DURBAN Girls’ College successfully defended its title for the eighth year, in the Durban Central Regional of the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge on Saturday.
College met the surprise package of St Henry’s in the regional final, and thanks to an Emma Sharratt goal, College retained their title with a 1-0 victory against the host school.
Leading up to the finals, College kept a flawless scorecard throughout the day, notching up the maximum of 24 points after their six round robin games.
“This tournament is always a really good one. Nice competitive hockey was played throughout the day, with our final being somewhat challenging as St Henry’s had improved a lot and were impressive on the field,” said Kerry Gaze, coach of the winning team, which comprised mostly of players who had been in the first XI last year.
Engelie Maas, St Henry’s coach, who has coached teams in every one of the 8 annual tournaments, said: “It is an amazing sporting festival, and St Henry’s did us so proud. The girls played with a lot of heart, spirit and soul. This was a great event to take part in just before leaving for Ireland for a week’s tour, which includes a training session with Ireland’s goalkeeper, David Fitzgerald.”
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The announcement for the team which College were to face in the regional final proved to be exciting as Durban Girls’ High School had the possibility of taking second spot on the log, but they needed to beat Maris Stella in the last pool game. The game went down to the wire with Girls’ High surging forward, attack after attack but unable to beat the defence. Going into the final round robin game, the tacticians were hard at work. Had Girls’ High won, they would have ended tie on points with St Henry’s. The round robin game between Girls’ High and St Henry’s ended in a well contested goalless draw, which would have meant that goals scored would have been taken into account.
Two teams that displayed tremendous spirit during the day were Ridge Park College and Inanda Seminary. Both teams have upped their skills and knowledge of the game which bodes well for their future. Most Promising Umpire was Sethu Sithole representing Durban Girls’ High School.
Durban Girls’ College is the fourth team to secure their berth at the Grand Finals which takes place in July at St Mary’s DSG. College joins two teams that have seven appearances at the Grand Finals, St Anne’s Diocesan (PMB Northern Regional) and Ferrum Hoërskool (Northern KZN Regional), and newcomers Epworth School (PMB Central Regional).
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