NORTH West achieved its best State CHS Boys Water Polo Championship finish for a few years at Albury yesterday and collected a bit of silverware to go along with it.
It wasn’t the title spoils but, in finishing third, North West picked up the most improved region award.
They were sixth last year.
The accolades didn’t stop there, with keeper Ryan Parker (Peel) receiving the inaugural Robert Greenwood trophy for the all round player.
The award recognised the most valuable player to their team, not just in the water but in their general contribution before and during the carnival.
He won that from each of the zones’ nominated players.
Parker was the North West mvp for the week and his superb efforts in goals also saw him named in the honours team best-13 of the tournament.
He was though, due to age, ineligible for the state team, with selectors naming two U16s teams.
North West players figured in those too, with Laarn White (Farrer) and Nathan Pyne (Tamworth High) being named in the seconds and Jackson Sharpe (Oxley) as a reserve.
It followed a 3-all draw with Sydney North in their play-off game.
“The boys put in 100 per cent effort,” North West manager Sam Doust said.
“They were tired but just kept going.”
The game was tight the way through, with scores 0-all at quarter-time and then 1-all at half-time.
North West skipped ahead 3-1 in the third but then had to hold off a strong finishing Sydney North side.
Earlier they’d gone down to Hunter in their semi-final 8-6.
“It was a tight tussle,” Doust said.
It was 7-6 to near the end when Hunter scored after North West had been on the attack but had the ball turned over.
Parker saved the initial shot but the rebound fell to Hunter.
They had clawed their way back from a 4-goal deficit to be in the position to pull off a draw.
“We were down 4-nil at half-time,” Doust said.
“We came back, which is what we’ve been doing.”
They did similar against Hunter in the round games.
Hunter had the better of the shots on goal, with over 30 for the game, but North West’s defence was strong.
It was just a couple of counter-attacks that led to quick goals that got Hunter on a roll in the first half.