Girls defy the odds

By Gary Caffell


Canoe polo

A stunning effort from their senior girls squad highlighted Wairarapa College's impressive performance at the national canoe polo championships at Makino Aquatic Centre in Feilding last weekend.

Seeded fourth in their division one event, the senior girls lineup - captained by Rachel Copps and including Sian Douglas, Erin Copps, Lara Pritchard, Sam Meulenbroek, Clare Rusling and Danielle Foote - exceeded all expectations by returning home with the silver medal.

They had tongues wagging when they played and beat top seeds Horowhenua in a thrilling semifinal.

This game went goal for goal and was tied at the end of ordinary time which meant the first team to score in extra time would be declared the winner.

And it was Pritchard who, under instructions from her coach, dominated the charge start to secure possession for her team and Wairarapa College pulled off a textbook move which gave Meulenbroek a one-on-one with the opposition goalie and she scored the vital goal.

That victory put Wairarapa College into a final against Taradale and as their clash the previous day ended in a draw, it was anyone's game.

As it happened, however, it was Taradale who came out firing, dominating offensively and scoring the first goal.

They went on to take the title despite a gutsy effort from a Wairarapa College team who were down to three players at one stage.

In fact, Pritchard managed to chase the ball down and score while her team were depleted in numbers.

Pritchard was in outstanding form and was later named in the team of the tournament.

For Wairarapa College, their second placing compensated for narrowly missing out on a medal in the 2012 senior girls section and most of their players will now turn their attention to representing Wairarapa in the national league competition which gets under way next month.

The other three Wairarapa College sides at the nationals also made a positive impact; the junior girls team and the junior open mixed team finished fifth in their competitions while the senior boys open team placed sixth.

Those squads were:

Junior girls: Emily Hodgkinson, Zara Fletcher, Holly Houliston, Jessie Forbes, Nicole Baxter and Molly O'Hagen.

Junior open mixed: Alistair Thurston, Ryan Stevens, Zac Hooper, Roselyn Gray, Abbie Sawkins.

Senior boys: Connor O'Hagen, Hamish Jury, Luke Cassidy, Taylor Houston, Joseph Stevens.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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