Written by: Laurel Oettle
A very successful Kwa-Zulu Natal inter-schools Canoe Polo tournament was hosted at the increasingly popular venue of Shongweni Dam on Saturday 6th September. A record 21 teams competed for the titles of Senior Boys (under 18), Junior Boys (under 15) and Girls champions. Encouragingly, seven of these teams were development teams consisting of previously disadvantages players, many of whom are canoeists but were new to the sport of Canoe Polo.
Michaelhouse is reaping the benefits of having their own pitch and boats at their school, and dominated the Senior Boys division, with a convincing 4-0 win over defending champions Maritzburg College, who had to settle for second place. College beat a fairly inexperienced Hilton team 3 – 0 in the final rounds, leaving Hilton in third position. In the Junior Boys division, Michaelhouse D controlled the final convincingly, but only managed a 2-0 win over College B after missing a number of goal opportunities.
The Girls division was the most closely-contested of the three. In the first game of the day, St John’s and Wykeham drew 1-1. Epworth turned on the pressure by securing a 3-0 win over St John’s, which meant that in order for Wykeham to secure a top spot, they had to beat Epworth. Wykeham reaped the benefit of having the majority of the KZN U21 girl’s players from this year’s national championships, securing a 2-0 win over Epworth to take the title. The intensity of the girl’s games impressed the spectators, and drew many surprised comments from the boy’s teams present.
There were many great performances and exciting games, and a great deal of fun, which is very promising for the future of South African Canoe Polo.