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Champs put the bite on Sharks

Champs put the bite on Sharks

Action from the canoe polo competition in Banff.

The Sharks, from hosts Deveron Canoe Club, crashed out of the eighth North East Canoe Polo tournament, beaten by eventual winners Aberdeen Kayak Club at the semi-final stage.

The quintet of Iain Brooker, Michael Reid, Gary Thain, Ian Walker and Tony Jannetta played their part in an open-ended, fast game in which Aberdeen started strongly. Brooker, in the Deveron goal, had to make many paddle- tip saves as Aberdeen’s shots rained in on their goal.

Eventually Aberdeen scored a fast goal and Deveron had to chase the game. Despite lots of attacks and shots, Deveron were unable to open up the Aberdeen defence, and eventually went 2-0 down to a quick Aberdeen goal scored on the counter-attack.

Reid pulled a stunning goal back, but the Deveron team, runners-up last year, were always chasing the game, eventually going down 3-2.

The final was a tight game between the strongly fancied Aberdeen team and a Highland Nairn team who had reached the final for the very first time.

After a determined period of defending, Aberdeen scored the first goal, and eventually took the game 2-0. The strength of the Aberdeen team shone through, but Highland Nairn left with a belief that they could go one better next year.

The Deveron Sharks eventually finished third, beating Highland Ness 4-1 in the 3rd/4th play-off, while the Deveron Dolphins took fifth place and the Deveron Porpoises were seventh.

Aberdeen Kayak Club have now won this event for the last two tournaments, and their fast, young team will be formidable opponents the next time round too.

Teams from canoe clubs as far afield as Aberdeen through to Inverness took part in the event in the Banff pool.

The tournament started with the group games. In the first group, a strong Aberdeen team took the top honours by winning all of their games, although the Deveron Dolphins team held them to a close 3-2 result, with Aberdeen only managing to score the winning goal in the last 30 seconds.

The Dolphins (Sandy Reid, Rikus Verster, Alan Mair, Chris Rowe and Ross Barron) were always behind, but Aberdeen were kept on their toes by a plucky Dolphins team who scored to level on two occasions, only to see the game run away from them in the last minute.

In the last game of the group, the Dolphins were up against another strong team (Highland Nairn), with the incentive being a place in the semi-finals for the winning team. It was an edgy game, with defence being more important than attack, as both teams were determined not to lose. Balls bounced off the goal frames as the defenders held firm.

Suddenly Highland Nairn scored and the game opened up. Shots were soon coming in from all angles, with the goalkeepers under severe pressure. Highland Nairn scored again, and the Deveron team threw everything in the pursuit of goals.

Barron scored an angled shot to make the score 2-1, and the last two minutes then became a frenzied end-to-end affair. Despite many close shots, the score stayed the same, and Highland Nairn advanced to the semis.

The third Deveron team, the Porpoises, represented by Caroline Meikle, Heather Meikle, George Rutten, Ross Henderson, Evan Arrowsmith and Norman Banks, were in the same group, and were beaten into fourth place despite scoring in every game.

The Deveron Sharks team finished second in their group, winning all their games except one, where they drew with the eventual winners of the group (Highland Ness), who went through in top spot courtesy of a superior goal difference.

THE BANFFSHIRE JOURNAL Tuesday, March 10, 2015