Historic Results for College Water Polo

April 28, 2016 at 9:39 AM

Summer tournament week has been extremely successful for the College water polo programme! Both of the Premier teams finished in the top two of their respective national tournaments, with the boys’ team securing the best result in the history of the College. Having already placed fourth in the Auckland competition and third in the North Island Championships, the Premier Boys travelled to Wellington to take on the 15 other top teams in New Zealand. The first day saw decisive victories over Green Bay (13-8) and Westlake Boys’ High (13-6). Day two opened with a 12-9 win over Sacred Heart B which qualified them for first place in their pool. In the top eight crossover matches, the boys lost 5-8 to defending champions Auckland Grammar before edging past Mt Maunganui 5-4 to make the top four. The 2014 title winners, Sacred Heart proved a tough opponent in the semi-final, but our boys started strong and took a 1-0 lead in the first quarter. At half-time Sacred Heart was in front 3-2 before the boys retook the lead 5-4 at the end of the third. Eventually the boys won 6-5, putting the College into its first ever final, an all-Auckland encounter against Rangitoto.

The final remained close throughout with a 1-1 scoreline at the end of the first quarter, 4-2 at halftime and 6-4 at the end of the third quarter in favour of Saint Kentigern. The fourth quarter proved to be very tough and Rangitoto equalised with a minute left on the clock before taking the lead thirty seconds later after a few closely missed chances by our boys. The boys were extremely tired after their intensive efforts this weekend, but happy to come away with second place. To top it off, Dominic Rankin-Chitar was named in the all-tournament team and awarded Most Valuable Player of the tournament. The fantastic result caps off a breakout season for the boys and marks a rapid rise over the last five years, from finishing in the bottom eight at nationals, to sixth in 2015 and now New Zealand runners-up!

The girls had an inauspicious start to their campaign in the Division 2 competition in Hamilton, losing the opening match 4-10 to Hamilton Girls’ High. They bounced back with three straight victories over Carmel B, John Paul College and Takapuna Grammar, all by comfortable margins. The final pool match was a thrilling 10-10 draw with Mt Maunganui B, which placed them second in Pool B and booked a spot in the semi-finals. The semi-final was another tense affair against the winners of Pool A, with the girls narrowly prevailing 5-4 over Diocesan B. This set up a rematch against the only team the girls had lost to, Hamilton Girls’, to decide the tournament champions. Hamilton Girls’ had remained unbeaten throughout their six matches going into the final, however, Saint Kentigern reversed the earlier result between the two teams, winning the final 7-6! Abbey Keyte and Christina Middlebeek-Harrison were named among the five most outstanding players HHof the tournament!

Congratulations to both teams on their excellent results and to Dominic, Abbey and Christina for their individual accolades!

2016 Premier Boys’ Water Polo team: Alex McNaught, Alex McDonald, Ben Fleming, Ryan McEwen, Dominic Rankin-Chitar, Ben Benedict, Billy Simpson, James Gordon, Ben Sterritt, Sam Keyte, Matt Stirling, Byron Kingan.

2016 Premier Girls’ Water Polo team: Gabby MacDonald, Alex Gordon, Sophie Clarkson, Simone Nightingale, Christina Middlebeek-Harrision, Abbey Keyte, Maija Spence, Courtney Griffiths, Chelsea Simmons, Rosie Corson, Amber Carmichael-Lowe, Ella McEwen. 

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