Men celebrate strong victory
Victory was sweet for the Karratha men’s water polo team when they won the WA Water Polo Country Championships title for the first time on Sunday in a home final.
The Karratha Marlins were in fine form and did not drop a game all tournament, although getting there was no easy road.
Their grand final match against Hedland was a replay of a tense preliminary game the Marlins won by a point after the last 40 seconds of play had to be repeated because of an umpiring error.
They also had to fight hard to survive close matches against tough competitors Geraldton, Busselton and Bunbury.
It all culminated in a men’s allPilbara grand final between regional rivals Karratha and Port Hedland that had the stands packed with local supporters.
Karratha made their mark on the scoreboard early on and dominated the game, despite a strong showing from Hedland.
They won it 9-4, with six of those points coming from Karratha Water Polo Association president Justin Angove.
Busselton placed third in the men’s league, followed by Geraldton, Bunbury and the Karratha B side.
It marked a big upset for reigning titleholders Geraldton, who have won in five of the past six years.
In the women’s draw, Bunbury and Geraldton battled for the title again, having shared the spoils between them in recent years.
Bunbury triumphed after defeating Geraldton 14-13 in a closely matched final that had supporters on the edge of their seats after two exclusion fouls extended the last two minutes of play.
The Karratha women’s A team put in a strong effort throughout the competition, but suffered from taking a few matches to settle in to playing together, given top sides Bunbury and Geraldton were their first two opponents.
They placed third after thrashing Hedland 22-8 in the third versus fourth decider match.
Players celebrated with a presentation function on Sunday night, where Port Hedland’s Brad Horseman and Bunbury’s Emma Morelli were named fairest and best players of the competition.
Karratha’s Belinda Brooks was the highest scorer with 19 goals.
The Karratha women’s A team were happy to come third in the competition.
Hedland goalkeeper Dan Weaver dives to save a shot from Karratha’s Byron Newbold.
The Karratha men’s A team after their WA Water Polo Country Championships grand final win.
Hedland goalie Timara Simpson saves a shot from Karratha’s Kate Kalajzich.
Karratha’s Richard Clarke reaches to intercept a pass from Hedland’s Josh Blair.
Karratha’s Jessica Newbold defends against Bunbury’s Anthea Brown.