Three Narrabri Dolphins Water Polo Club players competed at the 2024 Water Polo NSW Open Country Club Championships event in Newcastle last week.

President Dean Clarke and fellow clubmates Darcy Gleeson and Alex Mison travelled to take part and they played on a combined team alongside nine players from Tamworth Water Polo Association.

The Narrabri/Tamworth team lined up in B-grade and finished third on the six-team ladder to qualify for the bronze medal match.
They eventually went down in that game to finish fourth.

Clarke told The Courier that he and his two Dolphins teammates enjoyed the event and were hoping to return with more Narrabri players next year.

“I loved it. All the boys did,” Clarke said

“It was actually pretty hard to go and play in a team where you barely know anyone, because the Tamworth boys were from three or four different teams from over there.

“By the end of it, though, we’d gelled and we were getting pretty good. If we played in the first few games like we played in the last few, I reckon we would have won them.”

Clarke has been playing water polo for about 20 years now and was one of the veterans in what was a fairly young team at he event. His two Dolphins teammates are currently enjoying their first season in the sport, and the Narrabri president said they learned a lot across the long weekend.

“They both went pretty good,” Clarke said of Gleeson and Mison.

“It was a big change for them from just playing in the competition here in Narrabri. It’s a lot tougher competition when you go away to events like that one, but it’s a lot more enjoyable.

“They both learned a lot about the game.”

It was a tough start for the Narrabri/Tamworth side as they went through the opening day winless on Australia Day. They lost 5-2 against Mayfield outfit Bar In during the opening round and then went down 13-7 against Wyong in round two.

Narrabri/Tamworth then lost again in round three on Saturday morning as they were beaten 10-5 by Charlestown outfit Easts, but they bounced back in brilliant fashion on Saturday afternoon as they defeated Gosford 8-3 to earn their first victory of the tournament.

All four of those games were played at Lambton before they travelled out to Raymond Terrace for their games on the third and final day.

Narrabri/Tamworth prevailed 6-5 in their round five game against Central Newcastle, which saw them finish in third place on the ladder with nine points following two wins and three losses.

Wyong topped the table after going through undefeated and Easts placed second. Those two sides faced off in the gold medal match and Wyong prevailed 10 goals to six.

Gosford clinched fourth spot and downed the Narrabri/Tamworth men in the bronze medal match, while the Central Newcastle team finished fifth and Mayfield were ranked sixth.

The placegetters in all four divisions are as follows:
Women’s A-grade: first – Gosford, second – Easts, third – Albury.
Men’s A-grade: first – Gosford, second – Easts, third – Central Newcastle.
Women’s B-grade: first – Gosford, second – Illawarra, third – Easts.
Men’s B-grade: first – Wyong, second – Easts, third – Gosford.

Narrabri Dolphins Water Polo Club will have about 10 junior players in action at the 2024 Water Polo NSW Junior Country Club Championships event in Tamworth from Friday to Sunday, March 1 to 3.

The club is also looking forward to its 2023/24 campaign resuming next weekend on Sunday, February 11. There are four regular-season rounds remaining ahead of the semi-finals on Sunday, March 10, and the grand finals on Sunday, March 17.

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