Jim Kayes, New Zealand Water Polo

Australia and the USA set the tone on day one of the World League Inter-continental Cup in Auckland (NZL) with big wins against the two New Zealand teams.

Australia, whose skipper Aaron Younger is still on his way to Auckland, barely got out of first gear as they thrashed New Zealand’s second team 20-0.

To be fair to the Kiwis it’s a young side with the bulk of the team likely to play in the World Youth Champs later this year.

The USA later demolished the top New Zealand side, 18-3, with a third quarter blitz of eight unanswered goals.

Kazakhstan started their campaign strongly with a 10-9 win against Canada and China thrashed Saudi Arabia 13-4 - though their coach was far from happy with the effort.

“We didn’t play seriously,” China’s Petar Porobic said. “I’m not happy. It’s not good for the next match. I’m not happy because I didn’t see what I wanted to see from my team.”

Match Reports

Game 1: Kazakhstan - Canada 10-9 (0-3, 4-3, 2-1, 4-2)
Referees: Reynel Castillo (PUR), Michael Goldenberg (USA)

Kazakhstan: Pavel Liplin; Yevgenly Medvedev (2), Sultan Shonzhigitov, Roman Pilipenko (2); Miras Aubakirov, Alexey Shmider (1), Alexandr Goovanyuk (1), Ruslan Akhmetov, Rustam Ukumanov (2), Mikhail Ruday (1), Ravil Manafov, Yulian Verdesh (1), Valerly Shlemov.

Canada: Milan Radenovic, Gaelen Patterson, Jeremie Cote, Nicolas Constantin-Bicari (4), Aleksa Gardijan, Scott Robinson, Reuel D’Souza (2), David Lapins, Sean Spooner (2), Aria Soleimanipak (1), George Torakis, Devon Thumwood, Sam Reiher.

Three first quarter goals, including a double for Nicolas Constantin-Bicari, helped Canada to an early lead against Kazakhstan in the first match in Auckland.

Kazakhstan scored their first goal, through Yevgenly Medvedev, while Canada had a double exclusion, then closed the gap to 2-4 with a goal by Alexey Shmider, and to 3-4 when Mikhail Ruday scored with just over two minutes play in the quarter. When Yulian Verdesh scored with 90 seconds left in the half Kazakhstan had outscored Canada 4-1 in the second quarter.

However, goals to Aria Soleimanipak’s and Reuel Mark D’Souza (his second for the quarter) ensured Canada went into half time leading 6-4. Constantin-Bicari’s third goal extended that lead to three with five minutes to go in the third quarter before Rustam Ukumanov pegged one back for Kazakhstan then Roman Pilipenko closed the gap to 6-7 going into the final quarter.

Alexandr Godovanyuk drew Kazakhstan level early in the final quarter before Ukumanov gave them the lead, 8-7, for the first time in the match, then Medvedev gave them a two goal lead with a penalty shot.
Sean Spooner, who scored in the first quarter for Canada, got his second as the 15th ranked team in the world closed to 8-9 then Constantin-Bicari’s fourth level things again, 9-9.

Pilipenko gave Kazakhstan the lead again with just over a minute to play and when Spooner’s shot hit the side of the goal, Kazakhstan were able to hold on to the ball for the 10-9 win.

Kazakhstan coach Nemanja Knezevic:

“That was a good win for us because the start of the game was very difficult and we found the first and second quarters very tough. Canada's goalkeeper, Milan Radenovic, is very good. But we played better in the second half. Our speed and shooting was much better”.

Canada’s Nicolas Constantin-Bicari:

“We are a young team and rebuilding, and that was an important game for us, but the tournament isn’t over. Kazakhstan used our mistakes well and they were patient. It’s difficult for me (he scored four goals) because we lost and that’s what matters”.

Game 2: Australia - New Zealand (2) 20-0 (5-0, 5-0, 6-0, 4-0)
Referees: Abdulaziz Alrashedi (KSA) Yosuke Kajiwara (JPN)

Australia: Nicholas Porter, Richard Campbell (2), George Ford (2), Joe Kayes (5), Nathan Power (1), Blake Edwards (2), Adian Roach (1), Aaron Younger, Andrew Ford, Tim Putt (2), Lachlan Hollis, Nick Brooks (5), Anthony Hry

New Zealand: Matthew Dell, Nicholas Stankovich, Ben Fleming, Ryan Pike, Callum Maxwell, Daniel Cameron, James Catlin, Josef Schuler, Joshua Potaka, Rowan Brown, Brandon Matthews, Calum de Jager, Joshua de Reeper.

The gulf between Australia and New Zealand’s second team was quickly evident as they raced to a 5-0 lead in the first quarter and they doubled that to lead 10-0 at halftime.

The ninth ranked Australians, who were knocked out of the group stage at the Rio Olympics by eventually gold medal winners Serbia, were simply too slick, quick and powerful for the young Kiwis.

The New Zealand side is largely the team that will compete in the junior World Champs in Hungary later this year.

They weren’t able to contain New Zealand born centre forward Joe Kayes or close down the space that saw his Cronulla clubmate Nicholas Brooks score three times in the second quarter and twice in the third on the right side.

It helped Australia to a 16-0 lead with a quarter to play and they eventually won 20-0.

Australia’s Nick Brooks:


“It was a good start to the tournament and a good win.  We made a few errors so there’s something to work on. Canada and Kazakhstan are the teams we have to beat in our group if we’re to go through so we’re really focused on those games.”

Ra Te Okotai-White, NZ 2 coach:


“That was a good learning curve for us. About six of the guys are young enough for the youth world champs so it’s an unbelievable experience for them to be playing against an Olympic team. We will improve significantly throughout the tournament.”

Game 3: China - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 13-4 (4-0, 4-2, 4-2, 1-0)
Referees: Nick Hodgers (AUS), Jean-Francois Morisseau (Canada)

China: Honghui Wu; Fada Qin (1); Yu Liu (1); Chenghao Chu (1); Zekai Xie (2); Shi Sha (3); Zhongxian Chen (2); Rui Chen (1); Yimin Chen (2); Beiyi Wang; Xiao Liu; Gelin Liu; Gelin Zhu; Zhiwei Liang.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Hussain Ahmad M Jaizany; Yaser Abdullah S Alzahrani; Mohammed Abduh A Gahal; Hassan Kalfoot (1); Turki Alkhadi; Ayman Alaryani; Adel Almalki (2); Khaled Alharbi; Abdulghani Alosmani; Beder Alduhther (1); Mohammed Helal K Alhelal; Mohammed Abdullah A Alkhawfi; Omar Abdu Y Sharahili.

China showed their class early, taking a 4-0 lead after the first quarter with centre forward Yimin Chen and Zekai Xie both scoring doubles.

But it was Saudi Arabia’s Hasan Halfoot who scored first in the second half. China were quick to respond though with a goal to Fada Qin. Goals were traded with Zhongxian Chen scoring for China and then Adel Almalki scoring for Saudi Arabia, while Shi Sha scored a double to ensure China still led by six goals, 8-2.

Saudi Arabia scored twice in the third quarter, through Almalki and Bader Aldughther, but China moved even further ahead, scoring four goals with Chen picking up a second, to lead 12-4.

China eased off considerably in the final quarter, scoring just once, again through Sha, and won 13-4.

China coach Petar Porobic:

“We didn’t play seriously. I’m not happy. It’s not good for the next match. I’m not happy because I didn’t see what I wanted to see from my team.”

Saudi Arabia coach Mohammed Alzachrani:

“China are a very strong team so we tried to keep the score down and that is our best result against China. I believe all the other teams are stronger than us but we want to try and finish seventh or eighth.”

Game 4: NZL v USA 3-18 (0-4, 1-3, 1-8, 1-3)

New Zealand: Sid Dymond; Matthew Lewis (1); Matt Morris; Nicholas Paterson; Iosefa Tuiasau; Matthew Small (1); Anton Sunde; Liam Paterson; Sean Bryant; Matthew Bryant; Jerome McGuinness (1); Sean Newcombe; Bae Fountain.

USA: Alexander Wolf; Johnathan Hooper (3); Marko Vavic (2); Alexander Obert; Benjamin Hallock (1); Nicholas Carniglia (1); Hannes Daube (3); Alex Roelse; Alexander Bowen (4); Chancellor Ramirez (1); Jesse Smith; Maxwell Irving (3) ; Drew Holland.

USA started strongly in this match with a 4-0 in the first quarter. Alexander Bowen scored first, followed by Marko Vavic with two goals. Sid Dymond got a penalty, but Matt Lewis’ foul at the attack zone gave to USA a goal scored by Alexander Obert.

USA started the second quarter scoring with Benjamin Hallock, before a quick reaction from Matthew Lewis who made up for the foul on the first quarter and scored for New Zealand, but USA moved further ahead, scoring with Johnathan Hooper and Maxwell Irving to lead 7-1.

The Americans scoring continued in the third quarter with eight goals as the Kiwis struggled to cope with the physicality of the match, the goals coming at regular intervals with Hannes Daube, Bowen and Irving all getting two.

New Zealand did score one goal, to Jerome McGuiness, but they trailed 2-15 with a quarter of the match to play.

Lewis was fouled out of the match after a tussle with Benjamin Hallock. He took the American’s cap with him, stuffing it in a poolside rubbish bin. But the USA finished strongly with three goals in the final quarter to ease out to a 18-3 win.

New Zealand’s Matt Lewis:

“It was a really physical game but you get that at this level where there’s so much wrestling. In the third quarter it was our fitness that let us down, but we watched the Saudis play China and we reckon we can beat both of them and hopefully compete against Japan”.