DEVERON Ladies made a big splash when Deveron Canoe Club held the first ever canoe polo tournament in Banff Swimming Pool. Canoe polo – like water polo but played in special small canoes – involves teams of five shooting in to a net suspended at either end of the swimming pool. The game is fast, exciting and at times physical, with good canoeing and ball control skills a requirement. Seven teams from canoe clubs all over the North-east competed, with Deveron Canoe Club from Banff represented by both ladies’ and mens’ teams. The tournament, the first event of its kind in the North-east, started with two groups of round-robin matches.
In Group A, Deveron Ladies (Louise Barclay, Lorna Taylor, Shirley Gordon, Claire Jones, Carlynn McLeod and Caroline Meikle) got off to a shaky start, drawing with Donside B in a tense, end-to-end battle.
In their second match, they went on to beat the much more fancied Aberdeen Kayak East Sea Kayak Club who fielded a team oned senior players, but went on to win their remaining matches and ended up second in the group, securing a place in the semi-final. In Group B, Deveron Men’s team swept all in front of them, winning all their group matches. The team of Iain Brooker, Findlay Brooker, Tony Jannetta, Ross Barron, Cameron Birnie and Graham Burnett played solidly, showing good ball control with a great goalkeeping record.
First place in the group set them up for a semi-final match against their own ladies’ team, a match that promised lots of local rivalry. From the start, the crowd were supporting the ladies, who responded brilliantly to the more physical Deveron Men to secure a draw, forcing the game into extra time and a golden goal decider. The Ladies upped their game and with some tight passing and great goalkeeping they kept the men at bay before they clinched the golden goal.
In the final, the ladies were up against the North East Sea Kayak Club, who had beaten them convincingly in the group games. However, Deveron Ladies excelled themselves before the men from North East Sea Kayak Club clinched a 3-2 win in the last minute. Donside A beat Deveron Men in the play-off for third place.
THE BANFFSHIRE JOURNAL, Tuesday, March 22, 2011