There was much excitement around the Kingswood College pool this past weekend as the Makhandans hosted the 12th annual Brian Baker 1st team girls’ tournament.
This year saw the number of teams participating increase from 16 to 20, with many of the top schoolgirls’ sides from around the country visiting Makhanda.
On Thursday, the Kingswood girls had a great start beating Alex Road and Crawford Lonehill 10-9 in a nail-biting game.
Friday brought new challenges as Kingswood faced another two very challenging fixtures. Playing against Durban Girls College (DGC), Kingswood managed a last-minute victory of 9-8 in a back-and-forth, action-packed game.
Roedean from Gauteng was the next opponent, a team that Kingswood had previously lost to. Again, in the dying seconds of the last quarter of another spectacular encounter, the Kingswoodians managed to draw the game even at 8-all.
Kingswood finished the group stages at the top of Group C, sending them to the quarter-final with St Anne’s from Hilton, KZN.
A previous encounter with St Anne’s saw the result end as a draw. This time, Kingswood came out on top when the final whistle blew, having played one of their best games of the tournament, 10-7.
This meant that the Kingswood girls were now swimming in uncharted waters. The girls met group-stage rivals Durban Girls College (GDC) again in the semi-final, this time against a better-prepared DGC team. In a hard-fought game, DGC edged Kingswood out with a final score of 6-2.
After four hard water polo days, Kingswood’s final game was for third or fourth position. The start of the match saw the Kingswood girls fight with their last bit of energy. In the end, their opposition, Herschel, proved to be stronger.
Kingswood coach Kyle Kumm said fourth place out of 20 teams was “an impressive achievement”.
Stand-out players in the KC team were Matipa Karimazondo and Julia Hough, who both represent EP water polo U16A. They were also selected as non-travelling reserves for the SA U18 and U16 women’s water polo FINA teams.
“They showed incredible determination, commitment, and passion during the tournament,” he said.
St Stithians emerged triumphant with a narrow 8-7 win over Durban Girls’ College in a tense final.