2008 Junior National Championships held at Loughborough University

Rochdale Mantas, under 16s team, competed in the National Finals in Loughborough in 2008 .

Twenty four teams from all over Great Britain took part in the competition.  The majority of the Mantas team were relatively new to the sport, with most having been playing for less than 12 months and some for only 3 months.   

They were initially seeded into a strong pool of teams for the first round of matches.

Their first game was against TSW (The South West),  it was a bit of a shock for the Mantas to be playing in a pool that was 2 metres deep with no shallow end and they struggled to get to the bottom of the pool at the correct time. TSW scored 3 in the first half but Rochdale got their act together in the second half and restricted them to just one more.  Final score 4-0

The second game was against Plymouth, winners of the competition 2 years ago. Rochdale conceded the first 2 goals but through good team work and fast breakaways George Wright and Charlotte Watson were able to score 2 goals before half time to level the score.  In the second half, the greater fitness of the Plymouth team wore down the Rochdale defence and they lost 7-2.

Their third game was against the Orkney Vikings, Orkney are a very strong well organised team, the score ended up at 8-0.  Not surprisingly, they went on to win every game in a similar fashion and took the trophy away to Orkney as National Champions.

The last game of the first round was against The South East (TSE).  Rochdale got off to a fast start and forced their opponents to defend constantly in the first half, Charlotte Watson getting the first goal with strong support from James Wright and Robert Scott.  The second half brought 2 more goals for George Wright and Natalie Morris to give the Mantas their first win 3-0.

In the second part of the competition, a further round robin was played.  Rochdale were warmed up now and were ready to put their training and stamina to the test.

Their next game was against the Orkney second team.  Orkney got a very quick first goal, but Rochdale replied with a hat-trick from George Wright to put Rochdale in front 3-1 at half time.  At the re-start, once again Orkney got a quick goal, but they didn’t see the Rochdale goal after that.  The Mantas went on to score 6 more goals, from Natalie Morris, Frazer Mottershead, Charlotte Watson, Anthony Platt and George Wright (2)  making the final score 9-2.

Pembroke were next, and this time it was Rochdale’s youngest player (and probably the youngest at the Championships) turn to get on the score sheet.  Zach Tait got 3 excellent goals to help Rochdale to an 8-3 victory, with others from James Wright (2), Anthony Platt, Elliott Mottershead and Robert Scott.

Their final game was against The South East (TSE) again.  Initially Rochdale took the lead, but then Natalie Morris, the Manta’s inspirational captain, got cramp and had to sub out of the pool for the first time in the competition.  Despite some stout defending, Rochdale conceded 2 goals to put them behind at half time.  In the second half Natalie was able to sub back in and the Rochdale defence were able to keep TSE pinned back in their own half.  The Rochdale attack wore down TSE and scored 4 times to give a final score of 5-2.  Goals from Charlotte Watson, George Wright, Zach Tait and Robert Scott.

In the final placings, Rochdale came a very creditable 7th.  This was an excellent result for a very inexperienced team, who will go on to better results in the coming years.