Paul Martin on Winning His First Clifton Water Polo Tournament

Tue, 30/09/2014 - 06:43
  • Clifton water polo tournament 2014
  • Clifton polo winners 2014
  • Clifton college wins 2014 Water Polo tournament

We chat to Paul Martin following his teams victory at the Clifton water polo tournament.

Congratulations on winning the Clifton Water Polo Tournament. What were your plans going into the tournament?

Paul Martin: To win the tournament, the focus with this team was to add more structure and a better understanding of the game of water polo. A key component to this was to take pride in defense and understand a few defensive patterns.  There is plenty attacking ability in the team. The individual skills of the players were never in doubt but it was more a case of bringing those skills together with a better water polo understanding.

We had ticked the boxes I wanted ticked going into the tournament.

How was the pressure going into the tournament and how did you overcome it as this was your first year at tournament with the school?
Paul Martin: My entire approach was one of confidence in our preparation as well as in the players that were selected for the team.  I felt that we had done everything possible to prepare as a new team in the time frame we had. Whatever the result, we had ticked the boxes I wanted ticked going into the Tournament.

Every team has or is allowed 1 bad game at a tournament.

Your boys played well throughout the tournament but drew 4-4 against St Albans in their 2nd group match, can you tell us about about that match and why you felt the guys didn’t secure the win?
Paul Martin: Every team has or is allowed 1 bad game at a Tournament.  This was ours.  That said, it was still not a loss and we showed strength to come back from being behind.  It was definitely not through lack of chances or attacking opportunities that we could not pull off a win – the ball just would not find the back of the net.

It was great to see 3 out of the 4 pools topped by KZN Teams.

How was the quality of the rest of the teams at the tournament? Which teams stood out for you?
Paul Martin: The general standard of polo at the tournament was not high. That being said, there was some tough and competitive polo on display in the latter rounds.  The 2 stand out teams had to be Clifton and Bishops, with Clifton taking things a step up in the final. Credit and mention must go to Hilton College and DHS for winning their respective pools.  It was great to see 3 out of the 4 pools topped by KZN Teams.

Good performances from my juniors that kept us ticking over.

Which players from other teams and your own do you feel played some really impressive polo, can you name a few of these players?
Paul Martin: I think the All Star Team covers most of this.  I do however need to mention the Clifton goal keeper, Gareth May, who had an great semi and exceptional Final (saving numerous long range, one on one and a penalty effort!)

Our mantra has become “defense first” and this clearly was the case in the final.

Your team this year had a handful of seniors like Jagga, Downes , Brakspear, Edwards, and Petterson, how did these guys influence and help the team during your road to victory?
It was a cliché team performance. The senior players struggled at the start of the tournament and it was due to good performances from my juniors that kept us ticking over.  The senior players came into their own towards the latter stages of the tournament. I could call on any combination of player – seniors and junior mixed whenever I felt necessary.

Can you describe the final and how did it feel when the final whistle blew and you guys had won?
Paul Martin: The final was a comprehensive victory in the end. Things were close at half time (2 – 1 to us) but we never panicked and the players stuck to the game plan I gave them. Our mantra has become “defense first” and this clearly was the case in the final.  Once we had created enough pressure, the teams fitness and attacking ability came into its own and we dictated the pace of the game going forward.  It was obviously a great feeling once the final whistle went.  More so in the manner in which the team played rather than the actual score line.  That was a proper display of composed, clinical water polo from the Clifton Team

What was the selection criteria for the boys who made the All Star team?
Paul Martin: No selection criteria – players were selected by Pete Lavett (head of referees) and Gareth Samuels (ex National Men’s Team Player)

What’s your plan for the rest of the year with the team?
Paul Martin: The next step is to win the local KZN Top 10 Tournament of obviously remain unbeaten in any local fixtures until the end of the year.

How do you plan on making adjustments to the team once the matric’s leave the school?
Paul Martin: These adjustments will start with the St Stithians Stayers tournament in late October. There is a great core of players, 9 who gained valuable experience at the Clifton tournament that will be in the team going forward and some promising juniors coming through the system. I will continue to try and implement my brand of water polo and structures that I want to run through the Clifton Water Polo program as the new season progresses.

Click here for the full tournament results

​​Follow YSN here for all kinds of awesome:

YSN on Twitter for all the latest and greatestLots of YSN photos to tag you and your mates inYSN on Instagram because sometimes you gotta be artisticYSN on Youtube for the long highlightsYSN on Vine for all your big hits and quick clips

Have your say!

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Receive YSN Newsletter