Karratha’s top female water polo players have claimed gold at the WA Country Championships for the first time in club history.
With a particularly strong representative side that included water polo Olympians Simone Fountain and Belinda Brooks, the team won two games and narrowly lost one before ultimately defeating Bunbury 19-9 in the grand final match.
In several crowning achievements, five team members — Anouska Angove, Belinda Brooks, Simone Fountain, Ebony Hennessy and Kate Kalajzich — were also chosen among the 13 best female players of the competition, Hennessy and Brooks were named two of the three highest goal-scorers and Fountain was awarded the grand final’s most valuable player.
Angove, who is also the Karratha Water Polo Association secretary, said the team had dug deep and were elated to win.
“We really played some top-level water polo from start to finish,” she said.
“We played a really good team game and were just super strong and able to stay focused.”
Women’s team coach David Rigby said the squad had succeeded thanks to strong teamwork.
“The girls have been training three to five times per week and have shown that cohesion and hard work can deliver results,” he said.
In what was a close men’s competition, Karratha’s first men’s team finished equal third with Busselton and its second team finished equal last with Peel.
First team member Justin Angove was also chosen as one of the event’s 13 best male players.
Fountain, the coach of both men’s sides, said the second men’s side had gained tournament experience and grown in confidence through the competition, while the first team had been unlucky to lose some close games.
“This (first) team can go onto bigger things and with some more work across next season they will be in good shape to press for the final in 2020,” she said.
Angove said the results were impressive for a club that had only started in 2013.
“For a club to be running for six years and have won two premierships (the men’s team won in 2016) just shows how strong we are as an association,” she said.
The KWPA is already looking towards next year’s Country Championships, which will be held in Port Hedland, and will be focusing on player retention to ensure they can again bring high-quality teams to compete.