls (1) and Sofia Fountain (1).

Cheltenham’s winning streak had come to a sudden and grinding halt! But, we are told by many a great coach to take the positive from any situation. Fortunately the young and very talented Cheltenham team didn’t require much in the way of motivation to prepare them for their next match the following morning. The Women’s team had spent the previous evening licking their wounds and would take their frustration out in their final match of phase 1 of the BWPL against Liverpool Water Beatles.

Sunday 17th November – Liverpool Water Beatles 2 – Cheltenham 21

Cheltenham quite simply demolished Liverpool with a display of ‘total polo’ dominating every area of the game. It was clear the previous evenings defeat had a profound effect on the players, who wanted to wipe the defeat from their minds by going on a goal scoring quest. Captain and Goal Keeper Kate Read joined in, putting one past the Liverpool keeper at the end of quarter 2. However, it was the young guns of Priya Kennedy with 8 and Charlotte Martin with 5 who showed their class and lead the way to an very satisfying end to a bitter sweet weekend. After Quarter 1 the score was 3 – 0, after Quarter 2 the score was 8 – 0, after Quarter 3 the score was 17– 0. The final score after quarter 4 21 – 2!

CSWPC Scorers:

Priya Kennedy (8), Charlotte Martin (5), Crystal Hulls (3), Sofia Fountain (3), Olivia Shelmerdine (1) and Kate Read (1).

In summary phase 1 of the British water Polo Division 3 Championship had been a resounding success with Cheltenham finishing joint top on 12 points out of a possible 14 with Sofia Fountain, Priya Kennedy and Charlotte Martin finishing 4th, 5th and 10th place respectfully in the leagues top goal scorers table. Of course there was, one 100% record intact – Kate Read had played 7 matches and faced 5 penalties and saved all of them.

Congratulations from the coaches to all the squad for a fantastic return to the BWPL, we look forward to Phase 2 with confidence tinged with trepidation. Good luck!

Midland League

Junior men

The U18’s team continue to fair well in this years Junior Men’s Midland League. A win against Northampton away, the closest one to date. Final score Northampton 6 CSWPC 10. Followed by an impressive win against City of Coventry Juniors, CSWPC 30 Coventry 1. CSWPC currently top the table with 4 wins out of 4 games. Looks like the teams only rivals may be Solihull who are currently second with 3 wins out of 3 games. Their first clash is due in January so we will wait to see what happens. Good luck boys, here’s to a 100% record.

CSWPC’s Players Recognised by British Swimming

In November Three CSWPC players were nominated at The British Swimming Awards. Tom Hunt & Charlie Brogan were nominated for Water Polo Male Athlete of the year and Amy Berry was nominated for Water Polo Female Athlete of the year. “To have three nominations is fantastic” said CSWPC’s Head Water Polo Coach, Martyn Thomas.

Amazingly Charlie Brogan won Water Polo Male Athlete of the year! At the tender age of 17 Charlie was selected  because of his calm temperament, technical ability and strength which mark him out as an outstanding young prospect. Martyn Thomas said “Charlie is a truly exceptional player. He was 6ft at 15 years old so has all the physical attributes as well as the mental attributes to do well. His training ethos is superb, he is a happy guy who loves to train.” Charlie likes to play centre-forward, which is a tough spot, as its where all the wrestling takes place however if you can take the flak it will can enable you to score lots of goals. Charlie has held that position in CSWPC’s first team since the age of 16 just proving how good he is.


Not to be outdone Amy Berry, who was shortlisted for the Female athlete of the year, recently received Swim Englands Water Polo Talent Athlete of the Year award. Amy was recognised for her leadership skills in 2018, captaining the England Schools squad. This then led to her being named captain of Englands U17 girls team, which won bronze at the EU Nations Junior Women’s tournament in 2019. Amy stepped up again at the Women’s European Junior Water Polo Championships, captaining Great Britain to 12th place in Volos, Greece. Amy began playing water polo at the age of 10 and her passion for the sport is evident. She is often down at the pool coaching the younger players as well as being a great role model in the pool. Reflecting on the year after receiving her award Amy said “Its been amazing, I can’t even think back to my best moment. The whole year has been the best and I can’t wait for next year.” Although Amy is now one of the country’s brightest young talents, her future will simply be motivated by a love for the game. “I love water polo, I love playing” says Amy. Amy also received CSWPC’s Award of Merit this year. This award was presented to her by Martyn Thomas at the club AGM. What a year for Amy we look forwarded to seeing Amy’s success growing in 2020.