3 Schools Trust: Sunday 25 March
After an absolute humdinger of a final, Amanzimtoti High School sealed their fourth win in a duplicated 2017 performance in the Durban South Regional of the SPAR KZN School Girls' Hockey Challenge at the 3 Schools Trust Astro on Sunday 25 March.
Toti took on neighbouring school, Kuswag Hoërskool for a Toti derby with a fast-flowing final being played where they won the game 1-0 after a persistent attack from Toti resulted in the solitary goal.
It took Toti all of four minutes to knock in the goal that earned them victory. Toti's feisty Mvelo Mtombeni powered forward into the circle where Kuswag defender was penalised for getting the ball on the back of the stick. Toti had earned their first short corner. Kuswag's defense stood firm as Toti attempted to score. In the second short corner, the ball was knocked from left of the goals to the nearest player, then was quickly passed along the top of the circle. At the top of the circle the Toti ball hit a Kuswag foot, taking them to the third taking of the short corner.
In a similar fashion, the ball moved in from the short corner, getting tapped along the top of the circle to Megan Powell standing firm mid circle, firing in a shot that Kuswag fumbled and were unable to prevent the goal.
Thereafter a fired-up Kuswag dominated the possession, but were unable to capitalise. Nine attempts by Kuswag sadly didn't amount to an equalizer. Both the Captain and Vice-Captain for Kuswag played outstanding games, with both of them attacking the Toti defense.
Leading up to the finals, in an exact replication of last year's tournament, Toti met Kingsway in the first semi-finals where the scoreline was level on 1 all at full time. The semi went to a penalty shoot out where Kingsway stepped up first, missing the goals. Toti also missed their first attempt. Kingsway then took their second penalty attempt, missing that. Amani Xozwa broke through netting the first goal for Toti, taking the score to 0-1 to Toti going into the final round.
Nontobeko Mazibuko leveled the score for Kingsway, managing to get the ball behind the hard-working Toti keeper, Alexia Kesaris. The final penalty had Mthombeni lining up to take it. Her first attempt was thwarted by tenacious Kingsway’s goalie, Teneze Tsouros who put her body on the line, stopping the shot. Tsouros then dived forward pushing the ball out of danger but was deemed to have used the back of her stick in the clearance, resulting in the final penalty being retaken. Mthombeni didn't make the same mistake twice and secured her team’s win.
Kuswag had an easier time advancing to the finals, meeting Werda. Captain for Kuswag Crizelda Delport scored the only goal in their semi-final, with the final score ending on 1-0 in favour of Kuswag.
Dale Fibiger, coach of Kuswag, the host school said “It was an exciting tournament - it is always a good platform for the players to play lots of hockey and get their skills right. The coaches can use the opportunity to see where the players are best positioned too. The final match between ourselves and Amanzimtoti was exciting - it was played with good spirit and our girls were very positive and played as a team until the end."
Chris Clarke, coach for Amanzimtoti said “The first match of this tournament against Kuswag was our first game of the year. It was a very enjoyable event although it was hot all the teams stepped up their games, especially New Forest. This year the hockey was much harder. We started out well, and even though the girls got tired during the day, they managed to hold it together. It was an incredibly tough final against Kuswag, who dominated once we had scored our goal - but the girls managed to maintain their composure to make it to the final whistle."
Amanzimtoti High School is the fifth team to secure a spot at the SPAR KZN School Girls' Hockey Challenge Grand Finals that will be held in July at St Mary's DSG. They join Durban Girls' College (Durban Central Regional), St Anne's Diocesan (Pietermaritzburg Northern Regional), Epworth School (Pietermaritzburg Central Regional), and Ferrum Hoërskool (Northern KZN Regional).
For more info like the tournament's Facebook page.