Hero photograph
Team meeting
Photo by Kate Twist

Water Polo Nationals

Vicki Jopson —

The tournament was held in Hamilton and Cambridge with the games in Cambridge being held in St. Peter’s College's outdoor pool. This was a first for the majority of the players.

We started our round robin games with a encouraging 6-4 win against Palmerston North Boys’ Premier B. Gabe Cook-Bonney scored four of those points and Isaac Jamieson led the steals with four in total. It was a great way to start the tournament.

Day two against Scots College ended with a solid win, 13 - 8 to King’s. Gabe and Kale Twist scored six and five goals respectively with some great assists by the perimeter players. The team continued its strong defensive play with 11 steals throughout the game.

The second game of the day was against Auckland Grammar where Mitchell Wheeler had a strong defensive game with nine steals and the team won 10 - 2.

These results put King’s in the top eight and they were to face Rosmini College in the quarter finals on day three. This was in the outdoor pool and we were grateful to have a cloudy day so the glare was not a factor. The key was to keep the bench players warm. It was clear that Rosmini College had us in their sites. King’s started off strong with three quick goals in the first quarter. The second quarter saw Rosmini College come back with two goals and the half ended 4 - 3 to King’s. During the third quarter, the opposition seemed to rally together and worked to double and triple team Gabe and Kale both. At the end of the third quarter it was tied up five all. King’s stayed level headed and played well as a team. Overall, they played a good defensive game with 11 steals and won the game 7 - 5. This placed them in the top four and they moved on to play Christchurch Boys’ High School in the semi-finals. They were the only other South Island Boys team in the competition and King’s had been waiting to face them since the SISS Tournament.

Christchurch Boys' High School came out firing with four quick goals to King’s one. At half time the score was 4 5 5 to Christchurch Boys' High School. Gabe and Kale were able to score but were often triple teamed which meant King’s perimeter players had to shoot. Clearly, Christchurch Boys' High School under-estimated these players and James Schollum was able to put in three goals from the left. This put King’s tied with 35 seconds on the clock. King’s held defensively but Christchurch Boys' High School managed a sneaky goal with 13 seconds left. Troy called a timeout and the boys were set. The pass went into Kale but a 50/50 call did not go our way and the game ended with King’s losing by one.

Day four was the Bronze medal match against John Paul College. This was a team that was mostly Year 12 and 13 players who had been playing together for several years and this was very apparent. Despite a strong defensive effort by Daniel Wheeler and some good shooting from Kale, the team went down.

Overall, it was a great result. A big thank you goes out to all the families who are extremely supportive of their sons. Thanks also Kate, Tony and Aimee Twist for the photos and their fan support. It was also great to have Greg Menzies at a couple of the games.

Thanks to The Southern Trust, Bendigo Valley Foundation and the School Council for their financial support. Without it, attendance at the tournament would not have been possible.

Lastly, thanks to Troy McGuinness for your coaching and mentoring of our young men. We are very appreciative of your time and expertise.