A weekend of thrilling water polo action in Bloemfontein concluded on Saturday afternoon with the U14A team of Grey College being crowned as the champions of the ITEC Grey College U14 Water Polo Tournament champions for the first time after beating St. John’s of Johannesburg in a pulsating final.
As hosts of the prestigious tournament, Grey, had never managed to win their own tournament previously and the sought-after title bears testament to the outstanding work done with the school’s water polo tournament of late.
Sixteen of the top water polo schools converged on the school in Bloemfontein, better known for its rugby, and with the blistering heat of late, the tournament was an ideal opportunity for the kids to practice their sport while soaking up vitamin D and enjoying time in the pool.
En route to the final, Grey fired an early warning shot with an 11-4 win over St. Alban’s (Pretoria) in their first Pool D match. In their final Pool match on Thursday, the hosts maintained their composure to edge St. David’s (Johannesburg) 5-3.
In their final Pool D match, Grey outgunned Pearson High School (Port Elizabeth) 3-0 to secure their passage to the quarter-finals. On Friday afternoon in the quarter-finals, Grey beat their traditional rivals, Affies (Pretoria), 8-3 to move into the last four.
The semi-final saw College being pitted against their brother school from Port Elizabeth, Grey High School, and this was always billed to be a cracking match. The team from the City of Roses had little trouble in dispatching their brothers from the Friendly City with a 6-3 victory.
St. John’s, who were in Pool B, lost their opening game to Grey High, with the lads from PE claiming a narrow 7-6 win. The Houghton Estate-based team set the record straight in their second outing with a 7-3 win over the ITEC Invitational team.
On Friday morning, St. John’s stumbled again with a narrow 6-5 defeat at the hands of the Stellenbosch-based Paul Roos Gymnasium. A 7-5 victory over St. David’s was enough to see St. John’s into the quarter-finals where they managed to shock the in-form St. Andrew’s (Grahamstown) 5-2. In the semi-finals St. John’s claimed revenge over Paul Roos with a 3-2 win.
Grey had little trouble in beating St. John’s 5-2 in the final. Grey High finished in third with a 4-2 win over Paul Roos in their third and fourth place play-off.
The Grey coach, Nico Venter, told Bloemfontein Courant that winning the tournament is a reflection of the growth and development of the sport at the school.
“The achievement of our U14 team winning the ITEC Tournament is massive. It is the first time that Grey College has been able to win this tournament.
It is a true reflection of the growth and development of the sport at Grey.
“It is evident in the way that we can compete against the best water polo playing schools in the country. Hours and hours of hard work, planning and training has resulted in this team winning such a prestigious tournament. It sure bodes well for the future of water polo at Grey College.” – MORGAN PIEK