Win in final caps 40th celebration
A SURPRISE 40th birthday celeb- ration for Jamie Smyth ended with new team the Blets taking out the 27th annual Byron Bay five-a-side water polo tournament.
They proved too strong in the final with a 7-4 win over Sydney side Mud Crabs, which included Australian captain and national league player Joe Kayes.
Ryan Moody led the way for the Blets in the final, scoring four goals, while Chris Corbin bagged a double with some of the team being Australian representatives from the early 2000s.
"I arrived Friday night for a weekend with my wife, walked into the Beach Hotel and saw 10 of my mates sitting there,” Smyth said.
"They had it planned since August, apparently, and some of us haven't played together for 15 years so it was a nice surprise.
"We're all has-beens now but it was nice to throw the ball around against some quality opposition.”
The team also included Sean Boyd, Fabio Pavanello, Dan Sterk, Raf Sterk and Phil Reid.
Mud Crabs had only six players in the pool in the final with Dylan Broom and Kayes scoring two goals each.
Two Gold Coast teams played in the women's final with the Guppies overcoming the Dories 6-4.
Caroline Zanussi scored a second-half hat-trick to finish the game with four goals.
Far North Coast had teams from Alstonville and Byron Bay take part while the Australian Defence Force Vipers entered a team for the first time in the men's competition.
"Both teams in the final have guys in the current Australian side and some who have represented at the Olympics so it was always going to be tough for us,” Vipers captain Craig Spence said.
"I've played here for years and it's always the highlight of the water polo season for me.
"It's great to be part of this team now with guys from the army, navy and air force.
"We're a bit of a past and present team and some of these guys have never even been to Byron Bay before.”