News & Events

The Tri-Nations of 2013 was a clear success for Welsh water polo, winning the competition for the first time in its four year history. This was also the biggest event organised for Welsh water polo in recent years with 4 teams travelling making a squad of 48 athletes and 13 staff. This year the competition was hosted by Scotland in Tollcross Glasgow, who did a fantastic job running the whole event.

This was the most competitive competition across the board ever since the competitions reformation in 2009.

Day 1 brought wins for the junior girls against Ireland, who won the competition last year. The Welsh girls took an early lead and held for the first half. However at the start of the third quarter they struggled with the international 5min half time break, letting Ireland back into the game tying at 8-8. However fitness showed in the final quarter with counter attack after counter attack which wore down the Irish defence creating a lead of 2 and the team holding this to the end, winning 10-8.

The second team to compete was the senior women, already the squad had suffered a loss due to captain Rachel Roberts collecting an injury, requiring a third junior Lowri Hancock to step up and play three games in one day, a big ask for any player. The ladies started steadily creating good chances but couldn't convert in the first, finishing 1-0 down. However the second quarter saw the team rally lead by Jen Myo, bringing the score level at 2-2 with some strong defence from Leah Clark. However in the second half Scotland started to show their fitness, and the goals started to come, dropping 2 goals in the quarter, which repeated in the 4th meaning the Welsh ladies finished 10-6 down. It was a learning curve for a very new team with only one match under their belt. Rhiannon Griffiths, the junior keeper held the back line well having played 8 quarters straight through.

The Junior men were the next team to compete, Wales got off to a shaky start with Captain Ryan Jones getting 2 early exclusions, followed by a refereeing blunder when Ryan was accused of a third exclusion foul and dismissed for the rest of the match with only 4 minutes played. At the end of the quarter Scotland led 5 - 4. The second quarter was an even affair with 1 goal scored by each team. The 3rd quarter was also an even affair with Scotland taking the lead in the early part of the quarter and the Welsh lads coming back to even the quarter at 4 goals apiece. Wales then followed the initiative of the last part of the third quarter and Scotland's fitness was not as good as the Welsh teams with Wales winning the final quarter by 8 goals to 2. The final score a win to Wales by 17 goals to 12. Carmarthen's Lewis Jones was the Welsh player of the match, he went on to win the tournament junior men's MVP award before he joined the senior men's team.

The second game for the senior women was tough. With Ireland unable to field a senior team GB U17's were invited to join the competition as final preparation before the European Championships, they leave within 5 days of the competition. The ladies found their fitness was the issue, struggling to compete with the reaction speed and counter attack of a GB team at full strength. The score was 29-5 in the end however the ladies got a clear image of exactly what was required ahead of the Commonwealths. There was a clear improvement in some areas for the ladies, however it was a game where weaknesses were preyed on by an experienced match fit team.

Day 2 was the day for the big matches, with both men's games, and the match to win for both the junior teams. With the senior ladies having lost to Scotland, we were relying on the junior teams and senior men for our chance to win the competition and fortunately they delivered!

The second match for the junior men was against Ireland. An early morning start has always provided a problem for this team and it was in the first quarter Ireland took the lead, scoring 3 goals without reply. The Welsh lads started to get their heads together in the second quarter and the teams scored 2 goals each. The third quarter saw the Welsh come back at Ireland with goals from Oliver Ford and Lewis Jones with only 1 from Ireland.

Ireland, going into the last quarter had just a 2 goal lead. Things were looking hopeful for the Welsh team until less than 1 minute into the quarter when Sam Gray saw the referee's red card, and was dismissed from the match for a brutality foul on an Irish player. This resulted in the Welsh being a man down for 4 minutes. This should have been a goal festival for the Irish but a change of tactics by the Welsh lads, along with some very good defending and saves from Goalkeeper Peter Mayne prevented a large win for Ireland. The quarter ended up with each team scoring 2 goals, leaving the final score 8 - 6 to Ireland.

Then the figure head team dived into the pitch, the Welsh senior men. This was the senior men's second international tournament of the year having competed at late notice in the Six nations tournament in Switzerland, however with limited other game practice, and some significant changes to the squad, it was another start for the team against Ireland. The first quarter's performance was confident, whilst control and composure was evident the final pass, or shot was missing, meaning that the quarter ended 0 - 2 with the Irish team picking up 2 loose goals. The intent of the second quarter was to continue with the good work from the first, with an improvement in finishing, which duly arrived, with the Wales team taking the lead 4 - 2, this was pegged back to 4 - 3 at half time.

The third quarter followed a similar pattern to the second, with the Wales team delivering a good 5 minute spell, meaning a 9 - 6 lead at the end of the quarter. A more experienced side would have ensured this lead was held and meant a comfortable win, however a lack of experience meant that the young Wales team, which includes 3 players 18 or under, squandered the lead, meaning with 1 minute to go, the scores were tied at  9 - 9. Wales earned a man up, and whilst the Irish defence meant a change in the script, Lewis Jones the team's youngest player took the responsibility and scored with 16.6 seconds left. A good final defence ensured this score was held meaning a first Wales win under the new Senior Program.

The second game for the junior women was a new Scotland side, clearly improved from last year, having drawn with Ireland on day 1, with a strong attacking structure through both Centre forward and outside shooting. The Wales team had only ever competed at this level once before and never having a chance to win there was a lot of nerves! However the team continued to play in their structure, Captain Laura Hatcher delivering attacking options from the left lead by Rhiannon Foulds and the right lead by Lowri Hancock with a strong centre back performance from Gina Lay and Emily Smith that ensured Scottish attacks were held in check.

This lead to a game where both teams held the lead at points in the match, however again the final quarter showed Welsh supremacy carving a tight game into a finishing score of 13-9 and a convincing result. To add to this Lowri Hancock of Welsh Wanderers and now Swansea water polo was awarded junior girls MVP and top goal scorer!

The second men's senior game was against the hosts, who remarkably had the benefit of a preferential draw - having played their first game more than 24 hours earlier. With the Wales team playing their second game in 4 hours it was going to be a tough ask for the team, especially as the Scots had also beaten the Irish, 8-6. However confidence was high from the morning's match with the belief in the systems, and the team's performance evident. Wales took an early 2 goal lead, but this was as big as it got, the Scots kept within touching distance and at points drawing level thanks to the help from their Coach, former Wales player and coach Rhys Tamlyn. However the confidence now exuding from the players ensured that control was still maintained, and the Scots were not able to break the defence, even when they did they were met by the excellent Sam Legge (Goalkeeper) who was in fine form as he was at the Six Nations.

The young team's confidence was tested yet again when with less than 3 minutes of the final quarter gone Dan Laxton Wales' key centre forward collected his third major (and would have to sit out the remainder of the game) whilst only 1 goal up. Step forward the team with players taking responsibility for organisation, communication and defence. With nerves beginning to show on the bench, and time management key, Wales achieved a turnover, and a 2 on 1 counter attack which led the unselfish Chris Taylor to pass to the unmarked Dan Jones with an open goal - Wales led 11 - 9. However the Scots were not done, but again, the Wales team organised themselves, knowing time was in their favour, the Scots scored with 6 second left. With Wales taking the throw off, and the team spread out, Scotland could not lay a hand on the ball, and Wales won 11 - 10.

Thanks to two teams coming first, senior men coached by Ceri Fenner and Junior women coached by Rohan Monico as well as second from the junior men coached by John Evans meant Wales took the Tri-Nations trophy, with Ireland second and Scotland 3rd.