Three entertaining and tight contests headlined the day at Narrabri Aquatic Centre on Sunday when the Narrabri Dolphins Water Polo Club held their 2023/24 season sponsors’ day.
The six local teams produced some sensational water polo, as the junior game between Namoi and Kaputar finished locked 9-all, before Barwon downed Wilga 11-7 in the first opens game of the day and then Kurrajong scored their first win of the campaign as they edged out Nandewar 7-6.
The club also hosted a barbecue and a raffle, and some of the young players then enjoyed some time on Monster Island after the games were all wrapped up.
The Narrabri Dolphins Water Polo Club president Dean Clarke told The Courier that it was a fun-filled day.
“It went really well,” he said.
“We raised a fair amount of money with the raffle and the barbecue we had, which is good. We’re trying to get the funds to buy new goals for the club, because the ones we have are very old.
“It was good weather. The hotter it is, the more fun it is to get in and play I find.
“The atmosphere was the same as it usually is and the kids had a ball, especially after the games were done and Monster Island came out.
“It was a good day.”
Clarke said that the teams were all improving as the inaugural season forges on and that many players were showing great levels of improvement, especially the players who have been consistently coming along to training during the week.
“The juniors, well not just the juniors but everyone, have really improved something shocking,” Clarke said.
“People are starting to get a better understanding of the game.
“They still have a long way to go, but everyone, especially the juniors, have improved a lot and the confidence levels are right up.”
Clarke’s Barwon side are undefeated following a dominant start to the new competition, but acknowledged that the other three teams were improving and starting to close the gap in class.
In the junior division on Sunday, the two sides went into the round six match with just one result splitting them, and two of the five matches separated by one goal and another by two.
Kaputar had secured their third win a week earlier after the sides were all square at two wins each after round four, but nothing could separate them on Sunday when they contested their first draw of the season.
Namoi went into the first break with a 3-1 lead after Maddison Connole, Amelia Clarke and Lexie Fernance all netted in the opening quarter, and Ruby Greentree got Kaputar on the scoresheet.
Kaputar fought back in the second term to establish a 4-3 half-time lead after Elke Collins netted twice and Ruby Greentree scored again as they kept Namoi scoreless.
Namoi went back in front going into the final quarter as they outscored Kaputar 4-2 in the third.
Maddison Connole scored twice and Elsie Barton and Chelsea Clarke added a goal each, while Kaputar’s goals were scored by Martha Barton and Lachlan Dunn.
That made the score 7-6 in Namoi’s favour, but Kaputar outscored them 3-2 in the fourth and final quarter to tie the game at 9-all.
Lachlan Dunn scored two of those Kaputar goals and Ruby Greentree scored her third of the game, while Chelsea Clarke and Elsie Barton both scored their second of the contest for Namoi.
The first opens game of the day saw Wilga go in search of their first win of the campaign against the undefeated ladder leaders Barwon.
However, it was Barwon that got the job done as they outscored Wilga 11-7 to remain undefeated and register their sixth win in as many games.
The two sides were locked at 2-all at quarter-time after Dean Clarke had bagged a double for Barwon and Paul Bushby and Karla Carruthers netted for Wilga.
Clarke’s brother Colin had made the trip up to Narrabri for sponsors’ day from Newcastle and joined Wilga for a match, and he scored two goals in the second quarter. However, Barwon went into half-time with a 5-4 lead after Darcy Gleeson bagged a double and Dean Clarke scored another goal.
The game opened up in the third quarter when Barwon outscored the Wilga side four goals to nothing to go ahead 9-4. Clarke scored another goal, Alex Mison added another and Lucas Clarke found the back of the net twice.
Wilga refused to give up and they managed to outscore Barwon three goals to two in the fourth term, as Colin Clarke netted two more goals to finish the game with four and Bushby scored his second, while Dean Clarke and Mison scored another goal each. That saw Barwon win the game 11-7.
The second opens game was an even tighter affair as Kurrajong edged out Nandewar 7-6.
Colin Clarke joined Kurrajong for that match and he scored in the first quarter, and his new teammate Will Brennan also got on the scoresheet as their side went into the quarter-time break with a 2-0 lead.
Nandewar had hit the lead by half-time after Colin Clarke netted his second goal of the contest in the second quarter, but Harry Bennett found the back of the net four times to make the half-time score 4-3.
Bennett scored his fifth of the game in the third term, but it was all locked up at the final break as goals to Clarke and Brennan made the score 5-all.
Kurrajong then held their nerve to earn their first win of the campaign as they outscored Nandewar two goals to one again in the fourth quarter as the result finished 7-6.
Matilda Wallington and Stacey Dunn both found the back of the net for Kurrajong, while Clare Jensen scored Nandewar’s sixth and final goal of the game.
Those results saw Barwon move to 18 points at the top of the table as Nandewar (11 points) finished seven behind, while Kurrajong (10 points) leapfrogged Wilga (nine points) into third as Wilga finished the sixth round at the bottom of the table.
This Sunday’s round seven opens games will see Kurrajong challenge Barwon and Wilga meet Nandewar.
The under-14s game between Namoi and Kaputar will kick off proceedings once again.To order photos from this page click here