Exeter Water Polo

Exeter Waterpolo Ladies waterpolo team battled against the odds to reach promotion for the second consecutive season, and are now one of the eight top teams in the UK.

The ladies squad had a tough ask on their final weekend of the playoffs, coming top of their division (2) to come up against the bottom three teams from division one, as well as their rival div 2 teams.

After conceding two games at the second weekend in Sheffield against Division 1 teams Hucknall and Tyldesley, they had to win both games at the final tournament this weekend in Liverpool.

Saturday’s match against Division 1 side Caledonia the Exeter Ladies produced a solid 10-7 win, with goals from Amy Potter (3), Jasmin Coleman (3), Madeleine Crow, Jess Street, Nyah Tomlinson and Felicity Lamont-Tuckett.

With Hucknall and Tyldesley clear to return to the premier division, the final promotion rested on the Sunday game against second division arch-rivals Rotherham Metro.

With of the key players and joint top goal scorer Amy Potter unable to start due to an overnight sickness bug, the odds were stacked against Exeter as they went into the match. An early goal from Exeter’s Jess Street settled the nerves before she followed up with two more to give Exeter a comfortable margin. Rotherham responded with a goal before Street made the first-quarter result 4-1.  Some outstanding saves from Exeter’s goalkeeper Nina Rickards avoided two penalties, one of which resulted in the sending off of Jess Garrard with three major fouls. With the second quarter finishing on 6-3, Exeter were looking in a strong position but now missing 2 key players.  More superb defending kept the score tight in the third quarter, despite Rotherham drawing within a point but goals from Nyah Tomlinson and Izzy Baker (2) brought the score to 9-6 in the third quarter and four more goals sealed the victory and promotion to the top division with the final score of 13-8, scored by Jess Street (4), Izzy Baker (3), Nyah Tomlinson (2), Jasmin Coleman (2), Millie Raymond and Felicity Lamont-Tuckett. 

The ladies celebrated on the final whistle by throwing coach Kamz Powell into the pool.

The promotion will see Exeter playing against top teams from Liverpool, Manchester, London Otter, and Coventry, all of which have significantly larger catchment areas and funding.

Ladies coach Kamz Powell said to the team: “Thank you to every single one of our ladies team who has played any minutes over the last three years. We really couldn’t have done it without you.

“I’m so proud of how far you’ve all come both as a group and as individuals. Let’s build on this now with the new pool, make sure we’re training as much as possible both individually and as a team and make sure we put up a damn good fight in phase 1 next year,

“This is an incredible achievement for a small city club and we’re really grateful to our sponsors Taylor Wimpey, JHP Recruitment, Progressive Systems and Wyvern Swimwear for their ongoing support as well as Exeter City for giving us the training time in the new St Sidwell’s Pool. And huge thanks to Suzie and Simon Tomlinson for the coaching support and for organising hotels and everything else around our matches.”

Exeter City Council Leader Phil Bialyk welcomed the success of the team and their use of the city's new swimming pool. He said: "St Sidwell's Point is there for the community and it is great to hear of the success of Exeter Waterpolo Ladies team - this is a great achievement and I couldn't be more pleased."

The Ladies Team is Nina Rickards (captain, goalkeeper), Madeleine Crow, Jasmin Coleman, Cameron Davidson, Jess Garad, Millie Raymond, Amy Potter, Jess Street, Nyah Tomlinson, Isabel Baker, Felicity Lamont-Tuckett, Raewyn Newmarch, Lucy Chard-Maple. Kameron Powell (Coach), Suzie Tomlinson (team manager).

(Interview from Coach - Kameron Powell & Captain / Goalkeeper - Nina Rickards)

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