National League Update
Now eight rounds in to the 2019 Honda National Water Polo League, the Waitakere Blue Devils and Blue Diamonds will be working hard over the remaining four weeks to secure their spots in the semi finals.
The Blue Diamonds have taken their first loss of the league to North Harbour Carlton Party Hire, after opening with five consecutive wins. They now sit second on the table, trailing North Harbour by seven points. With comfortable victories over Marist, Hutt and Hibiscus Coast, the Diamonds will take on a strong Atlantis City side this weekend, looking to make up for an earlier loss in the Auckland League. The lineup will be buoyed by the return of Libby Gault, whose University of Hawai’i side took out the Big West Championship and made it to the quarter finals of the NCAA Championship earlier this year.
Grace Tobin currently leads the women’s goal scorers, with 25 goals over six games. Team captain Emmerson Houghton sits in third place with 21 goals, and Brogan Houghton in 5th with 16.
The Blue Devils have their work cut out for them, currently sitting in 5th place with two wins and four losses. However, a close loss to Hutt Heat and going down to Tauranga in penalties means that they only trail Tauranga by a single point, and Hutt by two, with all three teams having played six games. Two strong performances this weekend could see them shift into a medal position.
On the goal charts, Nick Stankovich currently sits in 4th place with 18 goals, and Anton Sunde, new to the Devils in 2019, follows closely with 15 goals putting him in 5th place.
Rounds Nine and Ten will be played this weekend, with the Blue Devils taking on Hutt Heat at Dio Saturday, and Canterbury at West Wave on Sunday. After narrowly losing to Hutt 10-9, we can expect the Devils to leave it all in the water this weekend to take two important wins. The Blue Diamonds will face Hibiscus Coast for the second time on at Dio on Saturday, and have their first National League game against Atlantis City in front of a home crowd on Sunday.
Blue Devils: Sid Dymond (c), Nick Stankovich, Scott Logan, Daniel Cameron, Dominic Rankin-Chitar, Sean Newcombe, Sam Ratima, Luke Watkinson, Adam Milne, Anton Sunde, Craig Hustler, Hamish Bonnar, Ronan Gogerty-Watson, Jack Dymond, Travis Hassell, Rakai Lambert, Max Rudowski, Ciaran Rose, Tovia Patelesio, Zach Monk.
Blue Diamonds: Chantelle Conroy, Elizabeth Gault, Sofia Gorman, Brogan Houghton, Jessica Shorter-Robinson, Teri MacDonald, Emmerson Houghton (c), Julia Rennie, Grace Tobin, Gabrielle MacDonald, Miranda Chase, Jessika Wanden-Hannay, Jessica Drage, Liana Dance, Megan Williams, Isabelle Tyrell, Sophie Awatere, Emily Drage.
Photos by Tauranga Water Polo.