The wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits, or the action at the Grand Finals of this year’s SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge with St Mary’s DSG taking the win in determined fashion on their home turf.
Meeting the defending champions, the host school St Mary’s took on Durban Girls’ College in the gold silver game. After thirty minutes of superb flowing play, with both teams sharing equal possession, the score was level on nil nil with the 2016 winner being decided in a penalty shoot-out.
First to go were College, missing their 8 second penalty. Leah Piggott representing Saints was first in line for her team and didn’t manage to capitalise on College’s miss. The final four rolling penalties went Saints way, with College unable to penetrate Sarah Cromie’s solid presence in goals in their two attempts. Vice-Captain for St Mary’s DSG, Tegan Fourie put the first points up on the board, followed up by Kiana Cormack slotting in her team’s second. The final score was 2-0 to Saints.
The two giants of the tournament had met earlier in the pool games with Saints managing to win that game 1-0 with their feisty Vice-Captain netting the all-important goal. In their fifth appearance of the tournament, this is the second time St Mary’s DSG have won. Their first time was in 2012, also tallying up a bronze in 2011 and 2013 and a fourth place last year.
It was not to be for Durban Girls’ College. In their sixth appearance, College were hoping to make this their fourth title in a row, with gold in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The team representing the Durban Central Regional ended their pool games second behind St Mary’s, but tied on points with the hard-working team from King Edward High School. Both College and King Edward finished the pool games on 9points with College advancing to the final having scored more goals.
In the bronze medal game, it was a Pietermaritzburg derby with St Anne’s and Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High duelling it out on the astro. In their second meeting of the tournament, St Anne’s managed to clinch the win to claim bronze. In their first meeting, captain for St Anne’s, Julia Saulez found the back of the net to put her team 1-0 up in an exciting conclusion to the Pool B games.
After half an hour in the bronze final, the whistle went for full time with the score sitting on nil nil. Both teams first attempts didn’t manage to find the back of the net, with Girls’ High second attempt also not troubling the scorers. St Anne’s Daniella Rhodes put her team one up with her penalty shot. Levelling the scores for Girls’ High, Nandi Ngubane gave her team a chance. With the pressure on, St Anne’s Steph Wenke got shut down by goalie, Nox Manele with the score now level.
The game moved on to sudden death with St Anne’s Captain Julia Saulez leading by example and scoring. Then vibrant keeper for St Anne’s, Megan Rebstein-Dovey rose to the occasion, not allowing the first and final shot in the sudden death to pass her, giving her team the title of bronze winners.
Rob Philipson, MD for SPAR KZN stated, “After 29 games this weekend, 160 young ladies can be extremely proud of themselves for their achievement. Each and every one of the players battled the chilly weather and did so superbly. They not only represented their school, but their region with great pride and grace. Well done ladies to your successes at this wonderful tournament.”
A new initiative this year was the inclusion of a hockey bursary by Varsity College. With the decision being extremely difficult this year, the college awarded two bursaries. The announcement was made at the prize giving, with the recipients being invited to study and play for Varsity College. The two bursary winners were Tegan Fourie from St Mary’s DSG and Courtney Slaney from Westville Girls’ High School
At the prize-giving, Tournament Director, Les Galloway said, “Ladies, you entertained us this weekend with a display of phenomenal skill and talent on the turf. To St Mary’s DSG, well done on your win. I believe, looking at the score lines, the standard of hockey is certainly improving in our province. A team like King Edward played impressively keeping hockey playing school, College to a draw. Another outlying school, Wartburg also impressed, giving it their absolute all this year. It is a joy to see our great game of hockey winning at the end of the day!”
1 St Mary’s DSG, 2 Durban Girls’ College, 3 St Anne’s College, 4 Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High, 5 Wartburg Kirchdorf School, 6 King Edward High School, 7 Ashton International College, 8 Grantleigh College, 9 Sarel Cilliers High School, 10 Amanzimtoti High School
St Mary’s DSG 2 vs Grantleigh School 0
Sarel Cilliers High School 0 – King Edward High School 2
St Anne’s DSG 4 – Amanzimtoti High School 0
Wartburg Kirchdorf School 0 – Ashton International College 0
Grantleigh School 0 – Durban Girls’ College 2
St Mary’s DSG 5 – Sarel Cilliers High School 0
Amanzimtoti High School 0 – Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School 1
St Anne’s College 4 – Wartburg Kirchdorf School 0
Durban Girls’ College 0 – King Edward High School 0
Grantleigh School 0 – Sarel Cilliers High School 0
Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High 0 – Ashton International College 0
Amanzimtoti High School 0 – Wartburg Kirchdorf School 2
Sarel Cilliers High School 0 – Durban Girls’ College 5
King Edward High School 0 – St Mary’s DSG 2
Wartburg Kirchdorf School 0 – Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School 1
Ashton International College 1 – St Anne’s College 3
Durban Girls’ College 0 – St Mary’s DSG 1
King Edward High School 2 – Grantleigh School 1
Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School 0 – St Anne’s College 1
Ashton International College 0 – Amanzimtoti High School 0
Grantleigh 0 – Wartburg Kirchdorf School 6
King Edward High School 1 (3) – Ashton International College 1 (2)
Durban Girls’ College 0 (3) – St Anne’s College 0 (2)
St Mary’s DSG 2 – Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School 1
Sarel Cilliers High School 2 – Amanzimtoti High School 0
Grantleigh School 0 – Ashton International College 1
Wartburg Kirchdorf School 1 – King Edward High School 0
St Anne’s DSG 0 (2) – Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School 0 (1)
Durban Girls’ College 0 (0) – St Mary’s DSG 0 (2)