Sarel Cilliers High School in Glencoe, Northern KZN, plays host to the first of the ten regionals of the 2018 SPAR KZN School Girls’ Hockey Challenge on Saturday, February 24.
Ten schools from the Northern KZN region will be participating in the eighth annual hockey challenge, considered one of the top schools’ sporting events in the province.
Defending champs and six-times winners Ferrum High from Newcastle, will be out in full force to retain their title in this heavily contested regional.
Schools that will be trying to release Ferrum’s stronghold, include one-time winners Sarel Cilliers (Glencoe, Umzinyathi), Newcastle High School, St Dominics also from Newcastle; Utrecht High School, Dundee High School, Vryheid High School, Pionier High School (Vryheid) and Pongola Akademie. Returning to the tournament after a number of years is Vryheid Landbou.
Two pools of five teams each will play twenty-five minutes games on two fields. Ferrum, Dundee, St Dominics, Vryheid feature in Pool A, with Utrecht, Newcastle, Pionier, Vryheid Landbou and Sarel Cilliers in Pool B. Winners of the pools will advance to a semi-final format, culminating in a twenty-minute finals to determine the overall regional winner.
Interest in this tournament, piloted in KwaZulu-Natal, has extended to four other provinces: the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State and Gauteng with a total of 28 regionals tournaments played across the country.
“There is a fantastic growing interest in hockey and especially these tournaments,” says Les Galloway, Tournament Director, “We have aimed this at young women in high school, and have made the event fun and festive with good hockey, team spirit and sporting friendliness being a key drivers.”
Along with supporting the development of the players, the tournament also aims to grow new umpires. Each school brings their best umpire to represent them on the day to gain experience. Some of these umpires are then invited to participate at the Grand Finals, giving them further opportunity to hone their skills.
Winners of the Northern KZN Regional will participate in the Grand Finals of the SPAR KZN School Girls Hockey Challenge that takes place at St Mary’s DSG in Durban on 21 and 22 July.
For more info like the tournament’s Facebook page.