Sunny but cold, windy South Coast weather provided perfect conditions for the Under-14 Junior International Polocrosse Tournament final between South Africa and Zambia last weekend.
The tournament, which was hosted at Paddock Polocrosse Club from Friday to Sunday, saw a fairly young and inexperienced South African team being emphatically beaten by the older, more experienced Zambians.
The opening match was the most closely contested with the visitors emerging 18-15 victors, which they followed it up with a 20-16 win the following day.
South African captain, Jake Shaw, was injured during the second match, but recovered to play the next day. Zambia, however, continued their winning ways, beating the hosts 27-13 in the third and final fixture on Sunday.
The Golden Pony award went to Cupcake, owned by South African, Lauren Heynes. Heynes, 10, the youngest player in the tournament, also won the award for the Best Girl Player.
Twelve-year-old Zambian, Daniel Mawson won the Best Boy Player award. He was also named Best No.1 and Best No. 3, while fellow Zambian Amorette du Toit won the Best No.2 award.
Sam Heynes, Junior President of Polocrosse South Africa, said, “I think the Zambians were just that much older than us. Team South Africa was a fairly young team, but our kids did well. It was a great weekend overall and we look forward to playing this type of tournament annually.”
Ryan Pretorius of Paddock Polocrosse Club said, “It’s the first time that our club hosted an international tournament. We look forward to hosting more international matches in the near future.”
He also congratulated the Zambians on their victory and both teams for their great effort and skill.
Meanwhile, teams from across the country participated in the club’s annual fun tournament.
Nyati were crowned A Division winners after beating the local Rhinos outfit of Amber and Paige Pretorius and Dane Csaszar in the final.
The Shongweni Babes beat Hilton to take the B Division spoils, the Tigercats clawed past the Thundercats in the C Division and Mooi River A saw off Kargs Post B for the D Division honours.
Locals ruled the roost in the remaining divisions, as Paddock C – comprising Sven Bunge, Kenan Classen and Liam Classen – defeated the Mooi River seniors to clinch the E Division, while Paddock D made up of Olivia, Seb and Nicolas King staved off Shongweni D to win the F Division.
Three homegrown talents also earned individual honours; Sven and Olivia were named Best Boy and Girl Player of the Tournament respectively, with Liam acknowledged as Most Impressive Boy Player of the Tournament.
The other individual awards went to Mooi River’s Beth von Onselen (Most Impressive Girl player of the Tournament), Bishopstowe junior Shaw (Bomber Trickstick boy champion) and Shongweni junior Amy Cooker (Bomber trickstick girl champion).
Paddock Polocrosse Club chairman Derrick Classen commented, “It was a hugely successful event. It made for exciting polocrosse and was well supported by spectators from within the polocrosse fraternity as well as locals. We look forward to hosting another exciting tournament next year.”
Photos by Shannon Gilson