Hockey season of changing fortunes

2008-09-01 00:00

The 2008 schoolboy hockey competition was far more evenly-contested than in the recent past as sides who started strongly lost momentum while others improved after a poor start.

After the Easter festivals, it appeared as though Michaelhouse were going to be the top side in the province. They were then soundly beaten by Kearsney College who then looked like the side to beat in KwaZulu-Natal. However, once the dust had settled, it was Maritzburg College who emerged the top team after they had started badly.

Maritzburg College

Maritzburg College played 19 matches in total, winning 11, losing six and drawing two. Against KZN teams they played 10 games with eight victories. The only local side they lost to was, surprisingly, DHS and they drew with Michaelhouse. Most significantly they beat Kearsney 3-0 and beat Hilton twice.

Against KZN schools College scored 40 goals with nine against. Their biggest win was against Glenwood where they won 9-0. Their most prolific goal-scorer was Jared Mitchell.

The College goalkeeper, Thuthuka Goba, who was selected for the SA U18, was one of the reasons why College had so few goals scored against them.

Kearsney College

Kearsney were the next best as they played a total of 23 matches, winning 18, losing two and drawing three. Against KZN schools, Kearsney won six and lost two, with one draw. The losses were against College and Hilton although they beat Hilton in the first meeting. The one draw was against DHS.

In local school matches Kearsney scored 31 goals with 16 against. Kearsney predictably beat Pinetown 12-0 for their biggest win.

Three players were the main goal-scorers during the season: Richard Pentecost, Greg Last and Keegan Eccles, who was also selected for the SA U18.

Michaelhouse

Michaelhouse will be disappointed that they could not maintain the initial momentum through the season. In total, 18 matches were played of which 13 were won and four lost. Against local KZN schools, nine games were played, with five wins, three losses and one draw against College.

Michaelhouse thumped Affies 12-1, which was their biggest margin of victory and they beat Glenwood 10-1 for the biggest win against a KZN school. In a number of games Michaelhouse dominated play, but their goal-scoring let them down.

They lost twice to Hilton and the other was the shock 1-5 loss against Kearsney. Michaelhouse scored 31 goals with 20 against local schools, slightly worse than that of Kearsney. Jason Trautman was the chief goal-scorer. Two players David Zwemke and Clinton Panther were selected for the SA U18 team.

Hilton

Hilton had a strange season as they beat both Kearsney and Michaelhouse, but lost twice against College. In all they played 19 matches, winning 14, losing four and drawing the other.

Against KZN sides they played 10 matches, with seven wins and three losses. Having lost to Kearsney in their first meeting, they came back well to beat them in the second match.

They scored 38 goals against local opposition with 21 goals against. The biggest win was against Northwood, who they beat 9-0.

DHS

DHS was the next best side as they won four of their nine matches against KZN schools. Overall they played 17 matches winning seven, losing seven and drawing the other three. DHS surprised College, beating them 3-1, and they did well to hold Kearsney to a goalless draw.

The two players who scored the majority of their goals were Clinton Clothier and Njabulo Mgenge. In all they scored 16 goals against KZN schools with 17 against.

Glenwood

Glenwood were arguably the next best and their improvement from being the weakest side in 2007 to be the sixth side in 2008 can be put down to the Tiger Turf surface that they share with Durban Girls’ High and Penzance Primary.

They won six of the 18 matches played in the season with 10 losses. Against KZN teams they won just two games of the 10 played with seven losses and a draw. The two matches won were against Northwood and Westville, both early in the season. Only nine goals were scored with 40 against them in the local KZN fixtures.

Westville

Westville will be disappointed with their season, particularly as they showed that they could be competitive. Overall they played 13 games, winning four and losing the other nine. Against KZN teams, they won two of the six games played with 10 goals for and 22 against.

The two local sides beaten were Clifton and DHS. As the latter had beaten College and Glenwood, Westville probably should have done better this season. Their biggest defeat was 2-6 against Kearsney and thus they were probably more competitive in their matches than Glenwood, but Glenwood did beat them.

St Charles

St Charles were not able to beat another KZN school, but they did draw against Clifton and Northwood. Against the better schools they were competitive, with their biggest loss being 1-3 against both Hilton and Michaelhouse. Against Kearsney they lost 1-2, showing that they have also made a marked improvement since their artificial surface has been in use.

Northwood

Northwood has arguably been the biggest disappointment, as after showing progress in 2007, they did not have a good season this year. They also did not win one match against local opposition with their best result a 1-1 draw against St Charles.

Clifton

Clifton was probably the next best in the province and as they play more matches against the established schools they will undoubtedly improve.

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