Pongola: Saturday 25 February
Ferrum High Claims Back Regional Title in SPAR KZN
It was a day that young hockey players had to really dig deep to sustain their games in sweltering heat in the first of the regionals in the 2017 SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge which saw Ferrum High School reclaim the Northern Regional title.
Defending champions Sarel Cilliers were unable to hold onto the cup, which they scooped from Ferrum last year, who have now been crowned champions six times in this region.
Participating teams included Newcastle High School, Ferrum High School and St Dominics also from Newcastle, Utrecht High School, Dundee High School, Vryheid High School, Pionier High School (Vryheid) and Pongola Akademie.
The twenty-four minute games, were played in two pools with Ferrum topping the log of Pool A, meeting Pool B runners-up, host school Pongola Akademie in the first semi-final. The second semi had Pool A’s Pionier taking on Dundee, who topped Pool B.
Dundee were outright winners of their pool finishing their three games with 10 points having drawn against Pongola in the pool game. Pongola were two points behind them having drawn two of their games.
Ferrum were clear dominators having won all of their games. The battle for second place was down to the wire with Sarel Cilliers and Pionier equal on nine points. The deciding factor was goal difference, and Pionier had to score more than two in their final game against Newcastle.
Pionier’s centre forward, Lara Dedekind, stormed down the middle of the field smashing a shot from the top of the circle landing their second needed goal in their last match to secure their place in the semis. Inspired by success the team continued to net another four more goals taking the final score to 6 – 0.
The first semi saw Pongola taking on Ferrum with Ferrum scoring their goal in the first half, and Pongola defended valiantly throughout the remainder of the game only having a few opportunities at the other end which they were not able to convert.
In the second semi-final, Dundee met Pionier for the first time in over a decade, and Dedekind netted another two for her team in between goals landed by team mates Johanette Wilken and Anlie Knoetze.
In the blazing sun, Pionier and Ferrum met for the finals with evenly matched play, as both sides had opportunities on either end. Earlier on in the day the two teams that had battled it out with Ferrum conquering Pionier 2-1.
As the clock wound down in the final, left wing Lucrecia Struwig managed to beat the last line of the opposition’s sterling defense – goalie Lorma Janse van Rensburg to nudge the ball in. In the last minute of play, Pionier fought courageously being awarded with back-to-back short corners but were unable to equalize.
Captain of the winning team Sunny Mngni, elated with the win said “We had to really work hard and persevere, especially when our energy levels were really low, but we held onto our motto Believe, Motivate and Communicate to get us through.”
The Most Promising Umpire was Que Mdletshe, representing Dundee High School.
Our 2017 tournament is well and truly under way with the fantastic community spirit both on and off the field, it always is a festive way to start our year.” said Les Galloway Tournament Director.
Max Oliva, Managing Director of SPAR KZN said “Well done to the teams that gave their all despite the relentless heat. We appreciate your dedication to your teams and schools, and to the camaraderie shown throughout the day.”
Ferrum High school is the first team through to the grand finals which will be played at St Mary’s DSG in Durban at the end of July.
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1 Ferrum High School, 2 Pionier High School, 3 Dundee High School, 4 Pongola High School, 5 Sarel Cilliers High School, 6 Vryheid High School, 7 St Dominics College, 8 Utrecht High School, 9 Newcastle High School