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St Alban’s sets a date with Kearsney in Reef Cup Final

By CS Chiwanza , in Water Sports | Featured Water Sports | News , at 2024-03-03 Tags: , , , , , ,

Lightning lit up the Johannesburg sky and there were electric performances in the water on the third day of the Reef Cup Water Polo Invitational Tournament hosted by St Stithians College. It was against this backdrop that St Alban’s College and Kearsney College sealed their spots in the final, to be played on Sunday, 3 March.

The showstopper will be contested in the Main Polo Pool at St Stithians at 12:10 in the afternoon, when the two teams make a splash for the final time.

The lightning forced a few stoppages, but it was not enough to disrupt the march of St Alban’s to the final. Despite lagging behind St David’s Marist Inanda, Kearsney, Michaelhouse, and Affies on total goals scored in the tournament, the Pretoria team did enough to win comfortably and sail through without any complications.

They hit the back of the net 73 times and conceded 20 goals on their way to the top of Pool B with a record of four wins from four matches. That performance in the group stages earned them direct qualification into the quarterfinals, where they locked horns with Woodridge, whom they defeated 11 – 8.

Their semifinal tie was against a familiar foe. Last year, St Alban’s encountered Michaelhouse in the third and fourth-place playoff. The Pretoria school had found themselves in that position after capitulating to the eventual winners St Andrew’s College in the semifinals. In 2023, Michaelhouse proved too strong as they handed Coach Nardus Badenhorst’s charges a 12–3 spanking.

On Saturday, St Alban’s saw to it that they did not let recent history dictate terms. They, instead, wrote a new chapter. The Pretoria team was out for retribution, and they got it in spades, fighting their way to a pulsating 9-6 win over the KZN outfit.

A couple of hours after St Alban’s, Kearsney booked their ticket to the final.

Coach Nicholas Rodda’s team knew that they had to be at their best against St David’s. The 2023 runners-up came into the tournament with the express intention of going one better than last time, where they lost to St Andrew’s in a hard-fought contest.

In terms of experience, the match-up favoured St David’s. About half of the Johannesburg team took part in the 2023 Reef Cup, and they boasted plenty of inter-provincial experience, too.

In contrast, the KZN team was relatively young and inexperienced. But they had their own stars in Luca Sandri and James Pohl. However, Kearsney needed more than individual brilliance from their stars. They needed to work as a team. And that they did, just as they had done when they topped Pool B, which featured one of the tournament’s favourites, Affies.

Teamwork is also what saw them through the quarterfinals, where they dismembered Reddam Helderfontein 19–5. In the semifinals, Kearsney coalesced and took the fight to St David’s to prevail 7–5.

When St David’s and Michaelhouse duke it out in the third and fourth-place playoff, it promises to be an entertaining contest. They’re numbers two and three on the top goal scorers’ list, with the Sandton side ahead by eight goals. Kearsney has been the most prolific team in finding the back of the net so far in the tournament.

RESULTS

Grey College 7-8 Reddam Helderfontein
DHS 9-10 St Benedict’s
Affies 18-10 Glenwood
Woodridge 10-9 St Peter’s
Beaulieu 4-16 Steyn City
Reddam Bedfordview 5-6 Falcon
Rand Park 6–2 Parktown
Crawford Lonehill 5-12 Reddam Umhlanga
Michaelhouse 12–10 Affies
Woodridge 8–11 St Alban’s
Reddam Helderfontein 5–19 Kearsney
St David’s 17–2 St Benedict’s
Beaulieu 14–9 Rand Park
Reddam Bedfordview 9-5 Crawford
Glenwood 6–11 Grey College
St Peter’s 9–12 DHS
Parktown 6-3 Steyn City
St Alban’s 9-6 Michaelhouse
Falcon 8–5 Reddam Umhlanga
St David’s 5-7 Kearsney
Woodridge 4-5 Affies
St Benedict’s 7-5 Reddam Helderfontein.

Sunday

07:00 – (B#63) Rand Park vs Crawford; 07:00 – (B#64) Beaulieu vs Reddam Bedfordview; 07:00 – (B#65) Steyn City vs Reddam Umhlanga; 08:40 – (B#66) Parktown vs Falcon; 08:40 – (B#67) Glenwood vs St Peter’s; 08:40 – (B#68) Grey College vs DHS; 10:20 – (B#69) Loser 62 vs Loser 61; 10:20 – (B#70) Winner 62 vs Winner 61; 10:20 – (B#71) St David’s vs Michaelhouse; 12:10 – (B#72) St Alban’s vs Kearsney.

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