SHARKS and Eco Energy celebrated Tamworth Water Polo Association grand final successes in the South and West Memorial Pool at Scully Park on Friday night.
While the Sharks started favourites they had to work hard to beat a determined Under 16 girls’ side 8-5 that stunned the minor premiers with an early goal from Katie Salter.
The Sharks recovered to lead 3-2 after the first quarter through goals from player of the match Katie Robinson, Mel Courtney and Alice Lyden.
Robinson struck again in the second quarter for a 5-4 half time lead after Jamie Prendergast and Salter had scored for the 16s before the older side added three more second half goals to the one from the 16s.
Robinson finished with a hat trick of goals while Salter also finished with a trio.
Jamie Prendergast was in good form for the 16s while Under 14 goallie, Chelsie Lehman , also stepped up well against a side spearheaded by MVP Robinson.
Mel Courtney, Ellee Wallington and Alex Simpson were also standouts against a side that now has a month to prepare for the State Championships under coach Craig Salter.
The side was also without two of its key players for the grand final with Kate Farquhar at boarding school and Abby Rae attending a national identification squad weekend in Sydney.
The men’s grand final pitted defending premiers and minor premiers Tigers against Eco Energy in a terrific tussle won 6-5 by Eco Energy.
Eco Energy lost the major semi to the Tigers and had to beat Southgate Inn in the final without two of their stars – Jordan Sharpe and Ryan Martin – to make the decider.
Sharpe and Martin were back for the grand final with Martin powering in two goals.
Talented teenager Jackson Sharpe, younger brother of Jordan, also banged in two goals.
Jackson and goalkeeper Tony Fisk were awarded joint player of the match awards. Jackson Sharpe is also off to the national titles with his Hunter Hurricanes side.
He has been travelling down to Newcastle most weekends to train with the Under 16 side.
While he and Fisk starred for Eco Energy Tigers goalkeeper, Chris Rowbottom, also had a big game for the minor premiers.
o Major award winners for the season were Reece Rowbottom and Emily Grellman.
They have been adjudged the male and female players of the country district championships.
Men: ECO ENERGY 6 (Ryan Martin 2, Jackson Sharpe 2, Sam Crelley, Jason Simmons gls) d TIGERS 5 (Max Colby 2, Mitch Salter 2gls). Women: SHARKS 8 (Katie Robinson 3, Mel Courtney 2, Alice Lyden 2, Gail Salter gls) d UNDER 16 GIRLS 5 (Katie Salter 3, Jamie Prendergast, Gabby Joice gls).