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Currie Cup| Girls | Central Gauteng undisputed champions in the pool

By Avuyile Sawula , in Water Sports | Featured Water Sports | News , at 2024-03-16 Tags: , , ,

Central Gauteng's Emma Pelicot attempting a shot against Western Province in the final of the Currie Cup in East London. Hannah Banks is the player defending. Photo: Shot by Shani Photography
Central Gauteng’s Emma Pelicot attempting a shot against Western Province in the final of the Currie Cup in East London. Hannah Banks is the player defending. Photo: Shot by Shani Photography

Only three months after claiming the Inter-Provincial title in Gqeberha, the Central Gauteng u18 girls’ team has captured yet another piece of silverware after defeating Western Province 11-7 to lift the South African Junior Water Polo Championship title in East London on Saturday.

Gauteng and Province entered the tournament as the favourites to go all the way.

They duly delivered on the hype and, despite both of them losing one of their round-robin matches, played an attractive brand of water polo, which propelled them into the final.

Gauteng was the high-scoring team, sound on defence, and used their combinations to good effect. Province on the other hand possessed threats of attack, with both their keepers pulling out the stops at crucial moments.

On the road to the final, both teams faced stern opposition and were forced to dig deep to secure their places in the title-decider.

Province, after a great start to the Currie Cup, suffered a shocking 4-5 defeat against Nelson Mandela Bay. Meanwhile, Gauteng were well beaten by Province in their round-robin showdown, going down 6-12.

Past results, however, count for nothing in finals, and Gauteng harboured no hangover as they made a bright start to the clash.

Coach Kelsey Thomson’s charges came out of the blocks quickly and flew into a 2-0 lead in the first chukka, courtesy of a Mia Loizides double.

It became heated in the following two chukkas, during which Gauteng enhanced the gap, scoring a further three goals while conceding two to lead 5-2 at half-time.

Province managed only two more goals in the third chukka, with Hannah Banks scoring her second, while Emily Van Heerden also got in on the scoring action.

Gauteng, meanwhile, netted a further three times, to take an 8-4 lead into the final chukka. They were pressed hard to hold onto their lead, with Province looking as if they might stage a stunning comeback with four minutes left and coach Connor Whiting‘s team scored through Alexa De Villiers, Amy Van Breda, and Isabella Tooley.

Their goals were, however cancelled, out by Ruby Carlson, a second goal for Julia Joseph, and a scorcher from Jessica Black.

The Central Gauteng girls u18 side with head coach Kelsey Thomson during the final of the Currie Cup in East London. Photo: Shot by Shani Photography
The Central Gauteng girls u18 side with head coach Kelsey Thomson during the final of the Currie Cup in East London. Photo: Shot by Shani Photography

Commenting on the match afterwards, coach Kelsey Thomson said her side was thrilled to take home another trophy and she credited her team’s senior players, who had shone throughout the event.

“We feel really good. The girls did well every game to get better, and that was our concept,” she told SuperSport Schools.

“We wanted to get better with every game, and I think we just peaked in the final.”

When asked how she managed to lift her team’s spirits after losing one of their round-robin matches, she replied:

“We had an attitude of not thinking about what had happened in the previous matches.

“We understood that the final was a brand-new game, and I just told the players to believe in themselves.”

Both Gauteng teams are now Currie Cup champions after the boys’ side defeated KwaZulu-Natal 8-6. The coaches of both sides credited the systems put in place by Gauteng Water Polo to ensure their development structures are in place for those successes.

Meanwhile, in the third and fourth play-off match, Nelson Mandela Bay secured another upset of a big team, this time claiming the scalp of KwaZulu-Natal 10-6.

Goals from Teagan Harty, Amie Jenner, Elizabeth Horn, Anna Pinto, and Lucy Rutherfoord sealed the victory.

That win came in the wake of their shocking 5-4 upset of Western Province on day two.

Coach Grant Mackenzie will, no doubt, be happy with how his charges defied the odds in East London, and they will take much-needed confidence into the Inter-Provincial Tournament later this year.

Final day scorers

Nelson Mandela Bay 10: Teagan Harty (x3), Amie Jenner (x2), Lucy Rutherfoord (x2), Elizabeth Horn, Jasmine Witthuhn, Anna Pinto. KwaZulu-Natal 6: Inge Southey (x2), Caitlin McMurray, Alwande Zondi, Gemma Malherbe, Kayla Andrews.

Central Gauteng 11: Mia Loizides (x3), Julia Joseph (x2), Emma Pelicot (x2), Gina Sguazzin, Simphiwe Zulu, Ruby Carlson, Jessica Black. Western Province 7: Hannah Banks (x2), Emily Van Heerden, Alexa De Villiers, Amy Van Breda, Isabella Tooley, Roxanne Uys.

Final standings

Central Gauteng
Western Province
Nelson Mandela Bay
KwaZulu-Natal
Buffalo City

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