Kicking off the first tournament in the eighth year of the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge, the defending champs, Ferrum Hoërskool managed to retain their title in the Northern KZN Regional that took place at Sarel Cilliers High School in Glencoe.
Ferrum took on Pionier in the gold silver medal game. In a tough duel, Ferrum netted the winning goal with 11.5 minutes on the clock. The only goal scorer in the main game, vice-captain, Lucretia Struwig found the net in free play after a frenetic build up with the ball sneaking past the keeper. Struwig had a good attacking tournament, setting the tone with scoring the first goal in the tournament and then following on taking her team through in the semi-finals with the only goal scored early in the game against Sarel Cilliers.
Pionier started off in a determined fashion but sadly ran out of steam once the Ferrum ball hit the back of their goal. Having had a sterling build up to the finals, the team topped their pool with three impressive wins, and 13 goals in their three games. They met St Dominics in the semi-final winning that game 1-0, taking them into their second successive final.
Pionier’s coach K.J. Ewert said that the girls did their school proud in the tournament and were obviously disappointed at not being able to eclipse Ferrum High’s winning streak. “They played extremely well to have got into the finals of this regional, and it was a good opportunity for us, but unfortunately it was not to be. The good score card will show that it was a heavily contested regional,” he said.
In a feisty replay of last year’s final where Ferrum managed a 2-1 win against Pionier reclaiming their stronghold in this region. A determined outfit took to the field in this year’s SPAR KZN tournament where Ferrum surged forwards but were unable to break the quietly determined Pionier defense barring their tournament-winning goal.
Dean Bond, Ferrum’s coach, delighted with his team’s win said “There were big expectations for Ferrum as defending champs. We had lost 8 players from last year’s team, so we knew we had to work hard for it. But it was a total team effort. We put in the hours and the results have paid off. The girls really played with their hearts on their sleeves in this incredible heat.”
For the first time in the history of the tournament, St Domimics finished on a podium step, having defeated one-time winners Sarel Cilliers for the bronze title. St Dominics ended their 2018 tournament with a 2 nil victory against the host school.
Nine schools took to the field participating in the sweltering northern KZN heat, with Pool A consisting of Ferrum in first, St Dominics, third placed Dundee, Vryheid High and Pongola and Pool B with Pionier, Sarel Cilliers, Newcastle and Vryheid Landbou.
The first umpire in the eighth tournament to be awarded Most Promising Umpire, Piet Retief resident Mia Steenkamp representing Pionier has been invited to further her umpiring career at the Grand Finals at St Mary’s DSG in Kloof in July.
The next tournament takes place on 10 March with the first of the Pietermaritzburg tournaments, the PMB Central, followed by the PMB Northern Regional on the next day.
1 Ferrum High School, 2 Pionier Hoërskool, 3 St Dominics College, 4 Sarel Cilliers High School, 5 Newcastle High School, 6 Dundee High School, 7 Vryheid High School, 8 Vryheid Landbou, 9 Pongola Akademie