DEVONPORT Royal’s under-15 boys’ water polo team narrowly missed out on becoming national champions at the weekend in Sunderland.
Devonport reached their first Swim England National Age Group final where they agonisingly lost 8-7 to Sedgefield after missing a penalty in the dying seconds of the game.
The final at the Sunderland Aquatics Centre was a thrilling contest and there was little between the two teams.
At half-time it was all-square at 4-4. Then after going three goals down, Devonport pulled it back to 7-7.
Sedgefield just got a head, but Devonport refused to give up and pressed hard in the closing stages. With just seconds left they forced a penalty, but heartbreakingly the ball re-bounded off the crossbar.
Devonport, though, were proud of their performances in Sunderland and thrilled to make the national final.
Devonport’s Reuben Powell was also the top scorer in the competition and named most valuable player as his team took the silver medal.
After a nine-hour trip on Friday, Devonport opened their tournament with a 16-1 over the City of Chester. That was then followed up with an 8-1 victory over City of Manchester, which meant the Life Centre-based team topped Group B.
In the semi-final they met last year’s runners-up and Group A winners Watford. It proved to be a classic semi, which Devonport won 10-9.
Watford had been 6-3 up at half-time and Devonport were then 7-4 down late in the game before they produced an impressive comeback. After pulling it back to 9-9 and with just eight seconds to go, Devonport made a great save and launched a quick counterattack that resulted in a penalty that Powell calmly scored.
Devonport’s squad: Adam Greep, Austin Crow, Charlie Simon, George Barnicle, Izaac King, James Coleman, Jasper Wilkes, Mason Bierton, Max Williams, Reuben Powell, Sebastien Henderson, Seth Harvey.