Matthew Hillary has been awarded Honours for Water Polo. Matthew has played 204 matches for the St Andrew’s College 1st Water Polo team. He made his debut in 2017 in his Grade 9 year. By the end of his 1st season with the College Blues, he was promoted to a starting 7 position and has never looked back. Matthew was Co-Captain of the College Water Polo team in 2019, as a Grade 11 boy, and is the 2020 Captain of Water Polo. He has represented Nelson Mandela Aquatics, formally Eastern Province, from U15 to U19A. He was also selected in the Eastern Cape Currie Cup team in 2019. He has been selected in numerous tournament teams, most notably being selected as Most Valuable Player at the U19 Vides Tournament in 2019 as well as in the SACS U19 Tournament Team in September of 2019. However, the pinnacle was at the South African Schools Championship held in Johannesburg at the end of 2019. Matthew was identified as one of the country’s best schoolboy players. He was included in the prestigious South African Schools team of 2019.
From the start of his College career, Matthew established himself as one of the top sportsmen to have represented College, excelling in both the Water Polo pool and on the Rugby field. He is naturally gifted and being left-handed makes him that much more valuable in the pool. His physical size, strength and speed in the water make it incredibly challenging for any opposition player to contain him. He is incredibly hard working and always leads from the front, often taking on more responsibility in the water in order to assist younger players and team mates. Matthew has worked extensively on being one of the best finishers in the country and is as comfortable in the centre forward position as he is on the right wing.
Matthew’s presence in the pool is certainly evident and every team that has played the College team over the last 2 seasons has developed their strategies and game plan around him. However, it is not just his water polo ability and achievements that define him as an Honours candidate. Matthew is a natural leader and is a positive role model. He is completely dedicated to his team mates, his coaches and his school. He has demonstrated incredible grit in the face of adversity and, more impressively, real sincerity and empathy when a team mate, opposition player or fellow human being has needed him. His understanding of people and his character have endeared him to many.
Matthew’s record and Water Polo ability speaks for itself. He is just the second player in the history of St Andrew’s College Water Polo to play more than 200 games for the school’s 1st team. Matthew is a most deserving recipient of an Honours Award for Water Polo.
Mr G Lucas-Bull