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Back You are here: Home Sports Waterpolo Other Water Polo: Rondebosch Wins SACS Cup
Thursday, 04 October 2018 08:58

Water Polo: Rondebosch Wins SACS Cup

 This past weekend (30 September- 2nd October) , schools from around South Africa competed in one of the country’s most prestigious water polo tournaments for the SACS u19 Cup.

Participants included previous winners Rondebosch Boys’ High School, SACS, Bishops, Paul Roos and Wynberg from the Western Cape; St Johns, Jeppe and Pretoria Boys High from Gauteng; Grey High, Selborne and St Andrews from the Eastern Cape; Grey College from the Free State and Northwood from KwaZulu-Natal.

On Monday, 1 October, the outcome of the semi-finals saw a strong SACS team take on the reigning champions Rondebosch. In a tense battle under the eastern cliffs of Table Mountain, Rondebosch won 4–1, and won the SACS Cup for the third consecutive year.Bishops came 3rd and St Johns 4th.

Ross Stone, Oli Daffarn, Michael Sabor and Andy Hulett played in the winning 2016, 2017, 2018 Rondebosch teams. The seniors in this Rondebosch side are a group of friends who began playing water polo at Rondebosch Boys’ Prep School in 2010. The core of this group, now at the end of the school careers,would go on to win nearly everygame they played.

“It has truly been something special playing with these boys for so long. The few additions here and there have slipped right into the team like they were there from Day One,” says the captain, Ross Stone.“I couldn’t be happier with this team if I tried, and we couldn’t have achieved more than we did. It hasn’t been at all easy. It’s taken true courage, determination and time to get where we are today.”

He adds: “To our coaches, parents and all the directors and staff of the tournaments we’ve been a part of, thank you for everything – for giving us the opportunity to play the game we love and showcase ourselves.”

Stone has captained all Rondebosch A sides since U14 level, all WP A age group sides, as well as the SA u16 and SA u18 sides. All 13 members of the Bosch first team are WP representatives. Four (Ross Stone, Oli Daffarn, Michael Sabor and Jonathan Swanepoel) made this year’s South African U18 team that went to Hungary for the 2018 World Water Polo Championship.

Part of the strong bond in this team can be ascribed to the emphasis placed on mentorship. Having been mentored by past Rondebosch stalwarts like Matt Johnston, Jason Fisher, Dylan Watt, SebBidoli, Ross van Schoor and James Hablutzel, the current seniors – those already mentioned plus Thomas Oliver, MJ Smuts and Troy Fisher – are doing the same for the juniors in the team. Aligned with Rondebosch’s “give back” ethos, various members of the first team have taken their turn coaching at the Prep School and Stone served as assistant coach to the Rondebosch u14 side that recently won the u14 tournament at the school.

Water polo was ranked the toughest sport in the world by The Bleacher Report, which focused on the physicality of the game. But there’s more to the sport, says Rondebosch Old Boy and parent Wayne Swanepoel: “Mental toughness, an understanding of team mates’ strengths and weaknesses, a high level of fitness and a desire to keep constantly improving their own and their team mates’ performance all play critical roles in striving to be the best water polo team possible.”

“Also pivotal,” adds Swanepoel, “is having a coaching staff that man-manages the personalities within the team environment to maximize every bit of talent and give every player sufficient game time.” This team has that in head coach Dean Rimmer, assistant coach Jack Purcell and master in charge Gary Endley, and all the coaches who have dedicated their time and effort to making this team what it is.

The win record for the seniors in this team is impressive:

2014 Jeppe Ken Short Shield

2014 Phillips Cup*

2015 Wynberg’s Ian MelliarCup

2015 Waller Cup*

2016 St Stithians “Stayers” Tournament

2016 SACS u19 Cup

2017 St Stithians “Stayers” Tournament

2017 SACS Night Series

2017 MazinterCup*

2017 SACS u19 Cup

2018 SACS Night Series

2018 SACS u19 Cup

2018 King Edward VII Tournament shared with Clifton – final called off due to lightning

* Annual Western Province age group knock-out tournaments

The Rondebosch first team focuses on four tournaments per season, starting with the St Stithian’s “Stayers” Invitational (no matrics), and ending with the SACS u19 tournament; the other tournaments usually in-between are the King Edward VII Festival and the Mazinter Knockout Cup.

In the 2016/17 season, Rondebosch came close to taking all four, losing only the KES tournament to SACS in the semi final.

This season, all that eludes them is the Mazinter Cup, postponed in March due to water restrictions. Qualifying rounds will be held on 13 and 14 October at Rondebosch Boys, with the final on 16 October at Reddam.

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