Tue, Oct 17, 2023 2:51 PM

Water polo trio recognised


Peter Jones

Promise shown at the under-16 nationals has earned three Marlborough water polo players recognition at national level.

Goalie Fynn Russell, Hayley McCormick and Koko Wong will attend a New Zealand Water Polo camp as part of an under-16 development squad, whose long-term view is the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

The first training camp is to be held in Auckland over Labour Weekend. Fynn joins a squad of 43, while Hayley and Koko are part of a group of 37 players.

Local water polo stalwart Marty Birch said, “This is the first major step for these young Marlburians on their journey to one day representing NZ at the Olympics”.

Meanwhile, Marlborough will host the 2023 South Island Junior Senior Secondary Schools Championship from November 21-25.

Last year the MGC team came away with gold, beating Christchurch’s Villa Maria 4-3, while the MBC team took St Bede’s College all the way to a penalty shoot-out in the finals before the Christchurch school came away with the win, so the local lads are very keen to go one better this year.

Marlborough co-coach Patrick Mulcahy is one of two boys' coaches, along with Alastair Keay. The girls’ squad is coached by Paul Sell and Eric Munro.

Fynn Russell in action.

Patrick says Marlborough players punched above their weight at the recent under-16 division 2 nationals in Auckland when both the girls' and boys' side faced off against tough North Island opposition.

“The girls achieved victory against Sea Wolf White 16-8 in the plate final, finishing ninth overall,” he says. “The boys' finished a pleasing sixth, losing to Tauranga 6-8.”

“Given the size of the Marlborough population and number of players this is an outstanding result against some of the powerhouse clubs of NZ water polo.”

Marlborough Water Polo run a league competition on Wednesday evenings mixing our seniors, masters and junior players to ensure that teams are as evenly-matched as possible.

“We have a number of adult players who use their polo experience on Wednesday league nights to not only develop their fitness and game skills but to also use it as a means to improve their fitness and skills for other sports. We also have a few adults who have tried water polo for the very first time as well,” added Marty.

“While most players come from a swimming background, we have a number who are not strong swimmers … they have closer ties to football, netball and other team sports and use their sporting ability to help them play. Age is no barrier with players ranging from 14 to 70+.”

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