HPP Ladies reach finals for Waterpolo Currie Cup

For the second year in a row, East London hosted the National Waterpolo Currie Cup tournament from March 17-20 and the city’s own High Performance Polo (HPP) ladies’ side made it all the way to the finals, finishing up second in the country.

This is a huge victory for the HPP ladies who claimed bronze during last year’s tournament.

Despite a strong start to the final game against Western Cape’s Warriors, HPP’s defence proved porous enough for the opposition side to attack. In the first half of the game, the sides were evenly matched with HPP rapidly catching up to the Warriors score to tie 4-4 by half time.

The second half of the game saw the host club struggle to regain their momentum and the challengers racked up a score of 12-6 to the Western Cape by the time the whistle blew.

Club owners and coaches, Paige Meecham and Ronaldo Leendertz were hoping for the win but are ultimately proud of the side’s performance indicating consistent improvement in club and school waterpolo in Buffalo City.

Meecham said, “I am very happy that we made it to finals we are so excited.

“I have learnt a lot from the players who are part of the side and they have learnt a lot from one another.

“I just wanted the team to grow by playing with more experienced ladies from across the country and that’s all you can hope for.”

In addition to crowning men’s and ladies winners for the Currie Cup, the tournament is also the gateway event for national selection to SA U20, senior teams and SA beach waterpolo teams.

Selectors from Swimming SA were in attendance scouting for potential SA players, based on overall fitness, skills level, team synergy and individual performance.

The list for national selection will be made available later.

Convener for Buffalo City Water Polo and member of the technical committee for Waterpolo SA, Vaughn Meecham said, “We ran a successful event last year, we had great support from Buffalo City Metro in terms of getting pools ready and this proved in our favour to enable us to host the event again this year.

“The event brings a substantial amount of revenue into East London as we have teams and officials coming from all over East London.”

President of Swimming SA, Alan Fritz said, “East London has always been an aquatic centre and we want to strengthen this again.

“The Joan Harrison is one of the best facilities in the country and with such exceptional infrastructure we believe we can restore East London to its position as the heart of national aquatics.

“SA waterpolo is eighth in the world but realistically we should be higher on that tally because our talent from school level right to clubs is phenomenal.

“Women’s waterpolo is very strong and my personal view is that we can develop competitive women’s waterpolo much faster than men given that women are retained more easily in waterpolo than in swimming.

“I would like to appeal to corporate sponsors to get involved in waterpolo because this is team based sport like any other and our national teams have grown tremendously through the involvement of corporate roleplayers,” Fritz said.

FIERCE COMPETITION: East London’s HPP ladies in action against Western Cape’s Warriors during the finals. Pictures: TAMMY FRAY


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