Bolton School’s water polo teams have enjoyed a successful year, with the under-18 team defending their national title without losing a match and the under-16s also winning the national schools’ title. The under-14s played their national final at Walsall, having defeated Dulwich College, King’s School Grantham and Alleyn’s School en route. In the final, the Bolton team faced Dulwich for a second time and, after losing two early goals, came out on top 4-2, thus completing a hat-trick of national titles for the school.
The boys’ coach Mr McGinty said: “The under-14 team are an exciting team. They are a team we have always felt have had huge potential and so it is really pleasing to see them begin to deliver on that promise! I believe the best is yet to come for these boys, but the under-14 national title is an incredible way to start.
“Winning the three titles is an outstanding achievement as we are the only school ever to have achieved this feat. I am very fortunate to have worked with such enthusiastic, talented and dedicated players across the age groups, from our leaving players right through to our youngest teams. It is especially satisfying to see the hard work paying off. It is not something which will be easily repeated.”
Dr Yates, who also coaches the water polo teams, added: “It’s a credit to the players, of course, and to the parents who were there supporting the boys as well. They not only play for the school but for Manchester City as well, and it takes a lot of dedication from both players and parents to go to all the training and matches. It’s a fantastic achievement that all three teams have won the ESSA Water Polo Championships this year.”
The last time the school won all three titles was in 2003 and the following year the teams successfully defended their titles. At the time of this triple win, old boy Ed Scott, who went on to play water polo for the UK in the London 2012 Olympics and captained the England water polo team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, was a member of the school’s teams. Fellow alumni from Ed Scott’s era include Ed Grundy, who played water polo for the Scottish side at the last Commonwealth Games, and Olympic water polo players Charles Booth, Andrew Crawford, Richard Lawlor and Rob Rae.
A number of current pupils could follow in their footsteps. On the under-18 team, four of the boys have joined national sporting programmes for their performance in water polo; six are members of GB Water Polo squads; and some have been selected to play for their country in international matches. Four players on the under-14 team are also on the England talent programme for water polo.