Robin Jones in Coach seat for St Annes College
SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge
PMB Central Regional: Saturday 10 March at PMB Girls’ High
PMB Northern Regional: Sunday 11 March at St Anne’s College
An interview with Robin Jones, SA Indoor player and Coach for the first team at St Anne’s Diocesan College, Hilton.
“Incredible, cold, fantastic! What an experience!”
This is how SA Indoor player, Robin Jones from Pietermaritzburg, described his recent experience in Berlin two weeks ago where he competed in the FIH Indoor World Championships.
“It was an eye opener being a part of a hockey culture that is so passionate, and so professional about their sport. My hockey career has allowed me a number of years’ experience in Europe, both competing and living there to grow my skills. But being part of the World Champs this February was something special!”
The defender who has donned the green and gold jersey a total of 70 times, 54 times for the outdoor team and 16 occasions for the indoor side and has travelled far and wide for the game he loves. Collecting passport stamps from Malaysia, Russia, Belgium, Germany, the UK and Argentina to name a few on the growing list of hockey playing countries he has visited.
Rating walking down the tunnel at the Commonwealth Games, the Student Games in Russia in 2013 and of course his international debut against Japan in Argentina as three of his proudest moments in his life.
In the fifth Indoor World Cup, Jones and his team finished eleventh overall. In their pool they faced Austria, Belgium, Iran, Switzerland and Russia, ending their efforts at the bottom of the pool where they took on Kazakhstan in a thrilling playoff for eleventh and twelfth. The score at the final whistle was 6-1 to team RSA.
“We learnt a lot as a team at this tournament, but I would say that two positives for us that we walked away with, netting goals against hockey giants, Austria and Belgium. We managed three goals against World Indoor champions, Austria, and then two against the major hockey playing nation of Belgium. We scored 13 goals in total in our six games and conceded 29 and are looking forward to our next international outing!”
For now, the local hockey star is putting away his playing kit to take up the role of coach for the first team at St Anne’s Diocesan College. “I am really looking forward to this role. The shoes I am filling are big, but I am up for the challenge, replacing Carlos Pereira. It is my opportunity to give back to the sport that has allowed me so much!”
Asked who he most admires, he quickly states, “Roger Federer! Just everything about him is awe-inspiring. His talent, and his morals just make him an easy role model to admire! If I can make just a small impact similar to what some of my coaches have had on me; to instil a passion for sports, then I will be grateful and eternally happy! The camaraderie you get from being part of a hockey family, on top of that the skills and tactics you learn are something special. And I hope to be able to open a few of my players eyes to these possibilities.”
First up for Coach Jones is the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge that they will host in two weeks. “We have a brilliant record in this tournament with six out of seven wins for our region in the history of this popular tournament. Following that we have the St Mary’s tournament in April in Johannaesburg, so an exciting start to my career with the first team at Saints.”
Jones has been a part of the school for a handful of years, coaching the U16s in 2013 and then the second team for outdoor and the first indoor team in previous years. He also recently took on a permanent position on the St Anne’s staff, in the Life Orientation department, concentrating more on the Phys. Ed. side of the subject. Hockey being his first passion, he dabbled in cricket at school, loves to run circles on a squash court, and knocking a golf ball around when he can. And he truly enjoys finding himself on trails, running. “Being outdoors is food for the soul and I strive to encourage all my students to get off their devices and fall in love with the great outdoors.”
He grew up in East London, matriculating from Selbourne a handful of years ago and moved to Pietermaritzburg in March 2013 with his long-time girlfriend, Nadia.
“I am loving the quality of life in Pietermaritzburg, being a part of a phenomenal school that hopefully I can grow with, and I don’t plan on changing anything in the immediate future! I can say that I am really happy with how everything is going right now.”
Next on his hockey playing agenda, the all-rounder will be joining his team mates from around the country for a National Training Camp for outdoor.