Ten teams from across Queensland descended on Mackay over the weekend for the annual Queensland Country Championships for three days of tough competition.
Matches kicked off on Friday night and all teams were looking for a strong start. In the Men’s draw, tournament favourites the Sunshine Coast took an early victory over the home team with an 8-5 win. In the second match of the day, the young guns from Townsville took on Rockhampton but were unable to close the two-goal gap. In Round Two, the Sunshine Coast made it two from two with another impressive display against Townsville winning their second match 10-2. Rockhampton was unable to consolidate their win in Round One as an impressive Gold Coast outfit took the win 11-1.
Day One in the Women’s competition and both Coasts stamped their authority on the tournament and kept their scoresheets clean against Townsville and Mackay. In the second round, it was an all Gold Coast clash as Gold Coast Yellow took on Gold Coast Blue. In a high-tempo game, the Gold Coast Blue team took the win, 11-4 and with it bragging rights for the day.
Saturday morning started with the Sunshine Coast women taking on their coastal rivals, Gold Coast Blue. In another closely fought game, the Sunshine Coast took the win 14-4 and looked to get the win over the Gold Coast Yellow in Round Four but were unable to go back-to-back against the second Gold Coast team. In their first major tournament, the team from Mackay got their first win against Townsville and kept their scorecard clean in an 18-0 win against the visitors.
In the Men’s draw, the home team pushed themselves into Gold medal contention with victories over the Gold Coast, Townsville and Rockhampton much to the supporters delight. The Sunshine Coast continued their winning streak with wins over the Gold Coast and Rockhampton, setting up a Gold Medal showdown with Mackay.
The teams had the opportunity to socialise away from the pool over dinner on Saturday night with dinner hosted at Harrup Country Club. It was also a great opportunity for clubs to refuel ahead of Sunday’s Medal matches.
In a closely fought Bronze medal match, the men from Rockhampton took on the Gold Coast and despite their best efforts, the Gold Coast took the win and the medal. In the Gold medal game, home-team Mackay aimed to take advantage of the home crowd support and end the tournament on a high. However, strong defence and some fantastic counter-attacks by the visiting Sunshine Coast team meant the Mackay men would have to settle for silver.
The relatively new and young Mackay women’s team faced a well drilled Sunshine Coast team in the Bronze medal game. After a great tournament and earning some valuable experience, the girls finished in fourth place and earned a well-deserved break from training on Monday. It was an all Gold Coast affair in the final match of the tournament with the Gold Coast Blue coming away with the win.
Congratulations to the team at Mackay for organising a fantastic event. Thank you to all the teams who competed and travelled to Mackay, it was a great show of support for rural water polo and all helps grow the sport across the State.