Defending champs shine in Spar hockey challenge

2019 SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge

The two defending champions stood firm in gloomy, grey weather at the first two regionals of the ninth SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge.

On Sunday, 13 schools took to the wet pitch at St John’s D.S.G., which hosted the Pietermaritzburg Central Regional and at The Wykeham Collegiate which hosted the Pietermaritzburg Northern Regional.

In the picture: Treverton’s Michaela Licen (in orange) backed by team-mate Noxolo Mhlanga is closed down by Grace College’s Janet Zondi (left) and Cheznè Strydom (right) during their round robin game on Sunday. Picture: Rogan Ward

The first team to secure their spot in the 2019 Grand Finals, and for the eighth time, were the defending champs, St Anne’s College. Taking on the host school, The Wykeham Collegiate in the regional final, the fast-paced game had Saints dominating, ending with 4 well-crafted goals to nil.

Treverton’s Kyla Gogle fires in an attempt against Grace College’s goalkeeper Amahle Blose, while team-mate Thando Groom looks on during their round robin game of the Pietermaritzburg Northern Regional of the SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge which took place at The Wykeham Collegiate on Sunday. Picture: Rogan Ward

Treverton College played out of their socks, finishing their round robin on level points with The Wykeham Collegiate. Treverton needed 5 goals in their final game against Howick High to advance to the final on goal difference. However, they only managed to net two.

In their regional final, it took St Anne’s 3-and-a-half minutes to net their first goal with feisty Lusanda Mtshali opening her team’s account.

Scoring the second goal for Saints was Kiara McLuckie who was camping at the near post, slotting in over the keeper’s outstretched stick.

Emma Griffin knocked in the third goal after a sneaky glide of a pass from near the post skid past the keeper and found Griffin’s stick slapping it in. Sealing the win with only 4 seconds remaining, Grace Kitshoff struck from the centre of the circle, running the ball down the middle, through several defenders and the last line of defence, to round off the scoring in style.

Head Coach for Saints, Robin Jones said, “We had a slow start after a lot of our players attended the matric dance last night. Girls are a little bit tired today, but I am very happy with the way we progressed. I thought our best game was the last game of the day, which is very satisfying. I am very proud of the girls; there were some really good goals scored.”

Dominated

Down the hill, defending champs Epworth and hosts St John’s D.S.G. met in the match for the central title. One-time winners, St John’s dominated the 20-minute game with more than 17 minutes played in the Epworth half.

Epworth managed to break with two appearances in the St John’s D. The second was the game changer. As time ticked away, Epworth earned a short corner in the final 90 seconds. As game time was up, the ball was accidentally lifted, with the umpire awarding Epworth a second short corner.

Set play

The vice-captain, Summer Rutherford moved in from pushing the ball in, standing firmly near the post. The ball came rocketing back towards her from the castle, with Rutherford calmly nudging the ball in in a brilliant piece of set play.

The next two tournaments take place this coming weekend with the Durban North Regional at Crawford La Lucia and the Durban Central Regional at the 3 Schools Trust Astro hosted by Durban Girls’ High School.

Results
Pietermaritzburg Central Regional
1 Epworth; 2 St Johns; 3 Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High; 4 Carter High School; 5= Russell High School; 5= Alexandra High School; 7 Maritzburg Christian School.

Pietermaritzburg Northern Regional
1 St Anne’s College; 2 The Wykeham Collegiate; 3 Treverton; 4= Voortrekker High School; Howick High School; 6 Grace College.