KZN hockey sides impress at schools’ indoor event

2013-12-19 00:00

WHILE KZN Hockey can pat itself on the back for successfully hosting all five Test matches between the SA men’s hockey team and Argentina at various club and provincial venues around Durban and Pietermaritzburg over the past week, there was a KZN coup of another sort playing out at the same time in Cape Town.

New Pro Series Indoor (PSI) hockey franchise, the PMB-based Midlands Stallions, won two age-group divisions at the franchise’s first Nolands PSI Nationals tournament.

Coach Brandon Swart’s Stallions U16 boys’ side, comprising players from Michaelhouse, Maritzburg College and Hilton College, won the Boys’ U16B division gold medal match 4-3 against Highland Scorpions from Boland after trailing 3-1 at half time.

In another nail-biting final, coach Richard Robertson’s Stallions U18 girls’ team, comprising players from Epworth, The Wykeham Collegiate, St Anne’s, Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High and Howick High, won the girls’ U18B division by beating the Durban Tigers 2-1 in a best-of-five showdown after the score was 2-2 at full time.

The B division is the compulsory starting point for new franchise sides.

Well-known at schools’ level both provincially and nationally, Swart teaches at Maritzburg College, Robertson at Hilton College and assistant coach Paul Gonlag at Eston Primary.

The founder of the PSI concept is Cape Town-based former SA goalkeeper Simon Martin, who is a franchise owner and was the seventh Nolands PSI Nationals tournament director last week.

The Stallions franchise was launched in September with a tournament in the KZN capital that attracted 191 boys and girls from PMB and KZN Midlands schools. Franchise owner Brandon Swart said there was little time for parents to budget for a Cape Town tournament at such late notice, which made it possible to only field two sides at PSI this time round.

“I saw great potential for the Stallions franchise, bearing in mind that if you look at our schools, the KZN capital and Midlands is a big catchment area for boys’ and girls’ junior hockey,” Swart told The Witness.

“At this stage PSI has U13, U14, U16 and U18 boys’ and girls’ sections at regional and national level, so future growth in indoor hockey for the Stallions franchise is huge.”

There is also talk of introducing U10 and U12 boys’ and girls’ age groups next year.

“The amazing vibe and funky style appeals to the youth and that is one of reasons why PSI has seen such massive growth around the country. Add to that PSI’s professional organisation and you have a winning concept,” Swart said. “And from an outdoor hockey point of view, indoor hockey has tremendous value in teaching a young player the fundamentals of the modern game.”

The success of PSI around the country underlines Swart’s statement.

Launched from very small beginnings in the Mother City by Cape Town-based owner and former SA goalkeeper Simon Martin seven years ago, the 2013 PSI Nationals tournament included teams from established franchises the Boland Foxes, Highland Scorpions (Boland), Cape Town Seals, Peninsula Sharks, Cape Sunbirds, Durban Panthers, Durban Tigers, East London Jaguars, East Rand Quaggas, Namibian Hawks, Namibian Eagles, PE Vipers (Port Elizabeth), Johannesburg Gryphons (multiple teams), West Coast Barracudas and West Coast Stingrays.

There are also sides from new franchises the Pretoria Pitbulls, Bloem Bears (Bloemfontein), Midlands Stallions from KZN and the Southern Cape Sables.

An incredible 142 boys’ and girls’ teams and 1 380 players from U13 to U18 level participated in 626 matches of a full 20 minutes each way over eight days at five venues in and around Cape Town.

Swart said his franchise’s goal for PSI Nationals 2014 is to have at least one Stallions boys’ and girls’ team per age group, from at least U13 level to U18, making eight Stallions teams in total at this stage.

Children wishing to join the Midlands Stallions’ Pro Series Indoor hockey programme can contact Swart at while a look at the Youtube footage on will give youngsters a taste of what to expect at the eighth Nolands PSI Nationals next year.


Boys’ U16: Nic Forster, Julian Smart (both Michaelhouse); Courtney Hallé, Felix Manke, David Gerrard, Duncan Marshall (all Maritzburg College); Craig Krog (Hilton College). Coach: Brandon Swart. Assistant coach: Paul Gonlag.

Girls’ U18: Caitlyn Grant (PMB Girls’ High School); Erin Roseveare, Rebecca Hallé, Kim McDonald (all Epworth); Sarah Dixon, Sarah Lennon (The Wykeham Collegiate); Rosie Elliott (St Anne’s); Kim van Jaarsveld Howick High School). Coach: Richard Robertson.

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