Persistence is paying off for the under 14s Honey Badgers.
Players competed at the National Age Championships in Canberra recently, and had mixed results over several days.
The team played Canberra, which was the fifth-ranked team in the nation, on the first day of the competition.
This was followed by a game against Brisbane, which was the seventh-ranked team in the nation.
While the Honey Badgers suffered losses to both teams, the players then took on the Western Australian team and were close to a win with a 7-3 score.
After a rest day the Honey Badgers played the Western Australian team again and lost 5-4 in a real heartbreaker.
The final day saw the Honey Badgers play Melbourne Collegians.
The team was down 6-2 at half-time but the players dug deep. At the end of the third quarter the score was 6-4 and the Honey Badgers started the fourth quarter with a quick goal to make it 6-5.
With seven seconds left Collegians received a penalty. The Honey Badgers had seven seconds left on the clock, and worked the play that it had practiced in training the week before.
There was a quick pass from one player to the next, and with the clock at one second left, the Honey Badgers scored to level the game 6-6.
Coach Brad Gipson said while the team was excited about levelling the score, there was more work to be done.
“I had to remind them that, the job wasn’t finished and we were to go into a plenty shoot-out,” Gipson said.
“We knew who was to do what job and who was to be goalie. Credit to the boys who were under pressure as we had five shooters and one goalie.
“All our shooters scored and our goalie made two outstanding saves.”
The team went on to win 10-8 in what was a fantastic way to finish up the competition. The Honey Badgers are getting prepared for the 15th Pan Pac Youth Water Polo Festival in New Zealand from July 13 to 16.
The team is currently ranked 29th in the country in this age group.
“[This] is incredible, considering we have only 3 players who are 14 and the rest are 12 and 13 year old, which means they have another two years to compete in this division,” Gipson said.