Grantleigh Take The North Coast Regional

SPAR KZN Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge
North Coast Regional
Grantleigh College: Saturday 21 May
For the fifth consecutive regional final, host school Grantleigh College met Felixton College in the North Coast Regional, the last of the ten KZN regionals of the SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge held on Saturday 21 May at Grantleigh’s astro.
In their previous clashes since 2017, both teams have raised the trophy twice. In their fifth regional final bout, Grantleigh managed a hard-earned victory. It was their second meeting of the day against the determined visitors, the top two teams met in the opening game of the tournament, when the heavens opened dumping bucket loads of water on the field. In a drenched start, the first round went in favour of Grantleigh.
Games were reduced to fifteen minutes each with the deluge threatening for the entire day to be postponed. Fortunately for the seven teams, the rain didn’t stop play and the weather cleared up.
After a cautious start by both teams in the tense final, Grantleigh started to build pressure on Felixton after 8 minutes of play. The home team got into their stride taking the game up towards the Felixton goal.
Grantleigh had been taking runs at the Felixton defense for a couple of minutes, sending play down their favoured right-hand side. A break through saw Kelly Braithwaite being in the right spot at the right time as she was left unmarked in the middle of the Felixton circle. Camping out on the penalty spot, Braithwaite received a gift of an opportunity when the ball rolled straight to her from one of her team’s advances. Calmly balancing herself and not hesitating, she slapped the ball in for Grantleigh’s first goal.
In a steadfast and unwavering display, not giving up – the visiting team had a fantastic passage of play going on the offensive. Three minutes after Grantleigh scored, Felixton were awarded a short corner. The ball was pushed short to the first player on the D, stopping it cleanly and quickly, Chanel Naidoo let off her attempt from just inside the circle. Grantleigh’s keeper, Zime Maxase didn’t have any problems stopping the shot, and not wasting any time, she efficiently got the ball away from the goal mouth. Unfortunately, the swift clearance found a Felixton attacker who got the second phase of play underway, moving the ball smoothly to her player on the post. In a decisive deflection, Amanda Mthembu helped the precise pass in, earning the all-important leveller. The score now was 1 all with just under 9 minutes left of play.
As time slipped away, both teams persevered in their quest for the regional winning goal but as the final whistle blew, the score was still level with both teams netting only the one goal each. The regional final moved to a penalty shoot-out where three players from each team would individually have a chance against the opposition’s keeper.
In the six rounds of the penalty shoot-outs, the scoreboard remained unchanged with all six attempts either going wide or being well defended by the alert keepers. The game then went to the next level, sudden death. Felixton led the charge with Naidoo making her way goalwards, as she neared Grantleigh’s keeper, she craftily tried to slip in her attempt, but her shot was fired directly at the keeper, Maxase, who neatly cleared it out of the danger zone.
Next to go, with home turf and home crowd advantage, Grantleigh’s Braithwaite cruised up with the ball. As she entered the circle, she veered right and after a couple of paces, knocked in a rocket that was just out of reach of Felixton’s keeper, Sena Mhlaba, her goal claiming victory for her beloved team.
Chatting after the game, Captain for Grantleigh College, Kayla Hassard shared, “We had a very good tournament, and played well throughout the day. Our structure was good, and everything that we have been working on we were able to achieve, and we proved what we are capable of. Felixton are our main rivals in this area and in today’s game they made us work hard for our win. I am extremely proud of our shoot out and how well Zime and Kelly did in the sudden death.”
Sisanda Juqu from Grantleigh College was awarded Umpire of the Day.
Hoisting the trophy for the fifth time, Grantleigh have earned the final ticket to the Grand Finals where they will meet nine other KZN regional winners at St Mary’s D.S.G. in Kloof on 23 and 24 July.
North Coast Regional winner, Grantleigh College join Pionier Hoërskool (Northern KZN Regional); St Anne’s College (PMB North Regional); St John’s D.S.G. (PMB Central Regional); Our Lady of Fatima (DBN North Regional); St Mary’s D.S.G. (Highway Regional); Kuswag Hoërskool (DBN South Regional); King Edward High School (Ugu and Sisonke Regional); Domino Servite (uMvoti and oThukela Regional) and Durban Girls’ College (Durban Central Regional) at the Grand Finals.
For more info like the tournament’s Facebook page or follow on Instagram.
1 Grantleigh College 24 points; 2 Felixton College 20 points; 3 Empangeni High School 10 points; 4 St Catherine’s School 6 points; 5 Eshowe High School 4 points; = 6 John Ross College 3 points; = 6 Richards Bay Christian School 3 points
Felixton 0 vs Grantleigh 1
St Catherine’s 0 vs Eshowe 0
Empangeni 0 vs Richards Bay Christian School 0
Felixton 3 vs John Ross 0
Eshowe 0 vs Empangeni 0
Grantleigh 2 vs St Catherine’s 0
Felixton 2 vs Empangeni 0
John Ross 0 vs Grantleigh 4
Richards Bay Christian School 1 vs Eshowe 1
Felixton 3 vs St Catherine’s 0
Empangeni 0 vs Grantleigh 1
John Ross 0 vs Richards Bay Christian School 0
Felixton 2 vs Eshowe 1
Richards Bay Christian School 0 vs Grantleigh 5
St Catherine’s 0 vs John Ross 0
Eshowe 0 vs Grantleigh 5
John Ross 0 vs Empangeni 1
Richards Bay Christian School 0 vs St Catherine’s 2
Eshowe 0 vs John Ross 0
Felixton 2 vs Richards Bay Christian School 0
St Catherine’s 0 vs Empangeni 1
Final: Grantleigh 1 (1) vs Felixton 0 (1)

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