Friday, 11 May 2012

Victorian Youth Have Strong Showing in National Canoe Polo Finals

Victorian Youth Have Strong Showing in National Canoe Polo Finals

Victorian Youth played strongly in the 2012 Australian Canoe Polo Championships this weekend  in Penrith, NSW.

The Championships were held at the Penrith White Water Centre in New South Wales. The competition began at 7am on Saturday 7 April and the grand finals were played from 1pm to 4pm Monday 9 April.

Victorian Women’s player Adele Ross said that fantastic weather made the games easier, as the matches took place outside at the Sydney International Regatta Centre at Penrith Lakes.

Event organiser Craig Hutchison said that Victoria should be happy with their development teams as they currently have a strong hold on the Juniors (U18) division.

The Youth (U21)/Social/Women combined division played a double round-robin, with four games on Saturday and four on Sunday.  In the round-robin play, the Youth placed second, despite being matched against much older teams.

The South Australian women’s team, led by Sarah Heard, finished first.  They were the only team to beat the Victorian Youth.  Victorian Youth player Kara Farrington, age 15, said they were the most successful team in scoring against the South Australian women’s team all weekend.

“We played well together.  I enjoyed it, it was good experience.”

In the end, the Youth team won their grand final 7-1 against the social team Rapid Fire.

The Youth team was captained by Liam Farrington, age 17, who also played on the Victorian Juniors and Open 2 teams.  Craig Hutchison commented that Liam has strong boat skills and speed for his age. When asked about the weekend, Liam  found it physically challenging to play on three teams.

“It was very tiring playing on three teams.  Being a senior player is harder.”

Despite the juggling act, the Juniors also did well and won their final game 6-1 against the New South Wales Juniors team. Victoria’s Open 2 team placed sixth overall in the Open division.

The Open final was a tight game.  South Australia scored on several fast breaks, but Victoria’s offense was steady. At one point the game was even at 3-3.  A shot at goal by South Australia late in the second half was blocked by goalie Matt Moore. South Australian player Anton Holmes caught the blocked ball and put it straight up to score the winning goal.

“I guess South Australia deserved to win, but it was disappointing we came so close.”

Victoria’s Open 2 team also lost to the South Australia open 2 team.  Andy Waters played well with notable round-arm change-ups, and Kes Robinson had several fast breaks.  Team Coordinator Matthew Farrington said that they “…kept the score down to a respectable level against better teams.”

Masters games were played in a friendly manner, with the Victorian Masters team placed third in their bracket.  New South Wales Veterans and South Australia Masters placed first and second, respectively.

Victorian Women place third in round-robin play. They nearly missed out on a place in the grand finals, but they came back to beat New South Wales in the semi-finals. They placed second overall in the Women’s division. Bec Jennings, a representative on the Australian squad, was a strong shooter throughout the weekend.

The newly-formed social division had only one entrant, Victoria’s league team Rapid Fire. Captained by Michael Jarman, the team has only been formed for two months as a member of Victoria’s autumn  league.  The team’s playing improved throughout the weekend. Jarman remarked that “...being able to compete at the level at such a high level has truly set the bar for next year.”

The Australian Squad was announced over the weekend. Representatives from Victoria--including Bec Jennings, Matt Moore and Nathan Moore--will join the World Canoe Polo championships 5-9 September 2012 in Poland.

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