Amanzimtoti High School resolutely retained their title making it five titles at the Durban South Regional of the SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge that took place on Sunday 7 April at the 3 Schools Trust Astro.
The defending champs met the surprise package of the tournament, the fantastic zealous team representing New Forest High School, who were making not only their first semi-final appearance but also progressing all the way to the regional final. The game ended 3 nil in favour of Amanzimtoti but not after a valiant, brave and enthusiastic tussle from New Forest.
It took Toti 40 seconds to reveal their hand as they charged down field, displaying their pure determination to keep possession of the ball and the game up in New Forest’s half.
Just shy of 8 minutes into the game, putting her team on the scoreboard, feisty forward, Anani Xozwa scored a killer goal, balancing herself a few feet out from the box, she rocketed a solid shot that deflected off a defenders stick, not giving the New Forest keeper, Tamia Wilde any possibility of stopping the ball as it landed in the top net.
Back in the thick of things, Xozwa teased the defence as she pulled and weaved her way to the edge of the field, knocking the ball goal-wards. The soft attempt got lost in the scramble, the ball brushing Xozwa’s stick on its way to a crowded goal mouth as an unsighted Wilde diverted the ball as it hit the back of her leg, crossing her line giving Toti their second goal.
With the clock winding down, Toti earned a short corner. Injecting from the left side of the field, the ball was rolled out to Tayla Potgieter, who wasted no time in settling the ball and quickly firing in a shot that pummelled the right side of the box giving her team a 3 nil win.
Finishing third was the hard-working team from Kingsway High School. From the get-go, Kingsway’s defence was out of the top drawer. Backed by a fearless keeper, Keisha Tsouros who wasn’t afraid to charge down the ball, saving countless goals. Tsouros and her defence did a superb job during the course of the day. Kingsway met Werda in the bronze medal game where the majority of the game was played between the two 22s. A rare break on either end resulted in fumbles or misses. At full time with the scoreboard not moving, the game progressed to a penalty shoot out to reveal third place.
Kingsway’s Leoni de Beer went first notching up the first goal. She was followed by Amy Rust from Werda who couldn’t round the charging frame of Tsouros. Keely Crocker was next to go for Kingsway and her solid strike met the outstretched right foot of Werda’ keeper, Mikeyla Snyders. Tyralee Meyer was second to go for Werda and her diving attempt went agonisingly past the right hand upright, the score was still 1 nil to Kingsway. In the third round, Kingsway’s Thapelo Moumakwa set off to the right side of the circle, drawing out Snyders. Moumakwa calmly slapped the ball to the right of Snyders watching it all the way as she earner her team a 2 nil victory and third place.
In the Pool A the teams were decided easily as Toti topped the log followed by Werda. Pool B resulted in three teams all being level. As two teams needed to advance to the semi-finals, the three teams were required to have a penalty shoot out. Lining up first was three players each from New Forest and Kuswag with New Forest taking it 2-1. Second round saw three players each from Kuswag and Kingsway and Kingsway taking that 2 to Kuswag’s 1. In the final round was Kingsway and New Forest and which Kingsway also took 2 to New Forest’s 1 forcing out Kuswag from the top four.
Coach for New Forest, Rene Haynes said, “I have no idea what we have done differently to previous years, but everything worked for us today. We have had a fantastic indoor season and I don’t know if that motivated them. We also have a lot of young, new players who have never played before but have taken to the game superbly. It really all came together, the girls tried so hard and I am very, very proud of them! They are extremely chuffed with themselves.”
Werda High School’s Grade 11 Jhontae Meintjes received the “Umpire of the Day” award for the region.
Amanzimtoti High School is the fifth team to secure a spot at the Grand Finals that will take place at St Mary’s DSG in Kloof. They join St Anne’s (PMB North Regional), Epworth School (PMB Central Regional), Crawford La Lucia (DBN North Regional) and Durban Girls’ College (DBN Central Regional). The next regional is this weekend with teams converging for the Southern KZN Regional taking place at Creston College.
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Results
1 Amanzimtoti High School, 2 New Forest High School, 3 Kingsway High School, 4 Werda Skool, 5 Kuswag Hoërskool, 6 Queensburgh Girls’ High School, 7 Grosvenor High School, 8 Invitational High School