The two defending champs stood firm in gloomy, grey weather at the first two regionals of the ninth year of the SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge.
Yesterday, 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.
The first team to secure their spot in the 2019 Grand Finals, and for the eighth time, continuing their dominance in this area, 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 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 2.
In this regional final, it took St Anne’s 3 and a half minutes to net their first goal with feisty Lusanda Mtshali opening her teams account with a scramble at the goals. Scoring the second goal for Saints was Kiara McLuckie who was camping at the near post, slotting in a nudge 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 knocked in a determined shot from the center of the circle, running the ball down the middle, through several defenders and through the last line of defence, slotting a simple but handsome goal.
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.”
“Emma’s goal against Voortrekker is the standout goal for me. It is something we have been chatting about; getting the ball from one side to the other. We started on the left, moved the play to the right and then finished it on the left. So that was very satisfying to see the girls moving the ball around. We only had one goal scored against us and that was in the Treverton game early on. I think they deserved that goal against us, it was a really good goal that they caught us napping but overall, we are very happy with how the day went.”
Down the hill, defending champs Epworth and hosts St John’s D.S.G. met in the gold silver game for the central title. One times winners, St John’s dominated the 20-minute game with over 17 minutes played in the Epworth half. Epworth managed to break with two appearances in the St John’s D. The second one was the game changer. As time frantically ticked down, Epworth earned themselves a short corner in the final 90 seconds. As game time was up, the ball was accidentally lifted, with umpire re-awarding Epworth with a second short corner. The vice-captain, Summer Rutherford moved in from pushing the ball in, standing firmly near the post. The ball came rocketing towards her from the castle, with Rutherford calmly nudging the ball in a brilliant piece of set play.
Umpire of the Day for the northern tournament was Conor Killeen representing The Wykeham Collegiate and Epworth’s Sibusiso Malinga who has officiated at this regional before.
The next two tournaments take place this coming weekend with the Durban North Regional happening at Crawford La Lucia and the Durban Central Regional at the 3 Schools Trust Astro hosted by Durban Girls’ High School.
For more information on the tournament like the Facebook page or follow on Instagram.
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, 4= Howick High School, 6 Grace College
Photo by Rogan Ward above:
Wet wet wet! In very wet conditions, Howick High’s defender Caitlin Vermeulen bravely attempts to block The Wykeham Collegiate Captain and midfielder, Jade Brandis as she fires in a shot during their round-robin game at the Pietermaritzburg Northern Regional of the ninth SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge that took place at TWC yesterday (3 March). St Anne’s won this regional 4-0 against TWC.