SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge
Durban Central Regional
3 Schools Trust: Sunday 26 March
Retaining their 100% record of the Durban Central Regional, Durban Girls College, raised the cup for the seventh time in the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge which took place at the 3 Schools’ Trust astroturf in Glenwood today (March 26).
In a seamless display of exquisite hockey, College dominated from the get go showing off why they have owned this regional since the tournament’s inception. Advancing effortlessly through to the finals, they met St Henry’s Marist College for the second time, having met earlier in the pool games. College maintained possession in the crowning game, breaking St Henry’s defense three times and not allowing any opportunities to find the back of their goals. Goal scorers for DGC Emma Sharratt, Bulelwa Mzimela and Georgia Cloete respectively, all were in the right spot at the right time to convert the field goals enabling them to determinedly claim victory over St Henry’s.
DCG Captain Lori Niemand, who was ecstatic with the win, said “We always love the SPAR tournament as it is loads of fun and there is great sportsmanship shown on and off the field. Today we worked hard as a team, and kept passing to each other and communicating well, leading to the final outcome.”
The tournament, which was hosted by Durban Girls High School, had nine Durban schools participating including Durban Girls’ College; Durban Girls’ High School; Hoërskool Port Natal; Inanda High School; the INK team comprising of players from the Inanda, Ntumzuma and KwaMashu districts; Maris Stella and St Henry’s and newcomers to the tourney Durban Girls Secondary and Rossburgh High School.
St Henry’s quietly advanced through their pool games and finished second on the log, behind College. Durban Girls High and Maris Stella ended their efforts at the top of their pool. The four teams proceeded to a cross pool play off. Durban Girls College’s centre forward Georgia Cloete landed her teams two solid goals to Maris Stella’s nil sadly knocking them out of play.
In St Henry’s semi-final, they took on hosts Durban Girls’ High, with the final whistle revealing a one all scoreline. Five players from each side lined up for the deciding penalty shootout. After each team had five attempts, the scores still were level on three all. The game then advanced to a golden goal or sudden death. Melissa Calitz for St Henry’s eased her way to the right, going around DGHS’s Demi Tait to go one up. Latoya Boon then set off for DGHS and followed a similar path to Calitz trying to round Unathi Sibeko, but her attempt scared off by the diving keeper scraped agonizingly past the right-hand goal post which meant St Henry’s were through to the regional final.
A delighted coach for Durban Girls’ College, Bell Meek said after the prize giving, “I was impressed with the girls, they played with a really good spirit in everything they did. Throughout the course of the day, College showed great improvement, and built on that with every game. I was very happy with their progress.”
Complimenting her opposition, Meek stated, “I would also like to commend St Henry’s, they are playing fantastic hockey and with every year that passes, they get better and better!”
Talking about her team, Meek enthused, “We have a young team, with only two matrics. The youngsters stepped up and supported the experienced players rounding off the team nicely. I coached the U16 team last year, and a number of the youngsters have come through to the first team, so they are familiar with my game plan. Adding to the mix is my assistant coach, Kerry Gaze who is an incredible help. It is nice to be able to bounce off ideas with her. This is her first year with College and I must say we are a good balance.”
Concluding, Meek said, “After our indoor season, where we finished off middle of the table, this is an encouraging start to our outdoor season. We are heading to the St Mary’s Waverly tournament next and our goal is to just play good hockey. We are aiming for a top ten, and if we achieve that I will be extremely chuffed!”
Durban Girls’ College is the sixth team to go through to the Grand Finals that takes place at St Mary’s in July, and will join Our Lady of Fatima, who won the Durban North Regionals on Saturday, March 25, and four other teams that have already secured their berth at the tournament, Ferrum High School (Northern KZN); St John’s DSG (PMB Central); St Anne’s College (PMB North) and Amanzimtoti High School (DBN South).
Pic by Jonathan Burton