With an average age of 73, the Perth Cockatoos retained their 70+ FINA World Championship men’s water polo crown at the recent event in Gwangju, South Korea.
And not to be outdone, the Pink Pointers, with an average age of 59 years, also a Perth-based team, won the 55+ women’s crown.
It was no mean feat as the teams had to overcome some much younger teams in the mis-matched schedule with teams numbers well down from the 2017 championships staged in Budapest, Hungary.
The men finished their campaign with an 8-4 win over American Blue Thunder, from the United States of America, to secure the gold medal.
Team captain Bill Wallace said it was not an easy event.
“Our ages ranged from 70 to 80 and we played a match each day in sweltering conditions and hot water.
“We have been training hard for this for the past year, which included three team sessions and at least two swim sessions by ourselves each week.”
It was the fourth successive medal for this group with back-to-back 70+ titles and two bronze medals in in the 65+ division.
The Pink Pointers were outstanding in their division and the lack of opposition meant facing teams as young as 30-plus.
The team is no stranger to the dais, claiming the silver medal in Budapest when scheduling problems meant they could not play the grand final even though they were undefeated throughout the tournament.
In previous events the group has taken gold, which is understandable considering the side features former international and State representatives.
Captain Fiona Pixley praised her team’s effort: “After Budapest we wanted to make sure of the gold. Our trainings were well structured and this helped us get through the harder matches, landing the goals when needed and ensuring our position as the pre-eminent senior team in the entire competition.”
Perth-based players — who come from Joondalup to Lesmurdie — in the two teams, which also contained players from interstate and New Zealand, were:
Perth Cockatoos: Bill Wallace, Harry Neesham, Terry Mulligan, Alan Bowden, Colin Mulcaster, Gary Payne, Merv Westoll, Mike Richards, Dave Richards, Hans Smit, Ross Leighton, Wayne Motteram, Eddy Brooks (Coach)
Pink Pointers: Fiona Pixley, Susan Skillen, Lee Boyanich, Colleen Hayes, Liz Burman, Michele Byers, Brigitte Cronan, Leanne Wheelock, Jennifer Hughes, Sandra Morris, Alyson Threadgold, Leanne Kelly (Coach).
The Perth masters water polo competition starts in mid-October and players are always welcome at club night — UWA on Tuesdays from 7pm.