One of the two Warrender water polo teams — playing as Warrender Gold — took first place in the under 15 Scottish Championship beating Dunfermline 6-2 in the final.
Hosts Stirling placed third while the other participating clubs were Edinburgh trio Portobello, Stingrays and Warrender Platinum as well as Aberdeen, Menzieshill and Western.
With only 30 seconds left it was 4-2 until the game’s high scorer Ben Maclean scored two of his four goals to put the trophy firmly into Warrender’s hands.
Warrender Gold coach Andrew Jessiman said: “This team was so easy to coach. They played with an intelligence and attitude far beyond their years and the Championship is a tribute to everyone putting their all into playing as a team.”
Warrender Gold players took a couple of prestigious individual prizes; Andrey Teplechuk was named Most Valuable Player while Zach Johnston was Best Goalkeeper.
Captain Teplechuk was at the heart of a strong defence also featuring Bram Stenhouse and Frankie Vere. They helped restrict opponents to a mere four goals in five matches.
Andrey said: “This was my final tournament in the under 15s category, in which I have played for three years. This is the first time we have come away as champions, so it was particularly special for me, as captain in my final tournament. To be voted “most valuable player” is very flattering, but to me water polo is a team game and my pride in this victory is reserved for our whole team, and our coach!“
Zach Johnstone added: “It was a really great tournament, I was a bit nervous about the competition as there are so many good teams but our’s played really well; the defence was just perfect and it was great fun. I’m very proud to win top goalkeeper, (as) it’s a great achievement and I was very happy to take that trophy home.”
Another Warrender Gold team member, Wilf Braban, summed up: “The cup final was a tough game until we started scoring more goals. That gave us more confidence and it was two very good teams. The win was a big one and I felt great after I realised we had won.”
A glowing accolade came from Neal Rayner, tournament director who said: “These were the best and most exciting Water Polo Championships I’ve ever seen in Scotland. All the players and coaches should be immensely proud of their performances.”
- As we reported several weeks ago Warrender girls took their under-15 title in a penalty shoot-out with Dunfermline so it was a notable double for the capital water polo club.
- The Scottish under-14 water polo development squad for 2024 has been named and includes the following locally based players – Fraser Bailey, Charlie Carver, Jakub Lisicki, Matthew Sinclair (all Portobello), Reuben Corson, Murray Simpson, Andrew Sligo (all Stingrays), Cairn Lake and Matthew Cox (Warrender).