By Eden Brown & Phil Ackerman
The annual Wollongong 4's competition celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a terrific turn out of 87 competitors. After Nationals, it is one of the largest UWH competitions in Australia.
The potluck competition, held at Wollongong University on 16 March 2012, sees teams drawn out of the pot at random. This year's competition ran very smoothly and we received a great deal of positive feedback regarding the games. This was largely due to having four non-players on hand to run the schedule and keep track of reffing and timing. It made a huge difference, as in previous years the competition was run by these guys while they're trying to play.
From all reports the games were of reasonable quality with the winning team that looked set for gold from the outset when Stewart Parkinson, Dave Barry-Macaulay, Steven Taylor, Ben O'Connor and Tim Ogden were drawn together.
The competition featured 16 teams of five (due to the large numbers). Each team played 7 x 10 minute games meaning there was 115 games in total including the final and two kids’ games. This made for a pretty full on schedule but teams managed to work out their own method of keeping up. Because the timing is so tight teams can be caught out if they're not in the water on time - games start regardless and the opposition tends to score goals very quickly with no opposition in the water.
We also staged two 20min junior games in the shallow court involving 16 juniors aged between 7 and 15 years old. It was fantastic to see the older children helping the younger ones out with skills and teamwork. Certificates and chocolate medallions were presented afterwards.
Phil Ackerman once again hosted a post-competition BBQ at his house on the hill. This year saw about 100 people and 48 interstate players were billeted including a contingent from Armidale, Queensland and Victoria. Three of the original winners - Carol Croxford, Andy Davis and Leah Moore - were in attendance. It really was a remarkable turn out with players arriving who we hadn't seen poolside for 10 or 15 years!
The BBQ was fancy dress with 'Irish Pirate' the theme of the night. Two punters were selected for best dressed with the winner decided by a toss of the coin. To the victor went a pot of gold while the loser was forced to walk the plank into the pool! The children also had a fancy dress competition as well.
The party went well into the night and I believe both Kev and Eamon misplaced their underwear in the spa. Luckily Ty caused a distraction by voluntarily removing his!
So, who got lucky at the Wollongong 4's this year? You'll have to come next year and find out for yourself!