GREY High could not have finished their waterpolo season on a more perfect note than when they won the Old Edwardian Cup for the first time at the prestigious KES Festival in Johannesburg at the weekend.
In a triumph for the sport in the Eastern Cape, the PE boys shaded St Andrew’s 10-8 in a thrilling final after losing to their Grahamstown rivals three times this season.
For good measure, Grey won the Grey Junior Festival in PE for the first time since 2010, while, last week, the school’s U15 team took the Kingswood tournament title, beating East London’s Selborne 4-1 to lay claim to being the best U15 side in the Eastern Cape.
Both the KES Festival, which started in 1981, and the Grey Junior event attracted top waterpolo schools from around the country and the triumphs were hard-earned in a sport which is one of the fastest growing activities at the school.
After ending sixth last year, Grey first team coach Paul Mackenzie said they had set this tournament as their top priority this season.
“It is one of the toughest tournaments for the coastal teams, and never even having been to the final it was a big achievement for us,” Mackenzie said yesterday. “Being at altitude, we did a lot of tournament-specific training for the event, our fitness was good and I believe our mental strength played a major part in the success.”
Grey were forced to overcome champions St Stithians in the semifinals before facing a serious test against what Mackenzie described as “a very good St Andrew’s team”.
Grey’s Jason Evezard was named player of the tournament and he was joined by teammates Connor Timm and Jeremy Ward, as well as St Andrew’s players Matt Andrews and Max Kieser, in the team of the tournament.
In the Grey Junior Festival, the hosts took the trophy under the guidance of coach Luke Crawford, who was a member of the Grey side which won the inaugural tournament in 2001.
Grey Junior cruised through their preliminary matches, the closest being a 4-3 win over SACs, whom they again met in the final.
This was another titanic contest which was deadlocked at 4-4 before going into extra time, where Grey stretched their lead to 6-4. – Neale Emslie