On Sunday, March 3, 13 Pietermaritzburg hockey teams will take to the astroturf in two regional titles in the 9th SPAR School Girls’ Hockey Challenge.
PMB North Regional champs, St Anne’s DSG will be setting their sights on retaining their title as they battle it out with five other teams at host school The Wykeham Collegiate. Down in the valley, the PMB Central Regionals will be hosted by St John’s DSG, where defending champs Epworth will attempt to retain their regional title.
Captain of St Anne’s first hockey XI Georgina Baker, left, is eager to lead her team out on to the field as they battle it out with TWC, Grace College, Treverton, Voortrekker and Howick High in a bid to retain their regional crown.
The 17-year-old Grade 12 pupil has a true passion for sport, holding the prestigious title of “Sportswoman of the Year” at St Anne’s in 2017. Besides a love for outdoor hockey, Georgina also plays indoor hockey, squash and soccer. She currently plays for the KZN U18A hockey team and was also selected for the KZN U18B squash squad but unfortunately was unable to go on tour.
Hailing from Nottingham Road, the gutsy centre back started playing hockey in Grade 1 at Clifton Nottingham Road, and says she loves playing hockey as it is a team sport, and she enjoys that team atmosphere. “But I also enjoy the healthy competition on the pitch,” she laughs.
Georgina, who is quite at home playing sport or in the classroom, has colours for hockey, squash and academics. She hopes to study business science or occupational therapy when she leaves school, preferably at UCT. “My favourite subject is life science, because I find learning about the human body and evolution, as well as the environment, very interesting,” she says.
With the adrenaline pumping as she shoots for goal, or whacks a squash ball, Georgina finds time to quieten down by playing the piano, as she says, “it takes my mind off things”.
Georgina’s three other siblings all enjoy sport, and she is particularly proud of her brother Murray who played provincial squash, hockey and cricket last year.
She cites Roger Federer as her sporting role model. “I look up to the way he conducts himself both on and off the court,” she says. “He is always humble and grateful in both his wins and defeats, and is always respectful of his opponent. That is something to truly aspire to.”
In the competitive world of sport, Georgina says that the best bit of inspirational advice she has received from her coach is, “Never be complacent and practice like you play”.
No wonder then, that she lives by the words of her father, “it’s all about the mind”.
*The Pietermaritzburg North Regionals take place on Sunday, March 3 at The Wykeham Collegiate.
*For more info, visit the SPAR School Girls’ Hockey Facebook page.
In the main picture: Placing the 89th and 90th ball on the pyramid of balls, representing the overall number of tournaments played in the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge, are captains representing hosts schools The Wykeham Collegiate, Jade Brandis, and Kelsey Dellar from St John’s DSG. Jumping into action are Cara Waud, captain of Epworth, and Grace Kitshoff from St Anne’s.
Picture: Jonathon Burton.