Hilton outshine school hockey big-guns

2014-07-22 00:00

HILTON College have quietly gone about their hockey business this season with some outstanding results.

Despite being just over one third the size comparatively with the Big Three of Maritzburg College, Glenwood and Westville in pupil numbers, hockey teams, hockey numbers, hockey base and talent, Hilton have surprised all.

While the SA Schools ranking system has Hilton College at around five, which in itself is highly credible, the local KZN results of the top 10 ranked schools portrays a different picture.

“Hilton College first team are definitely number one in KZN,” says coach Jock Coombes.

Their results against the big guns over the last six weeks of the second term have been heroic for a team seen as the underdogs. They lost to College 2-3 and Hilton were disappointed in this result believing they could have shared the spoils but for some finer tactical detail and a few players being a little off their game on the day.

Having corrected this, they then went on to beat Glenwood 5-3 in a game that had both teams missing goals, Glenwood eventually getting two soft goals and Hilton being deserved winners.

A 3-1 victory over KZN powerhouse Westville followed. “Westville were never really in it, their goalkeeper saving a number of times to keep them alive during the first 20 minute period,” said Coombes. “We dominated tactically, never allowing Westville to get into their game and were well deserved winners against the SA top ranked school.”

In between tackling the big names, Hilton routed Clifton 7-1 in a fantastic display of controlled hockey.

“We also beat Michaelhouse 4-0 in the end of season derby day at Hilton College against a team known for their defensive structure and goalkeeping,” said Coombes.

Hilton, having lost their first two games of the season while missing a number of their top players on exchange overseas and to national tennis and squash tournaments, then only lost to Maritzburg College.

Darryn Gallagher, the SA U21 and Northwood coach, who has seen Hilton in early-season festivals and against Northwood, recognised the talent of Ross Schreuder, Jaryd Edy, ­Julian Yeats, Mudiwa Llobell and Ross Talmage.

“Others who stood out through the season were Gareth Obery and Michael Greig. But in respect of the Hilton playing style, every player had a role and function to achieve the level of play and results that Hilton have.”

Provincially and nationally, Hilton have also stood proud. Ross Talmage, Edy and Llobell were selected to the SA U18B team. Y eats was a late promotion to the U18A side, while in the Inland U18B team Schreuder was the stand-out player with 12 field goals and a number of assists in captaining the team to winning this section.

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