On the 25th of November 2016 our small red van made its way up the South Island all the way to the thriving metropolis of Christchurch for the South Island Secondary Schools Water Polo Championships.
Our eight-man team, as well as coach and manager, had high hopes for the tournament and were keen to build on our recent victories in the Dunedin pre-tournament where we finished first.
The next day we had two group stage games to play. The first was against the Christchurch Combined team who had players from all over the Canterbury region. Because they had players from all over the place they were not eligible for reaching the semi-final, but we still wanted to claim the Win. After a tight game, the end score was 12-12 which was a very solid start to the tournament. Our second game that day was against Christchurch Boys'. Again it was a tight match, but we managed to pull away and secure a 16-11 victory.
Saturday brought us to our last group stage match against James Hargest from Invercargill. Winning this game would place us at the top of our pool, so we were ready to give it our all. We put in a big effort, with many of our players contributing to a whopping score line of 21-4. Since we finished at the top of our pool, we had to face our rivals Otago Boys' High School (who finished second to St Bede's in their pool) in the semi-final. The afternoon rolled around, and we were soon back at the pool preparing for our match. It was a very tight game, and both Otago Boys' High School and our team had to fight for each and every goal. Despite going into the second half with a one goal advantage, we, unfortunately, lost out to Otago Boys' 10-9 but we can say we gave it a good shot.
The following day we put our recent disappointment behind us and focused on sliding onto the podium with a cheeky bronze medal. The third and fourth playoff were between ourselves and Christchurch Boys who we had beaten in the group stages. We went into the match fairly confident but wary that we were facing some very solid opposition. After a close first half which finished with our noses just in front, we kept the momentum going and ended the game at 16-7.
To celebrate our victory, we made a quick dash to the nearest Burger King and managed to get back in time to watch the boys final between St Bede's and Otago Boys' which St Bede's won 10-3. We then attended the prize giving in which Max Wolf was named in the tournament team as well as being named as the Most Promising Player. A well deserved prize to a player who was key to our tournament campaign. Other notable mentions are to our awesome goalkeepers Tavita Schaaf and Tim Chirnside who were both pivotal members of the team. We could not have done this without our coach Angus Webster and manager Brent Wolf. That night a small red van made its way down the South Island carrying a satisfied and proud water polo team.