Waitakere Seniors Shine in Perth
Our Waitakere Blue Diamonds and Blue Devils have proven themselves as valuable additions to the National Teams rosters at the FINA World League Intercontinental Cup in Perth Australia. The Cup is a qualifier for the 2019 World League with four teams from each tournament qualifying for the Super Finals alongside the top three teams from the FINA/LEN Europa Cup Finals and the host nations.
The New Zealand Men found themselves in pool B alongside Kazakhstan, China, and Argentina, while the women faced off against USA, Japan and China.
Day one saw the women fall to Japan 7-12, with goals from Diamonds Emmerson Houghton (3), Grace Tobin (1). The men had a frustrating loss to Kazakstan, 12-11, with Nick Stankovich (1) and Anton Sunde (3) finding the back of the net. Head Coach of the NZ Men and the Blue Devils, Davor Carevic, had this to say about the match:
We were extremely unlucky. Kazakhstan are professionals and they play in the Russian league. It was our first game since last year's World League, so I couldn't be happier. It was a lack of experience and we couldn't close the game off."
Day two came and went with the Kiwis still looking for their first win, as both sides came up against tough Chinese side, 7-14 for the men and 7-24 for the women. The Devils lead the mens scoreline with 2 goals each to Anton Sunde and Sean Newcombe. Pool play wrapped up on day three, with both Kiwi teams finishing in the bottom of their groups. Tough games against our Australian counter parts saw heavy scorelines of 4-15 for both teams. Looking to come out on top of the 5-8 division, the men played a stronger game against China, who they had beaten at home in 2018, but came away with a close loss 8-11. The women played a tense game against Kazakstan, losing the lead in the final minutes to go down 14-12. Blue Diamonds Emmerson Houghton and Grace Tobin contributed 9 goals between them to the Kiwi’s effort.
The final day brought the first victories for our National teams, proving themselves against South Africa 11-8 and 10-8 for a final placing of 7th. Emmerson Houghton and Sean Newcombe were named player of the match for their respective games, and had the following to say:
“Really good to come away with the win on the last day. It wasn’t an easy game. South Africa made us work hard and it’s good to make us fight and finish on a win. Good on the girls, because we fought the whole game. We definitely take away our team bond and how we work together as a team and we’re looking forward to get back and working hard for the next tournament."
– Emmerson Houghton
“We knew straight away it would be a dogfight and they came out guns blazing, went up three or four goals; really we just had to put our heads down and get stuck in, get a few goals back on them. We started the competition with a very close loss to Kazakhstan. Of course, we’re happy with that result, but disappointed at the same time, because we could have been playing off for a higher position. Spirits are high, we’re going to keep building on this, we’ve got a great team, great coach and hopefully we can produce some more good results."
– Sean Newcombe
The 2019 Honda National Water Polo League begins later this month, and we look forward to seeing what our New Zealand players contribute to the Blue Devils and Blue Diamonds through the league.