Border to show their best side
Top national talent to challenge for SA Schools water polo honours in EL
The South African Schools water polo tournament officially gets down to business Thursday, with thrilling schools action on the cards over the next five days.
Hosts Border will be welcoming eight other provinces, namely Boland, Central Gauteng, Eastern Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Nelson Mandela Bay, Northern Tigers, Eden District and Western Province, along with an international flavour in Zimbabwe to battle it out for top honours.
In total 126 teams across the age divisions of U13, U14, U15, U16 and U19 girls and boys will be in action from Thursday until next week Monday.
On the local side, high hopes have been placed on the Border U19 girls team to hopefully come away with a medal.
“We actually had a pre-tournament for us this past weekend. I got them into the USSA (SA universities) tournament as an invitational side and we had some good results there, including a fantastic 8-7 win over UCT,” said coach Carly Wessels.
“It was a good learning experience, so going forward into the IPT tournament that was the best exposure and pre-tournament training we could have had.
“Everyone is healthy and ready, including our managerial staff of Zandre Smit as assistant coach and Jess Faulds, who is my manager, and we are all excited and ready.”
Last year’s team managed to finish runner-up at the nationals, but Wessels does not want to place that kind of pressure on this year’s group as it is a different team.
“This year’s team is very different from last year’s team, but we know that there is always going to be certain expectations placed on us,” said Wessels.
“This particular group of girls, they have not been able to medal since their Grade 7 year in the previous age groups, so it has been a while, but I am actually very confident with them and believe we can pick up some good results and obviously a medal would be great.
“But we are going to take it game by game and see how it goes. We aren’t placing any high expectations on the team. We just want them to play good water polo and keep improving and see what the end outcome is from there.
“We have quite a tough pool that we need to try and get out of. We will play Western Province A and Gauteng A, which should be really good games, and have Zimbabwe to watch out for. So we will just take it as it comes, as it is going to be quite tough.”
The Border U19 boys team, coached by Dale Heath, will also be hoping to make some waves at their home tournament.
“They have a really tough pool with Western Province and KZN Coastal, so those are big games for the guys, while the other three teams we are confident we can beat them,” said team manager Erin Sims.
“We have a final session at Selborne College (on Wednesday). I am sure Dale wants to go over a final few things to make sure the guys are fully ready.”
The tournament kicks off with the opening ceremony at the Joan Harrison at 3.30pm on Thursday afternoon, before games start at 5pm at the Joan and at Hudson Park High School.
The main bulk of action gets under way on Friday morning at all the other venues that include Selborne College, Clarendon High, Port Rex and Merrifield.
A schools water polo SA (SWPSA) app has been made, so people can keep up to date with the action on it, or at www.mycomlink.co.za, which will also have all of the results...