It has been a long year without competitive school sport, so to be able to host the annual St Andrew’s College Shield, against all odds, was a huge achievement. I must thank Mr. Thompson for backing me on my decision to push for this tournament and allowing me to tread on a very thin line to make sure it happened.
The tournament was played over 5 days due to COVID regulations, we had 11 teams participating from around the country. 5 teams from the Eastern Cape, 3 teams from the Western Cape, 2 teams from Kwazulu Natal and 1 team from Gauteng.
We were also lucky enough to have two current FINA referees, Dion Willis and Brad Rowe as well as Ian Melliar who has refed at the Olympics. A big thank you must go to Mark Evans, who arranged the referee schedule.
The table officials were excellent over the weekend and a Big Thank you must go to Tom Clucas, who managed this job under some immense pressure and made sure everything ran smoothly.
The College 1st and 2nd teams were involved in the tournament with the 2nd team playing some excellent water polo in parts. They finished 4th in their pool and made the quarterfinals. They came up against Rondebosch in a tough encounter, losing that game. They then came up against The Eagles team, although they lost the game, we could see a huge improvement. The finished in a well-placed 8th place, narrowly losing to Eden by one goal.
The Blues played some good water polo throughout the weekend. The started the tournament with a well fought win over Michaelhouse 12-7. Next up they played a well drilled Rondebosch side, The Blues started a bit slowly and, but they were always in the game, the however never managed to take the lead and lost 9-8. The 3rd game against Pearson was a far better display of water polo and the Blue won that 12-2. Saturday afternoon, the Blues played a strong Paul Roos team, but always looked in control of the game and came away with an 8-3 victory. The last of the pool games was always going to be tough against an underrated Eagles team who was unbeaten after a great draw against Rondebosch. The Blues defense was up for the game and kept the Eagles quiet and we won that game 7-4.
Next up was the quarter finals, where we met Eden from George. Eden has played some good water polo throughout the tournament, but the Blues put in one of their best displays of water polo, winning that game 13-1. the semi-final was always going to be tough against the top of the Pool team, Crusaders. The game was in the balance going into the 4th quarter, where the blues took a 2-goal lead, but the Crusaders scored quickly, reducing their deficit to just one goal with 3minutes left on the clock. Matt Dovey scored to close the game out 6-4, which took the Blues into the final against Rondebosch once again.
In the final, the game changed hands regularly, but the Blues managed to get a 2-goal lead going into the 4th quarter. Rondebosch struck back early to close the gap once again. The Blues score a good man-up goal to extend the lead by 2 again, but Rondebosch were not going down without a fight. They scored with 1min30 on the clock. With 22s left on the clock, the Blues had the ball and should have closed the game out, but a small mistake allowed Rondebosch back into the game and they score an excellent equalizer on the hooter to take the game to penalties. Captain Oliver Rose was superb in goals and made 2 crucial saves to give the Blues the final victory and The Shield is back home after 11 years.
Well done to everyone on what was an amazing and fitting end to the water polo season.