Gary Thain (second left) of Deveron Dolphins battles for the ball against an Aberdeen Kayak Club opponent during the recent North-east canoe polo tournament at Banff Swimming Pool.
LOCAL team Deveron Sharks had to settle for second place in the recent North-east canoe polo tournament at Banff Swimming Pool after they were edged out in the final by a youthful Aberdeen Kayak Club team, winning the tournament for the first time.
Teams from as far afield as Inverness and Aberdeen converged on Banff to compete in the seventh annual canoe polo competition, and local interest was high, with three teams representing Deveron Canoe Club.
Two of the Deveron teams – the Sharks and the Dolphins – had placed in the top four at the last two competitions and were looking to take the top spot this time around, while the third Deveron team, the Porpoises, were competing in their first competition.
The Dolphins line-up of Sandy Reid, Charlie Clark, Chris Rowe, Gary Thain and Ross Barron were beaten into second place in their group, losing only to group winners Highland Nairn, although that still allowed them to make the play-offs.
The Sharks – Iain Brooker, Matt Watt, Tony Jannetta, Michael Reid and Ian Walker – meanwhile had a difficult time in their group matches.
Tied for second place after all the group games had been played, and with only two teams going through to the play-offs, they scraped in after a count-back through goals scored and conceded and best results.
The Porpoises – Heather Meikle, Evan Arrowsmith, George Rutton, Alan Mair and Rikus Verster – were ecstatic when they recorded a win over Aboyne.
In their last game of the day, they again came up against Aboyne in the play-off for sixth and seventh place, and although they scored through Alan Mair in a 1-1 draw, they had to settle for seventh place. The Sharks and Dolphins,
meanwhile, avoided each other in the semis, the Sharks running out 2-1 winners over a good Inverness team to book their place in the final.
The second semi-final was a completely different game, featuring end-to-end polo with lots of near- misses which went Aberdeen’s way by a 2-1 margin.
But in third place were the Dolphins after an exciting play-off for third and fourth places which saw them beat Inverness 2-1. The final started as a tight game,
with Aberdeen playing at a high tempo while Deveron defended solidly, until the game opened up and the home side had their chances, only to be defied by the Aberdeen keeper.
His work paid off when Aberdeen went 1-0 up, and they later caught Deveron pushing for an equaliser, grabbing two more goals to win 3-0, leaving the home club to reflect on second, third and seventh-place finishes.
THE BANFFSHIRE JOURNAL Tuesday, December 9, 2014