SPAR KZN School Girls Hockey Challenge
Epworth and UKZN Hockey Grounds: Saturday 11 March
The SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge welcomes back St Anne’s and a new team, St John’s DSG to the Grand Finals that will be held in July, as both teams were crowned regional champions in the 2017 Pietermaritzburg tournaments.
Ending Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High’s dominance in the Pietermaritzburg Central Regional, St John’s DSG toppled their 100% record when they beat them 1-0 in a riveting game in the round robin at Epworth College. Striker for St John’s DSG, Lise le Roux knocked in the all-important, only goal against the Green Machine, securing her teams place in the Grand Finals.
Coach for the Yellow Sticks, Lyndal ‘Binks’ Robertson stated, “The girls attitude today was what won us the tournament. They were phenomenal! The group of girls we have, have done well in other sports this term and this filtered onto the turf. I see great potential for our small school with such a big heart. We are trying to instil the mantra of ‘love what you do, love the game’ and this was evident on the pitch. All the players contributed, and the pace going forward resulted in some exciting goals.”
Continuing, ‘Binks’ said, “Luck was on our side, there were strong contenders in both tournaments, and it could have gone either way. For us against GHS and Epworth, we happened to connect earlier as a team. Those big hearts managed to put the ball in the back of the box, and that made the world of difference. On the field, we defended well and when we got to the other end of the field, we capitalised. And now, for the first time, we are heading to the Grand Finals. Everyone is so delighted.”
Retaining their Pietermaritzburg North regional title for the sixth time, St Anne’s had a bit of a yo-yo day on the turf at UKZN Pietermaritzburg, starting off with a win against long-time rivals, The Wickham Collegiate. Their second game, the defending champs were held to a 2 all draw against hosts, Hoërskool Voortrekker in a hard fought 25-minute tussle. St Anne’s then defeated Grace College 3-0. In their final game, Saints took on surprise package of the day, Treverton who had a phenomenal tournament and at one stage looked promising to possibly advance through to the Grand Finals. Saints lifted their game, leaving Treverton unable to stop them as they netted three solid goals.
Coaching the northern Saints for the fourth year, former SA Men’s coach Carlos Pereira enthused, “It was a great day for us. We played some nice hockey and passed the ball around well. We had good control in games, and a couple of patches where we let in goals. We were fortunate that our goals for us were stronger than where we let goals in today. But it was a good lesson, we know where we need to improve and where we need to work. But as I said, it was a great day of hockey overall!”
At each tournament, an umpire is recognised as the Most Promising Umpire, two umpires were acknowledged. For the second time, Sibusiso Ndlovu, a scholar from Voortrekker High was recognised for his umpiring abilities. Joining his is uber cool, Alana Marais representing Howick High School. Marais displayed superb levels of calm in all aspects of her game.
Speaking at the prize giving, Tournament Director, Les Galloway said, “A hearty congratulations to the twelve teams that took part in our tournament today! The action, both on and off the pitch was fantastic. I believe that everyone had an marvellously, enjoyable time. Your schools can be very proud of the way you represented them.”
MD for SPAR KZN, Max Oliva said “I salute you all. It is wonderful to see the camaraderie both on and off the pitch. Players having taken each other on, embrace each other in a friendly hug on the side-lines. This is the true meaning of sportsmanship and I am delighted to witness this!”
Two more teams have been decided for the Grand Final, St Anne’s College and St John’s DSG join Ferrum in July. Ten regional champions will meet at the Grand Finals that takes place at St Mary’s DSG.
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