After two days of diverse weather at the 99th overall KZN schoolgirls hockey tournament, 29 games were played with a total of 72 goals being scored in 710 minutes of passionate first team schoolgirls’ hockey at its finest.
The first tournament in 2020 rolls the tournament counter over to the milestone of 100. Namibian, Kiana Cormack netted a cracker of a goal that earned her team, St Mary’s DSG, the title of the 2019 SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge for the fifth time in a 1- 0 win against St Anne’s College. With just over 12 minutes in the second half remaining, Captain Cormack of the host school was lurking at the top of the castle ready to pounce on the injection of the second short corner of the game. After a clean stop, the captain swung into action, firing in a tournament winning drag flick that rocketed into the top right hand corner beyond the out-stretched gloves of St Anne’s keeper, Ella Thorburn.
A jubilant captain explained, “I don’t usually score drag flicks so this is the first tournament where I actually pulled it off. I wasn’t expecting it, nobody was but it felt right from the moment I released it and it was a phenomenal feeling watching it go.
We went out there knowing it was going to be a tough game – they always are against St Anne’s but it actually was a lot of fun, exciting and intense. For both teams there was some amazing moments of hockey and I don’t think any of us really knew we would take the win today!”
St Mary’s dominated most of the gold medal game, with St Anne’s getting a few runs down to the other end when they had space. In the first half, a surge saw St Anne’s hitting the left upright with a drag flick attempt in the first five minutes of the game. In a last gasp attempt, Lusanda Mtshali broke away mid field, striding towards the circle. On the very tip of the circle, her charge was agonizingly stopped by a St Mary’s defender’s foot, the whistle blowing with three seconds on the clock. As the offence happened outside the circle, Mtshali’s valiant effort fell centimeters short from an extra time short corner.
In the bronze medal game, Durban Girls’ College met Epworth School for the second year running at the Grand Finals. Only 10 minutes were left when Grade 11 star, Bulelwa Mzimela was perfectly in place for a fantastic base line run and a quick fire pass up to Mzimela waiting on the P who confidently tapped in her shot to take the win for the local team.
College added to their impressive history in this tournament, notching up their first third this year after nine Grand Final appearances. Their name appears on the trophy three times and they also have three silvers and two fourths from previous years. In the first semi- final, St Anne’s met Epworth for an all round Maritzburg game.
Sophie Rebeck and Lusanda Mtshali scored for St Anne’s landing them a 2- 0 victory giving them their third opportunity in the main game at the Grand Finals. In the inaugural tournament in 2011, they earned themselves gold with a silver in last year’s tournament.
In the second semi-final, St Mary’s took on local rival, Durban Girls’ College. College held off St Mary’s for most of the first half but in the final minute, Cerian Fourie netted her team’s first. Cormack advanced the scoring to 2-0 and Fourie got her second of the game to take the game away from College with the final score of 3-0.
Justin Collins, coach for Crawford said, “ It was an incredible experience that was combined with a professional environment on and off the field! Everything ran like clockwork and the standard of hockey was great! Massive thank you to SPAR and the organising committee.”
- St Mary’s DSG
- St Anne’s College
- Durban Girls’ College
- Epworth School
- Crawford La Lucia
- Kokstad College
- Felixton College
- Ferrum High School
- Wartburg Kirchdorf School
- Amanzimtoti High School