By Kevin Chisholm
On the 26th of August, the Victorian State Titles were held. They were organised by the committee, mostly Wolfy and Steph, so obviously the first question was “Is there even a pool booked?”
There was. And what a pool. 2m deep, 25m long, and I have no idea how wide, with a bottom as smooth as silk and water as clear as the sky. It was a thing of beauty.
The second obvious question was “Who will play?” It seems a strange question considering every player in Victoria knows every other player, and has shared bodily fluids one way or another to the point where we can play the game ‘2 degrees of separation’ with disturbing success. But after last year’s two team titles, it was a serious concern.
Again, our worries were needless. “Build it, and they will come…” said the voice in Wolfy’s head. And come they did.
The senior teams, in order of finishing, were;
- The Wizards
Hendo’s Hooligans are a regular fixture, and with their team of internationals, interstaters and outright poaching from other clubs, they had a formidable line-up. Unfortunately, the Harlem Globetrotters called in a last minute cancellation, and so a few stalwarts who actually regularly play at Xavier sneaked in. The team took a little while to get their game together, but once they were sorted they were impressive.
The surprise package of the comp, with a stellar line-up of mostly Warragul players as well as a couple of affiliates pulled in through their kiwi links. Craig was always going to be the danger forward of the comp, but the surprise was how well he was supported by his team. The only team to score against the Wizards or Wonthaggi, their forward line was the benchmark of the comp.
Last year’s unstoppable juggernaut this year declared that they would rather see an even five or six teams than two ‘superteams’, which everyone knew meant Kev had been too lazy to organise a decent team. Still, they pulled a couple of salty old sea dogs out, replacing the injured Lachy Wishart with the great Gary O’Connor and calling Cassie De Lacy Vawden out of retirement in her secluded mountain retreat.
The Dead Club still managed to pull together a great team, despite their fearless leader not playing due to chronic limp wristedness. (be nice to Steven, it’s a real disease) Tim Helm played a great comp, showing the steely edge he usually hides behind his nice guy exterior
The hosts of the comp, Geelong put together an experienced team, but playing with only 85% of the salary cap meant they were unable to secure contracts on local heroes Critter and Camile. In their absence, the Stuart 'The Sillver Fox' McCallum, and rookie of the year Rustal Briggs stepped up.
There were two notable absences; Ballarat, who were talking up their chances in the lead up to the comp, but presumably pulled out when they discovered that the comp was not going to be held in Ballarat (and more shockingly, that there was an ‘outside Ballarat’ at all.) Monash did not put in a team as they did not have the numbers, but it they were well represented in all the other teams.
The comp itself was a very even affair, starting with a 0-0 draw between Wizards and Wonthaggi. Any of the top four teams could have gone close, but at the end it was clear that the Wizards were the deserving champs. A controversial tie did not end up being settled by goal difference, after Warragul refused to roll over for a set of fin keepers, blitzing a tiring Wonthaggi 4-1, and leaving Wizards the only undefeated team at the end of the day.
The junior comp was also held with players from Geelong, Wonthaggi, Melbourne and Warragul. All teams played well, but it was the home team that ended up on top. Kaia, Erik and Jayden were the best players on the day for their respective clubs, and the ability of all juniors led to the formation of not one but two state junior teams.
Congratulations to Xavier, and many thanks to Wolfy and Steph for organising a fantastic comp!
Kevin Chisholm is a member of the Wonthaggi Underwater Hockey club in Victoria. His interests include tree-lopping and teaching. He was a member of the Irish Underwater Canoe Polo team which participated in the 2006 CMAS Underwater Hockey World Championships in Sheffield, England.
The official account of the 2012 Victorian State Championships is available on the Victorian Underwater Hockey Commission website.