Westville to make Finals Day debut after beating favourites St Mary’s

2014-03-11 00:00

IN a triumph of organisation by former Investec South Africa women’s hockey team manager and current Spar KZN schoolgirls’ tournament director Les Galloway, three regionals took place over the weekend.

Westville Girls’ High School clinched the thrilling Highway regionals at Thomas More College in Kloof with an impressive 2-1 victory over perennial favourites St Mary’s, while the Durban Central regionals at Durban Girls’ College was won by the hosts. Danville Girls’ High School clinched the Durban North regionals at Our Lady of Fatima.

What can loosely be described as the province’s FA Cup of schoolgirls’ hockey, involving a remarkable 81 girls’ hockey schools from KZN, hit one of its highlights on Sunday when Westville GHS locked sticks with St Mary’s.

Overall title winners in 2012, St Mary’s met a Westville line-up that successfully worked their way through the day’s matches. Then it was time for game five and Westville struck an early blow when Courtney Slaney netted the first goal just one minute after the opening whistle. There was no quarter asked or given and St Mary’s equalised in the 14th minute but the match was decided two minutes from full-time when Slaney notched her brace for the 2-1 triumph.

The result means St Mary’s (15 points) are out of Finals Day, while Westville (18 points) will make their debut. Westville’s prolific Slaney was the Highway regionals’ top goalscorer with 10 successful strikes in the five matches.

In the tightly contested Durban North regionals, Danville (16 points) ended just one point clear of defending champions Ashton International School.

In the round-robin, Danville lost 1-0 to Ashton but concluded their day with five wins, one draw and the one loss, while Ashton drew three of seven games along with four wins. Ashton didn’t concede a goal on the day, with Danville only having the single Ashton goal finding the back of their net.

Durban Central winners Durban Girls’ College dominated at home, not altogether surprising seeing they were the Spar KZN overall champions last year.

This is the fourth time that DGC have made it through to Finals Day and they have yet to concede a goal in the Durban Central regionals, this time round beating St Henry’s, Maris Stella and Port Natal by five clear goals apiece.

The two Pietermaritzburg regionals take place in Golf Road, Scottsville, on Saturday at Epworth and the University of KZN. Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School, aiming for their fourth appearance on Finals Day, are back to defend their PMB Central title. GHS have come close to winning the Finals Day title, having got silver in the inaugural tournament in 2011, a bronze in 2012 and silver last year.

St Anne’s from Hilton are the defending PMB North champs. They have made two appearances at Finals Day, winning gold in 2011 after beating PMB Girls’ High in the final, and then finishing in fourth place last year.

At the Three Schools Trust pitch in Glenwood on Sunday, Kingsway High School will be hosting 14 schools in the biggest regional tournament, Durban South, and Durban GHS will be back to defend their title under the guidance of double Olympian and Investec SA hockey team defender Lenise Marais.

Finals Day is at Thomas More College and St Mary’s DSG in July. Those schools that have already qualified by winning their regionals are Westville GHS, Durban Girls’ College, Danville GHS, Ferrum High School from Newcastle, and Kokstad College. Ten regional-winning teams qualify for Finals Day.

Final Classification

Highway regionals: 1 Westville Girls’ High (18pts), 2 St Mary’s DSG (15pts), 3 Kloof High School (9pts), 4 Thomas More College (7pts), 5 Hillcrest High School (1pts), 6 Gelofte High School (1pt).

Durban Central regionals: 1 Durban Girls’ College (9pts), 2 Port Natal (4pts), 3 Maris Stella (3pts), 4 St Henry’s (1pt).

Durban North regionals: 1 Danville GHS (16pts), 2 Ashton International School (15pts), 3 Crawford La Lucia (10pts), 4 Crawford North Coast (9pts), 5 Northlands Girls’ High (8pts), 6 Durban North College (7pts), 7 Our Lady of Fatima (7pts), 8 Parkhill School (0pts).

Most Promising Umpires (to umpire on Finals Day) – Highway region: Vaughn Lees (Thomas More College); Durban Central region: Kylie Oosthuizen (Durban Girls’ College). Durban North region: Brett Clay (Crawford North Coast).

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