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Clifton favourites to be crowned champions of the KZN Top 10 tournament

By Theo Garrun , in Water Sports | News , at 2023-10-12

The Clifton Aquatic Centre hosts the KZN Top 10 Water Polo tournament from Friday, with the hosts the favourites to annex the title in their own pool.

The outcome, though, is far from a foregone conclusion with many of the country’s top teams in action.

During the holidays, Hilton College, Kearsney College and Westville Boys’ High showed they could compete with the best during the Clifton Water Polo Tournament.

Clifton finished third, defeating Hilton 9-5 in the playoff for third and fourth, and then repeated their victory over Hilton to place third at the Hussar Grill SACS Water Polo Tournament, this time by a 4-2 margin.

SACS won their home tournament, suffering only one defeat, but that loss was to Clifton, who won 4-2 in pool play. In the semi-finals, Clifton had SACS in big trouble, leading 3-1 in their showdown, but a slow start to the second half cost the Durban school the game, eventually going down 4-5.

They are a formidable side, however, and played some exceptionally good water polo during the two events. They’re a team without weaknesses and will be difficult to stop, especially at home.

In Cape Town, Bishops finished second in their pool behind the champions, SACS, after posting seven wins and a draw in nine games in Pool B, but Hilton outplayed them 3-1 to reach the semi-finals. That’s an indication of the potential of the school from the Midlands.

Westville, meanwhile, were super-competitive, but exceptionally unlucky at the Clifton Water Polo Tournament.

They went down 9-10 to SACS, ranked number one in the country, and also lost by a single goal, 6-7, to Saint John’s College, the defending champions, and the winners of eight out of nine of their pool games in Cape Town. Against Paul Roos, the runners-up in both tournaments, Westville lost 7-8.

A break here or there and Westville would have been playing for much higher honours than seventh.

Kearsney, with a young team, finished sixth in the Clifton tournament. They, too, fell by only a single goal to Paul Roos, 7-8, and in Cape Town their results included a 5-6 loss to SACS. They’re going to be a tough out for any opponent.

Northwood, who were the fourth school from KZN in action at the SACS tournament, were somewhat inconsistent, but certainly belonged in the elite company. The question they’ll have to answer is whether or not they can raise their game the rung or two needed against the other top teams.

Michaelhouse were very underdone at the Clifton Water Polo Tournament, so one should expect significant improvement from the Balgowan boys this time around, while Glenwood, despite taking home the wooden spoon, had Jesse Venter named the Best Goalkeeper of the Clifton tournament. A top net-minder can have a massive impact on results, so Glenwood cannot be taken for granted.

DHS, in the Clifton tournament, were a little like Northwood were in the SACS Tournament. They produced some good water polo without setting the world alight. One doesn’t see them winning the Top 10, but they could definitely cause an upset or two along the way.

Maritzburg College, too, produced some good passages of play at the Clifton tournament, but they’re also a step or two off the pace at present.

The Invitation team brings an unknown into the tournament. The biggest challenge they will have is being able to gel against sides that have built up considerable experience together.

The Pools:

Pool A: Clifton, Northwood, Kearsney College, Michaelhouse, Invitation.

Pool B: Glenwood, Hilton College, Durban High School, Maritzburg College, Westville Boys’ High.

The Fixtures:

Friday, 13 October 2023

14:00 – Westville Boys’ High vs DHS B; 14:45 – Kearsney College vs Invitation A; 15:30 – Clifton vs Northwood A; 16:15 – Westville Boys’ High vs Maritzburg College B; 17:00 – Northwood vs Invitation A; 17:45 – Hilton College vs Glenwood B.

Saturday, 14 October 2023

08:00 – Northwood vs Michaelhouse A; 08:45 – Clifton vs Invitation A; 09:30 – Maritzburg College vs Glenwood B; 10:15 – Hilton College vs DHS B; 11:00 – Clifton vs Kearsney College A; 11:45 – Invitation vs Michaelhouse A; 12:30 – Westville Boys’ High vs Glenwood B; 13:15 – Hilton College vs Maritzburg College B; 14:00 – Kearsney College vs Northwood A; 14:45 – Clifton vs Michaelhouse A; 15:30 – Westville Boys’ High vs Hilton College B; 16:15 – Maritzburg College vs DHS B; 17:00 – Kearsney College vs Michaelhouse A; 17:45 – DHS vs Glenwood B.

Sunday, 15 October 2023

08:00 – 2B vs 3A; 08:50 – 2A vs 3B; 09:40 – 4A vs 5B; 10:30 – 4B vs 5A; 11:20 – 1A vs Winner 21 semi; 12:10 – 1B vs Winner 22 semi; 13:00 – Loser 23 vs Loser 24 9th/10th; 13:45 – Winner 23 vs Winner 24 7th/8th; 14:30 – Loser 21 vs Loser 22 5th/6th; 15:15 – Loser 25 vs Loser 26 3rd/4th; 16:00 – Winner 25 vs Winner 26 1st/2nd.

error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.