Photo courtesy of Andrew Konor-Walous
City Beach have been crowned 2015 national champions after defeating the Hunter Hurricanes 9-8 in a tight gold medal game on the final day of the Boy’s 18 and Under National Club Championships from South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre, Adelaide.
City Beach’s win in the gold medal decider ensured they ended the tournament undefeated and were able to go one step further than their outstanding runner-up finish in 2014.
Earlier in the day the Drummoyne Devils had won the bronze medal, beating the Melville Sharks 15-14 in a thrilling penalty shootout, while Melbourne Collegians won the plate final, with the Sunshine Coast winning the Bowl final.
Gold Medal Game
It was a finale to the tournament that certainly didn’t disappoint, with City Beach and Hunter battling hard for all four quarters to keep the crowd guessing of who would win the gold medal.
For both teams, qualifying to make the final was an achievement in itself after the Hurricanes had upset the Drummoyne Devils, who had until that point been undefeated, while City Beach beat cross town Wetsern Australian rivals and 2014 champions the Melville Sharks to cement their spot in the championship playoff.
The first quarter started out with the play falling in favour of the Hurricanes as Mitchell Marsden, Lucas Mackaway and Jake Robinson all converted to hand Hunter a handy 3-1 lead at quarter time.
However it was a strong second quarter, which brought City Beach back into the fray and eventually set them up for victory as they put away five goals, two of which were scored by Tim Putt who was named MVP of the tournament.
With City Beach leading 6-4 at the beginning of the third term, the Hurricanes needed to get themselves back into the game, however both teams played tight defence to score just one goal apiece, meaning that the two goal margin held by City Beach would remain in tact ahead of the final quarter.
With a national championship on the line it was City Beach’s Jed Thompson who scored first in the fourth stanza, before the Hurricanes hit back with a double from Connor Morgan. Despite the chase effort, Hunter was unable to peg back the margin, as Western Australians claimed a long awaited national championship.
City Beach coach Andre Kovalenko stressed that his side played like a champion team throughout the week, and that each player could be proud of their efforts from the tournament.
“Everyone from my team stepped up today, and it was a hard game to win,” Kovalenko said.
“This win was absolutely a gold medal effort and every single player contributed. We focused on just playing the game and not worrying about the scoreboard. Our job was to play good water polo, and the result is the reward of that.
“Our team came into the competition strong, and they have been together for a long time, and they delivered on their aim to win the national championship, which is the third title for them this year.”
Boys 18&U National Club Championships Results:
Gold: City Beach
Silver: Hunter Hurricanes
Bronze: Drummoyne Devils
Plate: Melbourne Collegians
Bowl: Sunshine Coast
Originally posted by Water Polo Australia Limited.