SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge
Pietermaritzburg Central Regional
Pietermaritzburg Girls High School: Saturday 10 March
The second tournament of the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge welcomes a new regional winner after Epworth School dethroned the defending champions in the Pietermaritzburg Central Regional that took place at Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School on Saturday 10 March.
Epworth School took on defending champs, St John’s DSG in the first pool game of the day and in the final. At the end of both whistles, the scoreline was unchanged with neither team managing to net a goal. In both, St John’s held slightly more possession, firing off a handful of unsuccessful chances not finding the back of the net.
In the main game, the hanging result went to a penalty shoot out with three players from each team lining up in an attempt to seal the win for their team. St John’s DSG bravely stepped up first, with Christin Stubbs’ attack shaving the outside of the post. Epworth’s Tayla-Jade Weiss stepped up to the plate, charging forward and edging the ball into the goals. In a replay of their first attempt, St John’s second shot taken by Laiken Peters sadly also shaved the outside of the upright. Epworth’s Emma-Jane Smythe advanced determinedly, drawing the St John’s keeper Courtney Dyssell right, and successfully rolling the ball under Dyssell’s defensive dive.
In the final round of the 8 second penalties, both attempts didn’t find the back of the box. The final score was 2-0 in Epworth’s favour.
Coach for Epworth, Kegan Walters said, “This was my first time coaching the team and within this tournament, so I am very pleased with their win. This is a new team with loads of talent, and enthusiasm and we are getting to a point where we are playing exciting hockey. They fared very well, considering this was their second time playing together, after a tough match against St Mary’s on Thursday last week. We are hoping that loads of positive things come from this.”
St John’s DSG coach Lyndall ‘Binks’ Robertson said, “The team played positively, but at the end of the day you have to put the ball in the back of the box. I was pleased with how they played, it was a good pre-season start and we are excited about the league season ahead.”
The tournament had the format of pool games, with the top two teams of both pools squaring off in the semi-finals. First up were 2017 winners, St John’s who met Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School. Girls’ High had dominated the region winning the title six consecutive times since it’s inception. Paige McGladdery from St John’s knocked in the only goal, advancing her team to the finals.
In the second semi, Epworth took on Howick High School. Emma-Ane Smythe and Emily Cobbald both netted goals for their team, Epworth with the final whistle resulting in a 2-0 win.
68 goals were scored in the twelve pool games that lasted 25 minutes each, with a change over after 12 minutes.
Stars of the day were newcomers Newton High School who in their defeat showed magnificent team spirit throughout the day.
Most Promising Umpire was awarded to Howick High School’s May Mazibuko. A very strict Mazibuko officiated the final in fine fashion, flashing a green card in the second half.
Epworth School joins winners of the Northern KZN Regional Ferrum High School, the first team to advance through to the Grand Finals. The next tournament takes place at 3 Schools Trust this coming weekend with St Henry’s hosting the Durban Central Regional.
1 Epworth School, 2 St John’s DSG, 3= Pietermaritzburg High School, 3= Howick High School, 5 Alexandra High School, 6 Russel High School, 7 Maritzburg Christian College, 8 Newtown High School