HILLCREST – Ten first teams will be taking to the field in the Grand Finals of this year’s SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge taking place at St Mary’s DSG on 23 and 24 July.
The tournament now in its sixth year will enjoy two days of epic turf battles with the teams being split into two pools. Pool games will be played on the first day in 20minute one-way duels and then cross pools being played on the final day in 30 minute games with teams having a quick change-over after 15minutes. The 2016 tournament is set for awesome action on the turf with the coveted trophy up for grabs.
Defending champions, Durban Girls’ College have held onto the trophy for the last three years, with the two Saints teams raising the cup before that and both eager to topple Colleges hold. St Anne’s took the overall title in the inaugural tournament in 2011 and St Mary’s won the second year, in 2012.
Knocking on the door five times, having medalled in every single tournament, Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School are also vying for a chance to get their name engraved on the trophy with three silvers and two bronzes in their history at the tournament.
Only two teams have featured at every single final, the defending champs, Girls’ College and last year’s silver medallists PMB Girls’ High. Making their fifth appearance are both saints teams, host team St Mary’s DSG and 2015 bronze medallists’ St Anne’s College.
Wartburg Kirchdorf will be hoping that their German precision continues to move them up the leaderboard, making their fourth appearance they ended in sixth place last year; a well-earned improvement from their ninth and eighth in previous years. Winner of the Durban North Regional, Ashton International College have also steadily improved, they will be making their third appearance at the finals.
Grantleigh are back, having featured in the inaugural Grand Finals, their girls are raring to go in their second appearance. Joining them making their second appearances are teams from the southern parts of KZN. Amanzimtoti High School, winners of the Durban South Regional has had a superb season and is looking to build on that. The feisty team travelling the furthest, King Edward High School from Matatiele will be keen to display their mettle this year, having made a wonderful impression in their first tournament last year, ending in eighth place.
The only newcomer to the 2016 tournament is Sarel Cilliers from Glencoe, the team that managed to dethrone five time winner, Ferrum High School from the Newcastle Regionals.