THE wet weather did not dampen the spirits, or the action at the grand finals of this year’s SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge with St Mary’s DSG taking the win in determined fashion on their home turf.Meeting the defending champions, the host school St Mary’s took on Durban Girls’ College in the gold silver game. After 30 minutes of equal possession, the score was level on nil nil with the 2016 winner being decided in a penalty shoot-out which Saints won, two nil. In their fifth appearance of the tournament, this is the second time St Mary’s DSG have won. Their first time was in 2012, also tallying up a bronze in 2011 and 2013 and a fourth place last year.It was not to be for Durban Girls’ College. In their sixth appearance, College were hoping to make this their fourth title in a row, with gold in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The team representing the Durban Central Regional ended tied on nine points with King Edward High School, College advanced to the final having scored more goals. The bronze medal game was a Pietermaritzburg derby with St Anne’s and Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High. St Anne’s managed to clinch the win to claim bronze. After half an hour in the bronze final, the whistle went for full time with the score sitting on nil nil. Both teams first attempts did not manage to find the back of the net and levelled their scores in the second attempt. The game moved on to sudden death with St Anne’s Captain Julia Saulez leading by example and scoring. Then vibrant keeper for St Anne’s, Megan Rebstein-Dovey rose to the occasion, not allowing the first and final shot in the sudden death to pass her, giving her team the title of bronze winners.“After 29 games this weekend, 160 young ladies can be extremely proud of themselves for their achievement. Each and every one of the players battled the chilly weather and did so superbly. They not only represented their school, but their region with great pride and grace. Well done ladies to your successes at this wonderful tournament,” said Rob Philipson, managing director for SPAR KZN. A new initiative this year was the inclusion of a hockey bursary by Varsity College which went Tegan Fourie from St Mary’s DSG and Courtney Slaney from Westville Girls’ High School.“Ladies, you entertained us this weekend with a display of phenomenal skill and talent on the turf. Looking at the score lines, the standard of hockey is certainly improving in our province. A team like King Edward played impressively keeping hockey playing school, College to a draw. Another outlying school, Wartburg also impressed, giving it their absolute all this year. It is a joy to see our great game of hockey winning at the end of the day],” said Les Galloway, tournament director.