THE annual SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge kicks off its seventh edition with the first of 10 regionals taking place in February.The hockey tournament travels throughout KwaZulu-Natal for its regionals, sees close on 80 schoolgirls’ first teams competing with each of the regional finalist travelling through to the Grand Finals that takes place in July at St Mary’s, in Durban.Pongola Akademie is the first school to host the 2017 tournament, with 12 schools participating. The Amajuba, Vryheid and part Umzinyathin regional takes place on Saturday 25 February. Following this the two Pietermaritzburg Regionals take place on Saturday 11 March, with Epworth High hosting the Pietermaritzburg Central and Voortrekker High the Pietermaritzburg North Regional at the UKZN Astro.Sunday 12 March sees the Durban South Regional taking place at the 3 Schools Trust field, hosted by Werda Skool. Staying in Durban, Crawford La Lucia hosts the Durban North Regional on Saturday 25 March and Durban Girls’ High School hosts teams at the field, 3 Schools Trust for the Durban Central Regional on Sunday 26 March.April sees only one regional taking place on Saturday 22 April at Hoërskool Suid Natal for the South Coast and Sisonke Regional with teams travelling from outlying areas Kokstad and Matatiele.The final three regionals will take place in May. Wembley College will host the Umvoti, uThukela and Umzinyathi Regional on Saturday 13 May. Newcomers to the tournament, Curro Hillcrest who participated for the first-time last year, hosts the Highway Regional on Saturday 21 May and Grantleigh in Richards Bay hosts the North Coast Regional on their turf on Saturday 28 May.Coming on board for the second year, Varsity College will be offering a full bursary to one player, who impresses coaches at each of the regional. In the 2016 tournament, Varsity College announced at the finals that the talent was so fantastic they rewarded two players with bursaries.Peter Deeb, marketing executive for SPAR KZN stated: “We are certainly in for an exciting year sports-wise for SPAR. Some fabulous sporting events on the horizon, starting with the hockey tournament for first teams, now in its seventh year. I wish all the teams the best of luck, and hope they enjoy themselves on the turf.”Tournament director, Les Galloway said: “The KZN tournament certainly has blossomed into a fantastic, fun and fulfilling tournament. “The tournament has expanded across the provincial borders to the other provinces, which is so good for the growth of the game. Being the first tournament, KZN holds a special place in my heart and I am delighted with how it has grown in the seven years, and continues to grow welcoming and encouraging new players to the game.”Eager young hockey players are gearing up for the seventh SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge as the annual tournament kicks off in Pongola in February.For more information, like the tournament’s Facebook page.