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Currie Cup| Boys| Province and KZN set the pace on day one

By Avuyile Sawula , in Water Sports | Featured Water Sports | News , at 2024-03-14 Tags: ,

Western Province's Zack Cicero in action for the Western Province u18 side during the opening day of the Junior Championships in East London. Picture credits: Shot by Shani Photography
Zack Cicero in action for the Western Province u18 side on the opening day of the SA Junior Water Polo Championships in East London. Photo: Shot by Shani Photography

The highly anticipated South African Junior Water Polo Championships got off to an exhilarating start in East London on Thursday with a number of teams asserting themselves and building early momentum ahead of a busy weekend in the Joan Harrison Swimming Pool.

Overnight rain freshened the water and, as the day progressed, the sun came out to play, making for perfect conditions for water polo.

The teams expected to stand out duly delivered as Western Province, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), and Central Gauteng dominated proceedings.

It was Province, and coach Rob Ambler’s KZN side, though, that grabbed the spotlight, with both units recording three wins apiece.

Coach Jabulani Sibiya‘s Western Province team, the tournament favourites, started their campaign with a 15-5 win over the Northern Tigers. In their second encounter, they overran Nelson Mandela Bay 23-8, with Arkin Marais, Thomas Truter, and Connor-Melling Williams scoring hattricks. Then, they outplayed Buffalo City 18-4, with Jandro Rojo-Ross netting four times.

KZN, on the other hand, were made to work hard to maintain their unbeaten record.

After edging out the hosts, Buffalo City, 14-11, in their opener, they took on Central Gauteng in what was arguably the match of the day, before outscoring Nelson Mandela Bay 18-11 in their last outing.

Against Central Gauteng, KZN trailed early on but managed to stay close, with very little to separate the sides through the first two chukkas.

KZN’s Meyer Malherbe and Oliver Ditz were ruthless in front of goal and made telling contributions for their team at critical points during contest.

Trailing 6-7 heading into the final chukka, after goals for Gauteng by Ross Rovelli, Greg Pryce, and Ross Stuart, Ambler’s troops changed the complexion of the contest by attacking with grit and determination, and capitalising on their opportunities.

Goals by Malherbe, Ditz, James Pohl and Luca Sandri eventually led to a convincing victory.

The KZN Currie Cup side at the Junior Championships in East London. Picture credits: Shot by Shani Photography
The KZN Currie Cup side at the Junior Championships in East London. Photo: Shot by Shani Photography

Gauteng, on the other hand, will rue their missed opportunities, but they have two opportunities to book a spot in the semi-finals on Friday.

After winning their third match against the Northern Tigers by a 21-4 margin, coach Jon-Marc de Carvalho’s charges take on Buffalo City and Western Province on Friday. A win in either match would be enough to secure a place in the top four.

In other matches on Thursday, Buffalo City won against the Northern Tigers to boost their chances of making the semis.

Their day two clash against Nelson Mandela Bay, on Friday at 14:00,, could determine which team joins KZN, Province and, likely, Central Gauteng in the battle for top honours.

Both Eastern Cape outfits will be eager to impress in their home province after a rough opening day. Buffalo City’s results included an 18-4 loss to Province, while NMB went winless in their three matches.

Meanwhile, day two will not be any kinder to the Northern Tigers. They face a confident KZN side at 13:00.

Friday’s action begins at 07:00 with a clash of the tournament’s two unbeaten teams, KZN and Western Province.

ALL the action will be LIVE on the SuperSport Schools App, and DSTV Channel 216.


Western Province (9) 15: Thomas Truter (x5), Nicholas Fall (x5), Arkin Marais, Ross Stewart, Zack Cicero, Connor Melling-Williams, Sebastian Kastern. Northern Tigers (4) 5: Kieron Potgieter, Criston Richter (x2), Adriaan Erasmus Vam Niekerk, Alexandre Kendrick Kelbrick.

Central Gauteng (6) 12: Greg Pryce (x2), Ross Rovelli, Marc Smith (x2), Zico Williams, Jack Wilkins (x2), Mark Hudson, Declan Wood, Karabo Mamaregane (x2). Nelson Mandela Bay (0) 3: Zandre Botha, Camden Christian, Luke Lightening.

KwaZulu-Natal (10) 14:  Luca Sandri (x3), James Pohl (x3), Tristan Uys (x3), Meyer Malherbe, Ethan Lyne (x2), Rhees Hall, Matthew Lortan. Buffalo City (6) 11: Liam Hansen (x2), Caleb Moon (x3), Kairon Roux (x3), Eythan Assem, Connor Maree (x3).

Nelson Mandela Bay (5) 8: Nicholas Franklin (4), Daylan van Niekerk, Zabdre Botha (x2), Calum Emslie. Western Province (12) 23: Ross Stewart (x3), Adam October (x2), Thomas Truter (x7), Matthew de Villiers, Arkin Marais (x4), Salahuddin Khan, Connor-Melling Williams (x3), Nicholas Fall, Zack Cicero.

Buffalo City 16: Caleb Moon, Liam Hansen (x4), Kairon Roux (x2), Thomas Caswell (x5), Armand van Rooyen, Connor Maree (x3). Northern Tigers 14: Julian Olivier (x2), Ben Melville (x7), Alexander Kelbrick (x5).

KwaZulu-Natal 12: Meyer Malherbe (x5), Luca Sandri, Oliver Ditz (x4), Max Scully, Kirk Wilson. Central Gauteng 8: Ross Rovelli (x2), Greg Pryce (x2), Ross Stuart (x2), Nicholas Searle, Karabo Mamaregane.

Western Province 18:  Jandro Rojo-Ross (x4), Nicholas Fall (x2), Adam October, Connor-Melling Williams (x2), Thomas Truter (x4), Sebastian Kastern (x2), Arkin Marais (x2), Ross Stewart. Buffalo City 4: Kairon Roux (x3), Eythan Assam.

 Nelson Mandela Bay 10: Luke Lightening, Coel Trollip, Calum Emslie (x2), Nicholas Franklin (x4), Raoul Eia (x2). KwaZulu-Natal 18: Luca Sandri (x2), Kirk Wilson, Rhees Hall (x3), Tristan Hall, James Pohl (x2), Max Scully (x4), Oliver Ditz (x2), Meyer Malherbe (x3).

 Northern Tigers 6: Alexander Kelbrick (x2), Ben Melville (x4). Central Gauteng 21: Ross Rovelli (x4), Nicholas Searle (x2), Greg Pryce (x2), Jack Wilkins (x4), Ross Stuart (x2), Zico Williams (x3), Karabo Mamaregane (x2), Mark Hudson (x2).

Day 2

Friday, 15 March 2024

07:00 – KwaZulu-Natal vs Western Province; 08:00 – Central Gauteng vs Buffalo City; 09:00 – Northern Tigers vs Nelson Mandela Bay; 12:00 – Western Province vs Central Gauteng; 13:00 – Northern Tigers vs KwaZulu-Natal; 14:00 – Buffalo City vs Nelson Mandela Bay; 16:00 – Semi-final 1; 17:00 – Semi-final 2.

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