Wembley Win After Eight Years

Wrap Up for the Umvoti, uThukela and Umzinyathi Regional
Wembley College: Saturday 8 May
A joyous performance by host school, Wembley College saw them winning the Umvoti, uThukela and Umzinyathi Regional of the SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge on Saturday 8 May.
Wembley College won the inaugural tournament in 2011 but have since not managed to top the podium. In the regional final they took on the 2019 Defending Champs, a young Wartburg Kirchdorf team. Wartburg who have dominated this region with six wins, were luckily to have advanced through to the regional final after a spectacular performance by Domino Servite on the turf, the Tech Officials did the counting for goal differences to see who would be the team to feature against Wembley.
At the whistle, Wembley showed their intention as they charged from the middle into Wartubrg territory. A revitalised and focused Wartburg then got into gear and turned over the play and took the game straight down to Wembley’s circle. 40 seconds into the game, and the umpire blew the first short corner, for Wartburg. Wartburg’s first attack was not successful, with the keeper booting out a soft attempt. Two minutes later, Wartburg had their second short corner, but again were unable to capitalise.
Play pivoted Wembley’s way with a few chances up at the Wartburg goals, but a Wartburg solid defence, and missed Wembley opportunities meant the scoreline was still on zero each. Nearing ten minutes of play, a fast solo-break by Ncuthukazi Dlatu from Wartburg chasing towards the Wembley keeper, with only one player to beat, agonising watched as the ball got away from her and shot out of play over the line.
The remainder of play bounced between the two teams 22s, with Wembley claiming more possession than Wartburg. Both teams were unable to net any of their chances in their opponent’s circles until Wembley desperately knocked the ball from close to the 22 and managed to find a Wartburg foot. As the clock ticked to zero, the umpire signalled a Wembley short corner. With pressure mounting, Wembley pushed the ball out to the top of the D and fired off a hurried flick that was easily defended and cleared. Full time with the scoreboard not having moved.
The game moved to a three-person penalty shootout. First to go was Dlatu for Wartburg who fired off her shot as soon as she set foot into the circle, with the ball whizzing past the right post not giving much work for Wembley’s keeper, Sinegugu ‘Sne’ Ngcobo. Next to go was Wembley’s Vice Captain, Leah Tedder who tried valiantly but was unable to shake Wartburg’s Marissa van der Spuy defence. Wartburg’s Lise-Lea Engelbrecht was unable to bypass the brave charge of Ngcobo who determinedly booted the ball well out of play. Kristen Steyn kept her ball close to her as she advanced for Wembley, just managing to skirt around van der Spuy and with a tight angle tapped the ball into the Wartburg goal, giving her team the big break. Wartburg’s Khanya Mhlophe’s attempt went much the way of Dlatu, as she stepped into the circle, fired off a shot that was easily deflected by a waiting Ngcobo.
“The girls came into the tournament with the desire to win today, and they did it. It is a really good feeling. And this is the first time since 2011, so makes it very special for us!” said a delighted Wembley coach, Gareth Larkan.
Wembley earning the win, 1-0 and the Regional Title for the second time in the Take Two of the Milestone celebratory tenth year. They are the second team this year to be crowned, joining Danville Park Girls’ High School from the Durban North Regional.
The highly contested Highway Regional followed the Umvoti, uThukela and Umzinyathi Regional on Sunday at Curro Hillcrest where St Mary’s D.S.G. took the honours, with another five more regionals rolling out in May, and the final two taking place in early June.
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