School girls’ hockey challenge ends in glory

2018-07-31 06:00

AFTER a flawless performance, Saints defended their title in magnificent style at the Eighth SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge, with a determined 3 – 0 win against St Anne’s College in the Grand Finals.

St Mary’s added to their impressive tally at the SPAR Grand Finals, making the 2018 win their fourth time raising the trophy in the history of this tournament and third consecutive win, having won the tournament in 2012, 2016, 2017 and now 2018, overtaking Durban Girls College who dominated in the years 2013, 2014, 2015.

St Mary’s hit the astro in top gear for the finals, dominating for the majority of the game and not allowing the visiting St Anne’s to really get into the game. The sides had previously played each other in the pool games where the scoreline was 2-1 to St Mary’s DSG.

All three goals were netted by Jodie Conolly, who displayed superb skills with the stick. Her first goal was mid-way through the first half, in a short corner. The ball went to the castle at the top of the D, a flurry of perfection with a fake flick, spin and then pass finding Conolly who slotted in Saints first.

The second was off a shortie that went awry for St Anne’s, the ball nudged in by Conolly, scuttling past a stretching Reo Sachane — keeper for the visiting team — and finding the foot of a defender. Umpire on the spot deemed it deliberate and Conolly got directed to the penalty spot. Stepping up, she effortlessly found the back of the box for her team’s second point. The third and final goal was also off a set play in another short corner. This time the ball moved left to a lurking Conolly, who sliced the ball through the air into the top right corner of the goal. As the clock started to wind down, Cailie den Bakker made a phenomenal, exciting run. Breaking free from the St Anne’s defence, she made a solo effort only to see her attack sadly run out of steam, unable to score her team’s fourth.

Captain for St Mary’s DSG, Max Hannan, stated that Saint’s weekend was amazing with incredible hockey being played all round. “We dedicate our win to Kiana Cormack who is currently playing in Algeria at the African Youth Olympic Qualifiers. And of course, to Amanda Ntuli who is forever in our hearts — we miss you and think of you often. And thank you to our coaches, you keep us going!”

Head of High School Sport for St Mary’s Malcolm Reeders enthused, “Our weekend was incredible. Besides the magnificent outcome, our girls thoroughly enjoyed the event and played some fantastic hockey, only conceding one goal in their six games! We are very grateful that SPAR puts so much effort into school girls’ hockey”

Tournament Director Les Galloway shared: “Eight years on, we have only been here for two days and it feels like a big family. Our Grand Finals certainly are the climax of all our regionals.”

Varsity College continued their relationship with the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge, awarding budding hockey players bursaries. Having travelled to all the regionals around KZN, they decided to offer two bursaries. The first went to Kerryn Swanepoel from Westville Girls’ High School and the second went to Itumeleng Noko from Ridge Park College. -Supplied

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