Players and staff from Bolton School were thrilled to represent water polo and demonstrate their expertise to Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, during his royal visit to Merseyside yesterday.
Visiting Guinea Gap Leisure Centre in Wallasey, the Duke of Cambridge, who is the Patron of English Schools’ Swimming, met members of the British Sub Aqua Club, Swim England and Wallasey Swimming Club before being introduced to former Bolton School Water Polo Coach Hayden Howard, who is now President of English Schools’ Swimming Association (ESSA) and Andy McGinty, current Head of Water Polo at Bolton School. Three Bolton School pupils also chatted to the Prince on the side of the pool – captain Harrison Barker-Smith and top training attendees, Andy Mattison and Tom Yates. The Prince then dropped the ball into the water (watch it via YouTube) and watched Bolton School squad players, comprising Y9-Y13 boys, play an exhibition match.
Andy McGinty said, “When we were introduced, we chatted for five minutes about the Prince’s time playing Water Polo at Eton and St Andrews. He asked the ages of the players and how we were doing in competitions. I explained that we are national champions in all three age groups and have been for three years. He then asked about the reasons for our success compared to other schools and I explained about our links with City of Manchester Water Polo and between School and the club we offer a great programme. He then also chatted during the gameplay for several more minutes and we discussed the boys themselves and the Prince said he missed the sport and was tempted to get in! However, he declined my offer to lend him a pair of trunks so he could!”
The players who took part in the day were: from Y13, Harrison Barker-Smith and Andy Mattison, from Y12, Jamie Price, Jacob Male and Matthew Schaffel, from Y11, Gareth Edwards-Williams, Marcus Crompton, Tobi Ramwell, Richard Birtwhistle and Chris Rhodes, from Y10, Jensen Myerscough, Tom Yates, Pierce Barker-Smith, Ben Jayasakera, Daniel Bentham, Matthew Rodger and Tom Simpson, and from Y9, James Blenkinship, Harry Bentham, Ben Price and James Hopkinson.
Last academic year, the school won the unprecedented triple triple – national success in all three age groups for the last 3 years.