Rolling into its eighth year, the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge kicks off in Glencoe, at the end of February 2018 with the first of ten regional tournaments.
One time winners, Sarel Cilliers will host the first regional at their school on Saturday 24 February. An anticipated 12 schools are expected to battle it out, including six time winners, Ferrum High School from Newcastle.
In previous years, the Pietermaritzburg Central and Pietermaritzburg Northern regionals were held on the same day, however, this year both these regions will have their own day in the sunshine.
The only newcomers to the Grand Finals last year, St John’s DSG will have home turf advantage as they defend their PMB Central Regional title on 10 March. The following day, St Anne’s College welcomes the teams participating in the PMB Northern Regional to their picturesque grounds. No stranger to the Grand Finals, St Anne’s will also have home ground advantage, having won their regional six times.
Heading to the first of the Durban and surrounds regionals, St Henry’s hosts the Durban Central Regional at the 3 Schools Trust on Saturday 17 March. This tournament has been dominated by Durban Girls’ College, the only team in the tournament’s history to have a 100% record.
Kuswag hosts the Durban South Regional on completely neutral territory at the 3 Schools Trust Astro on Sunday 25 March. Kuswag School has previously participated at the Grand Finals and will be keen to make an appearance, releasing the stronghold Amanzimtoti High School have had on the region.
The sixth regional takes place after a two week break with Reddam College hosting the Durban North Regional at their school on Sunday 15 April. Our Lady of Fatima will be defending their title, having won this title in the first tournament, and again last year. They will be keen to hold out previous winners Ashton and Danville.
The tournament then travels to the outlying areas. On Saturday 21 April former defending champs, Kokstad College will host the Southern KZN Regional at their school. Three teams have raised the trophy in this region, with current defending champs and three times winners, King Edward High School taking on rivals, Kokstad College and Creston College who have both twice travelled to the Grand Finals.
Returning to Durban, and certainly the feistiest of the regional tournaments, the Highway Regional will be hosted by Westville Girls’ High School on Sunday 6 May. In 2014, Westville managed to topple St Mary’s DSG in a thrilling game where they won 2-1. Saints have dominated the region, winning it six times and adding to their impressive successes, they are also the overall 2017 Grand Finals tournament winners.
Travelling inland for the second last tournament, Wartburg Kirchdorf will defend their title at home on Saturday 12 May, hosting the Umvoti, uThukela and Umzinyathi Regional.
Finally, the last regional will be competed in Richards Bay for the North Coastal Regional. Defending champs, Grantleigh will host the tournament again, on their magnificent turf, just outside of Richards Bay. The tournament takes place on Saturday 19 May concluding the ten KZN Regionals.
Once all the regional winners have been crowned, they will each travel to the action packed Grand Finals that takes place at St Mary’s DSG on 20 and 21 July.
For more info like the tournament’s active Facebook page.