Kearsney’s water polo Young Guns give Clifton a game to remember

Saturday’s inclement weather put paid to the cricket and basketball fixtures between schools Kearsney College and Clifton College  but there was a terrific first team water polo contest to wash away the blues.

Herewith a report from Kearsney:

Kearsney’s 1st water polo team played their final game of the season against Clifton on Saturday. The two sides were finalists in the recent Top 10 tournament which ended in a draw after full time and which Clifton won in the ensuing penalty shootout.

Tracey van den Aardweg feature image: Kearsney captain Tyson Andrews notched a hat-trick against Clifton on Saturday.


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Expectations for this game weren’t high as Kearsney were playing their Stayers team, whereas Clifton opted to play their full team – which includes five KZN U19A players.

Both teams started tentatively, with Kearsney scoring the first goal through captain Tyson Andrews, but that was quickly cancelled out by a score from Clifton.

The teams then traded goals regularly with Kearsney goalkeeper Brett van Noordwyk keeping his team in the race with some excellent saving – and Kearsney’s Wesley Marshall scoring two superb goals to head into the break 3-3.


Kearsney Stayers water polo sharpshooter Wes Marshall was on top of his game in the Clifton cliffhanger. Photo Tracey van den Aardweg


The 2nd chukka was tight with neither team being able to break the deadlock for the first six minutes. Kearsney’s 1st choice centre back Oscar Burgess-Barker was out through injury and things looked ominous when his stand-in, Tom Carmody, had to leave the water for medical attention after a blow to the eye.

However, that only seemed to invigorate the Kearsney Grade 9 as, once Tom returned, he had an excellent game – stealing the ball virtually at will from far more senior players.

Clifton managed to edge ahead 4-3 but that sparked a flurry of goals as Kearsney struck back with a goal from Luke Ambler-Smith followed by two counter-attack goals for Clifton to keep them 6-4 ahead at half-time.


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The 3rd chukka started well for Clifton as they scored first to push them three goals clear and it was looking as if the momentum had shifted their way.

Kearsney’s Wes Marshall had different ideas though, and scored his third to give his side some hope. Clifton struck back, but Kearsney simply would not lie down and scored twice with Ambler-Smith completing his brace.

Kearsney were back in the game. Unfortunately for them, Clifton scored from a well-taken extra man to finish the chukka 9-7 ahead.

Once again the teams were deadlocked for the first half of the final chukka with Marshall coming close twice. A cheeky effort from Carmody broke the deadlock but was quickly cancelled out by another from Clifton.


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Skipper Tyson Andrews netted his second to keep Kearsney in the hunt at 11-9. But Clifton were fortunate to get a penalty from a technicality and took the score to 12-9 with a minute to play. Andrews completed his hat-trick but it was in vain as Clifton ran out 12-10 winners.

Despite the loss, Kearsney can be very pleased with an excellent performance by their young team against one of the top schoolboy teams in the country.

Three of the four chukkas were drawn, and Kearsney have not scored more goals against Clifton before. It bodes well for Kearsney water polo in the years ahead.


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