Quintin van Jaarsveld
Pro Series Indoor (PSI) hockey got underway in earnest at Port Shepstone High School on Sunday.
The excitement of the players to usher in the inaugural South Coast Regional League translated onto the indoor court with exciting action across the Under-13 to Under-18 divisions.
A total of 12 teams participated in the league opener, each playing two 26-minute matches. PSI is one of the fastest growing forms of hockey and with a two-minute half-time and two-minute turnaround between games, there was constant action throughout the day.
“It was an extremely busy but highly successful first day of PSI hockey today,” local league organiser and South Coast Marlins franchise owner Dale Esselaar told eHowzit.
Esselaar, one of 12 Port Shepstone Hockey Club players who featured in the South African Country Districts men’s and ladies tournaments in July and a teacher and first XI girls hockey coach at Creston College, was impressed with the way players hit the ground running and lauded the camaraderie among them.
“The standard of hockey was really something special to see. As a hockey player and coach, I can’t help but get filled with pride seeing players who usually compete against each other at school level and are constantly at each other’s throats now playing alongside each other, showing superb sportsmanship and truly embracing the ethos of PSI.
“The players gave positive feedback and enjoyed the speed at which the game is played compared to what they are used to in the outdoor version of the game.”
Esselaar said his desire to develop the sport sparked his decision to open his franchise and establish the league.
“My main aim since moving to the South Coast from Port Elizabeth last year has been to develop hockey in the area and show the interest in the players that they deserve.
“I started the South Coast Marlins franchise because I feel like players at school level on the South Coast are being robbed of opportunity because of the lack of an artificial surface [astroturf]when it comes to outdoor hockey.
“I gave it some thought and decided that with all the talent we have on the coast and the facilities at our disposal at Port Shepstone High School, I simply couldn’t sit back and watch players keep on getting robbed of the opportunity to showcase their skills at a national level.”
Esselaar said it was the perfect way to start the four-round Sunday league and anticipates the bar will be raised throughout as players vie for places in South Coast Marlins teams, who will be selected to participate in the national tournament in Cape Town in December.
“I am very excited for the next three weeks as I truly believe that we as the South Coast Marlins will continue to grow as the league progresses.
“The potential for PSI and indoor hockey in general is huge. Having attended a few national tournaments with the Eastern Province teams over the years and witnessing the standard of hockey at those tournaments, I think that we at the South Coast Marlins will be serious medal contenders in our first appearance at Nationals in December this year.”
Round Two of the local league will take place at Port Shepstone High School this Sunday, with the Under-16 and Under-18 teams starting at 8am and the Under-13 and Under-14 continuing the action from 11am.
Entry is R450 per player. To register or for more information, contact Dale Esselaar on [email protected]
Round One results:
Game 2: U13 boys vs U14 boys – U13 boys won 5-2
Game 3: U14 A girls vs U14 B girls – U14 B girls won 4-2
Game 5: U13 A girls vs U14 B girls – U14 B girls won 6-3
Game 6: U13 B girls vs U14 A girls – U14 A girls won 5-2
Game 7: U16 A girls vs U16 B girls – U16 A girls won 3-0
Game 8: U16 boys vs U18 boys – U18 boys won 4-2
Game 9: U18 A girls vs U18 B girls – U18 A girls won 4-0
Game 10: U16 boys vs U18 boys – U18 boys won 3-2
Game 11: U16 A girls vs U18 B girls – U18 B girls won 3-0
Game 12: U16 B girls vs U18 A girls – U18 A girls won 8-3
Photos by Tanya Hielckert