The Northern Coastal KZN Regional of the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge, will take place at Grantleigh College in Richards Bay on Sunday, May 28.
This regional, the last in the series of ten in this year’s Challenge, features eight schools playing pool games with the top scoring teams of each pool facing off in a regional final on Grantleigh’s astroturf. Pool games will be 20 minutes one way, and the finals 30 minutes, with 15 minutes played each way.
Richardsbaai Hoërskool, Felixton, Richards Bay Christian School, John Ross College and Eshowe High School will play in Pool A, while Grantleigh College, St Catherine’s School, Empangeni High School and Mandini College in Pool B.
Hosts and defending champs, Grantleigh College has twice represented this regional at the Grand Finals, the first in the inaugural tournament in 2011 and then again last year. They snapped the regional title away from four time winners, Empangeni High, who no doubt will be eager to reprise their victory once more. Last year’s regional although ended with a show-down between Richardsbaai Hoërskool and Grantleigh, so it remains to be seen who will dominate this time.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, Grantleigh coach Garth Bishop says “The team is quietly confident however the competition will be tough and it is going to take lots of hard work to try defend the title.”
“Last year was a really tough year, we performed really well against the bigger schools, but unfortunately couldn’t sustain the performances later in the tournament. It has just shown how we need to play at a consistent level if we want to achieve again this year.”
“We participated at the Nedstar Hockey clinic in Pretoria, and although not all the results went according to plan we managed to take significant strides forward as a team. The Irish Men’s hockey coach, Craig Fulton, also gave the girls some areas to think about while playing if they want to achieve at a higher level.”
“We expect that this will probably be one of the toughest years as there are a number of schools who have really improved over the past few seasons and it is probably the most open competition in the last few years,” continues Bishop. “It would be great to win the regionals again as the finals in Durban is definitely a highlight of the season for all the players.”
Winners will meet nine other teams from around KZN at the Grand Finals at St Mary’s DSG in Kloof on 29th and 30th July. They will join Wartburg Kirchdorf, winners of the PMB Inland Regional, St Mary’s DSG winner of the Highway Regional, King Edward, winners of the Ugu and Sisonke Regional, Ferrum Skool (Newcastle), St Anne’s College (PMB North), St John’s DSG (PMB Central), Amanzimtoti High School (Durban South), Our Lady of Fatima (Durban North) and Durban Girls College (Durban Central).
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