SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge
Durban North Regional: Saturday 9 March
Perseverance most certainly paid off for the determined host school, Crawford La Lucia achieving their first Durban North Regional title in the nine year history of the SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge that took place this weekend (Saturday 9 March).
Crawford La Lucia met previous two times regional winners, Danville Park Girls’ High in the gold silver game where the final score ended 1 nil in favour of Crawford. From the get-go Crawford dominated, not allowing Danville any room to get into their usual flowing, attacking stride. Crawford spent majority of the 20minute game camped out in the Danville half, earning themselves plenty of short corners for their efforts. In the sixth short corner midway through the game, Crawford La Lucia capitalised on a well-crafted set piece, as the ball was pushed straight up to the castle, the ball was then moved left with captain Rachel Wilkinson steadying herself, faking a pass and then stepping into a superb flick resulting in the ball rocketing into the top left corner of goal.
The remainder of the game, Crawford La Lucia displayed dazzling stick work, with sneaky passes through Danville legs, valiantly defending when needed and ending their efforts with an industrious victory.
Leading to the final, Danville met Ashton College in the first semi-final. Danville dominated the game with Ashton courageously defending. Danville worked hard to get three short corners but were unable to penetrate the solid Ashton defence. The game then proceeded to a penalty shootout with three players each stepping up to the spot. Both Tatum Kroutz and Captain, Chloe Wittstock netted their attempts for Danville with Michelle van der Linde and Kaitlin Damant matching their goals, keeping the score level. The final round saw both Tayla Davis from Danville and Ashton’s Rouxle Johnstone miscue their shots. The game then progressed to sudden death where Kroutz calmly stepped up to the spot first. Powering down the centre, the pocket-rocket rounded the keeper, taking the score up to 3. Van der Linde cruised in, drawing Danville’s keeper, Nothando Nzuza a few steps off her line. Nzuza, narrowing the angle stood up firm as van der Linde pushed the ball in, but Nzuza safely deflected the ball right of her post.
In the second semi-final Fatima met Crawford La Lucia. Using the home turf advantage, Crawford had slightly more possession in the 20 minutes, with the game flowing up and down between the two goals. Wilkinson netted her teams winning goal with a fantastic reverse stick shot with just over 14 minutes played.
Coach for Crawford La Lucia, Justin Collins stated after the prize giving, “It has been a real privilege to be a part of the tournament again. It has been a fantastic day out with a lot of competitive hockey being played. It has been inspiring to see the talent on hand and we were fortunate to come out as winners. It is good progress for the start of our season and certainly, with this win we are going in the right direction.”
“Danville is a very good team, we knew what system they were going to play so it was nice to actually turn that around. We didn’t give them any chance to keep the ball or get out their own circle. We applied pressure from the whistle, and we managed to come out winners, which is great. We are really, really happy with this success.”
Brent Phillips from Crawford La Lucia was deemed the Umpire of the Day. He received his award at prize giving and dashed off to officiate another game at Riverside as a favour owed to his father.
Securing their spot for the Grand Finals, Crawford La Lucia join the two Pietermaritzburg teams that have already earned their ticket. The first team to earn their spot was St Anne’s College (Pietermaritzburg North Regional) and Epworth School (Pietermaritzburg Central Regional).
On Sunday 10 March, nine teams take to the 3 Schools Trust Astro to thrash it out in the Durban Central Regional. Thereafter, six regionals remain in the 2019 KZN tournament.
Results:
1 Crawford La Lucia, 2 Danville Park Girls’ High, 3 Our Lady of Fatima, 4 Ashton College, 5 Northlands Girls’ High, 6 Reddam House uMhlanga, 7 Durban North College, 8 Crawford North Coast
For more info like the tournament’s Facebook page or follow their Instagram account.