Day has dawned for battle for Vides glory

Youthful defending champions St Andrew’s to face stiff competition

Water polo action kicks into high gear on Friday as the 43rd annual Vides tournament gets under way at Selborne College and Hudson Park High school.
Twenty teams will be vying for honours, with some top talent from out of the province in Cape Town’s Reddam, Stellenbosch’s Paul Roos and Pretoria’s St Alban’s seen as big challengers for the title.
However, the local Eastern Cape trio of hosts Selborne, Grahamstown’s St Andrew’s College, and PE’s Grey High will be keen to keep the title in the province as they have over the past few years.
Selborne are the most successful team at the Vides, having claimed the title 20 times out of the 42 editions, the latest being in 2017 and 2015, and they will be keen to lift the trophy once again.
“We have quite a young side, but our performances have been going from strength to strength, so that is nice to see, and we are quietly confident for the weekend. But it is going to be a hard one,” said Selborne coach, Dale Heath.
“We have a nice mix and balance in the team, and I think we will be going game by game and take it from there. It is always a nice occasion for the boys playing at home, and they will be looking to step up.”
Their biggest challenge of the opening day will be a big clash with Reddam at 5.40pm at Selborne.
“We actually played them (Reddam) up in Grahamstown two weeks ago and we lost the first one 8-5 and the second on penalties, but it is definitely one we can aim to take, and hopefully it will help us finish high up in our pool,” said Heath.
Grey High School have, however, been tipped as one of the heavy favourites to take the title this year, and with their last Vides triumph coming in 2011 they will be hungry for success.
“I think the last few years we have come really close, had a few second place finishes, so we are hoping to make the final again and go all the way this time,” said Grey coach Luke Crawford.
“It is going to be very tricky once things get to the knockout stages. The quarters, semis and final will all be tough games, so hopefully we don’t have any mixups in our pool games and it gives us a favourable draw. But once it comes down to the business end it is going to get very tough.
“We have been in the semifinals and finals our last few tournaments, picking up a couple of seconds and a third, so we have been on a decent run and we will take that momentum into the Vides.”
Although they don’t have any massive games on the day, one to watch will be the derby between their counterparts from Bloemfontein at 1.40pm at Hudson.
St Andrew’s will head into the tournament as the defending champions and, although they have a young team, they will be eager to put in a strong showing and try to defend their title.
“We are definitely looking forward to the Vides. We have won it five times since 2010, so it is a tournament that we hold very close to our hearts and we work very hard for it every year,” said St Andrew’s coach, Graeme Lucas Bull.
“I think we are a very young side. We only have two matric boys in the team, with the rest in Grade 11 and 10, so it is going to be tough for us. But we have had some good preparation and some tough fixtures, so we are ready to rumble with the best of them this weekend.
“If we are consistent I think we can get to the semifinals, which is our goal. Anything over and above that is a bonus, and obviously the real bonus would be to bring back the trophy.”
St Andrew’s’ most interesting fixture on the first day looks to be the clash with Glenwood at 7am at Hudson.
Another big match for the day should be the meeting between St Albans and Paul Roos at Selborne at 1pm.
Both pools will see play from 7am until 7.40pm on the first day...

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