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Currie Cup| Gauteng sides chase history in East London

By Avuyile Sawula , in Water Sports | Featured Water Sports | News , at 2024-03-15 Tags: , , , , ,

The Gauteng Boys and Girls u18 teams after making it through to the finals of the Currie Cup in East London
The Gauteng Boys and Girls u18 teams after making it through to the finals of the Currie Cup in East London. Photo: Joo-dee Photographs

The Central Gauteng boys and girls u18 teams will be on the hunt for silverware when they contest their respective finals at the South African Junior Water Polo Championships, taking place at the Joan Harrison Swimming Pool, in East London, on Saturday.

The Gauteng boys will face KwaZulu-Natal, and the girls will tackle Western Province, with the girls’ final scheduled for 10:00, and the boys’ for 11:00.

On the road to the title-deciders, both teams faced tough challenges, but they demonstrated grit, determination, and skill to earn themselves places in Saturday’s showpiece contests.

The boys’ side, led by head coach, Jon-Marc de Carvalho, suffered two defeats in the round-robin stages, to Western Province (4-5), and KwaZulu-Natal (8-12) respectively.

However, De Carvalho’s side reversed their fortunes in the semi-finals, when it mattered most, against Province, putting on arguably their best performance of the event.

After a slow start, Gauteng rushed into a 5-2 lead at half-time, courtesy of a brace by Nicholas Searle, and solitary goals from Marc Smith, Ross Rovelli, and the energetic Zico Williams.

Keeping their lead in the second half was going to be a challenging task for Gauteng, with the talent-laden Province lineup coming at them hard in an attempt to get themselves back into the match.

At crucial times, Gauteng were saved by their shot-stopper, Judah Dos Santos, who came alive in the second half to pull off important saves and keep his side in the lead.

Rovelli added two more goals to his tally to bag a hattrick, while Sebastian Bruinders and Greg Pryce also got in on the goal-scoring action, to leave Province out of ideas and out of the final.

Nicholas Fall and Ross Stewart both had golden opportunities late in the contest to pull Province closer to Gauteng, but their shots hit the crossbar.

Gauteng held their nerve for the win and will face a motivated KwaZulu-Natal side in the final.

KZN u18 boys team after making it through to the final of the Currie Cup in East London. Picture: Shot by Shani Photography
KZN u18 boys team after making it through to the final of the Currie Cup in East London. Picture: Shot by Shani Photography

Coach Rob Ambler‘s KZN team is confident and playing their best water polo. They took down Province in the first match of day two and then brushed aside the Northern Tigers, before easing past the hosts, Buffalo City, in the semi-finals.

In other boys matches, Buffalo City won the Eastern Cape derby, defeating Nelson Mandela Bay, while the Northern Tigers, despite losing, showed grit against KZN, with their skipper, Benjamin Melville, Alexander Kelbrick, and Julian Olivier, putting on a show for the East London crowd.

Much like their male counterparts, the Gauteng girls’ side, had to dig deep throughout the event to secure a spot in the showdown for silverware.

They were in prolific form on Friday, crushing Buffalo City 25-5 in a surprisingly one-sided contest, with Gina Sguazzin, Mia Loizides, Amy Smith, Julia Joseph, and Ruby Carlson all picking up hattricks.

Coach Kelsey Thomson’s side wasn’t done, however, and they stuck a further 15 goals past KwaZulu-Natal, to set up a date with Nelson Mandela Bay in the second semi-final.

With a place in the final on the line, they were ruthless, bossing proceedings despite NMB showing character and taking it to the Gauteng side.

In the end, Gauteng won by eight goals, triumphing 14-6, with hattricks from Emma Pelicot and Ruby Carlson, and a brace from Mia Loizides.

The final against Province will be their toughest challenge of the week. On the opening day, they were well beaten by the Capetonians, going down 6-12. However, Gauteng will be confident because in the Schools Water Polo South Africa Inter-Provincials, in December last year they beat the same opponents 12-10 in the final.

Nelson Mandela Bay will contest the third/fourth play-off with Jason Sileno’s KZN side, while in the boy’s section, it will be Western Province looking to finish on a high when they face the hosts, Buffalo City, for third place.

Day 3

Girls’ fixtures

08:00– 3rd/4th play-off; 10:00– FINAL.

Boys’ fixtures

09:00– 3rd/4th play-off; 11:00– FINAL

Day 2 scores

Western Province 8 (3): Arkin Marais (x2), Zack Cicero, Connor-Melling Williams, Salahuddin Khan, Ross Stewart, Adam October, Nicholas Fall. KwaZulu-Natal 8 (4): Tristan Uys (x3), James Pohl (x2), Oliver Ditz, Kirk Wilson, Luca Sandri,

Buffalo City 6: Liam Hansen (x3), Thomas Caswell (x2), Dante May. Central Gauteng 21: Karabo Mamaregane (x4), Ross Stuart (x4), Ross Rovelli (x3), Greg Pryce (x3), Zico Williams (x3), Nicholas Searle (x2), Marc Smith.

Norther Tigers 11: Alexander Kelbrick (x6), Kieron Potgieter (x2), Julian Olivier, Kamva Khanya Kenqu, Benjamin Melville. Nelson Mandela Bay 16: Coel Trollip (x4), Calum Emslie (x3), Nicholas Franklin (x2), Raoul Eia (x2), Zandre Botha, Luke Lightening, Camden Christian, Josh Hinks, Matthew Kruse.

Western Province 5: Thomas Truter (x2), Arkin Marias (x2), Jandro Rojo-Ross. Central Gauteng 4: Ross Stuart, Jack Wilkins, Zico Williams, Marc Smith.

Northern Tigers 9: Alexander Kelbrick (x4), Benjamin Melville (x3), Julian Olivier, Francois Hartslief. KwaZulu-Natal 22: Oliver Ditz (x5), Kirk Wilson (x4), Ethan Lyne (x3), Max Scully (x3), Meyer Malherbe (x2), Luca Sandri (x2), James Pohl (x2).

Buffalo City 11: Liam Hansen (x2), Sean Audie (x2), Dante May (x2), , Connor Maree (x2), Armand Van Rooyen, Kairon Roux, Dominic Stegmann. Nelson Mandela Bay 8: Nicholas Franklin (x2), Calum Emslie (x2), Camden Christian, Raoul Eia, Josh Hinks.

Central Gauteng 10: Ross Rovelli (x3), Nicholas Searle (x2), Marc Smith (x2), Zico Williams, Sebastian Bruinders, Greg Pryce. Western Province 5: Ross Stewart (x2), Nicholas Fall, Thomas Truter, Zack Cicero.

KwaZulu-Natal 14: Tristan Uys (x3), Oliver Ditz (x3), Meyer Malherbe (x2), Max Scully (x2), James Pohl (x2), Rhees Hall (x2). Buffalo City 3: Liam Hansen, Thomas Caswell, Connor Maree.

 Girls’ scores

Central Gauteng 25: Mia Loizides (x3), Gina Sguazzin (x3), Amy Smith (x3), Julia Joseph (x3), Ruby Carlson (x3), Courtney Calenborne (x2), Emma Pelicot (x2), Jessica Black (x2), Anastasia Hambakis (x2), Simphiwe Zulu, Francesca De Villiers. Buffalo City 5: Tatum Knox (x2), Tori Voke (x2), Roxy Van Eek.

KwaZulu-Natal 5: Kayla Andrews (x3), Inge Southey (x2). Western Province 11: Hannah Banks (x3), Alexa De Villiers (x2), Amy van Breda (x2), Tayla Kreymborg, Isabella Murray, Erin-Belle Nordgaard, Roxanne Uys.

Central Gauteng 15: Gina Sguazzin (x3), Julia Joseph (x3), Amy Smith (x2), Courtney Calenborne, Emma Pelicot, Jessica Black, Francesca De Villiers, Ruby Carlson, Anastasia Hambakis, Mia Loizides. KwaZulu-Natal 3: Kayla Andrews, Amy Hargroves, Lara Mervis.

Western Province 4: Isabella Murray, Erin-Belle Nordgaard, Alexa de Villiers, Nicole Batom. Nelson Mandela Bay 5: Elizabeth Horn (2), Teagan Harty, Matipa Karimazondo, Amelia Brown.

Western Province 6: Emily Van Heerden (x2), Hannah Banks (x2), Isabella Tooley, Alexa De Villiers. KwaZulu-Natal 3: Kayla Andrews, Caitlin McMurray, Inge Southey

Nelson Mandela Bay 6: Teagan Harty (x2), Tiggy Srevens, Amie Jenner, Elizabeth Horn, Matipa Karimazondo. Central Gauteng 14: Emma Pelicot (x3), Ruby Carlson (x3), Mia Loizides (x2), Julia Joseph (x2), Courtney Calenborne, Amy Smith, Jessica Black, Francesca De Villiers,

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