Local schools eye SKZN regional hockey title

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The clash of the eighth Southern KZN Regional in the SPAR KZN School Girls’ Challenge takes place on Saturday 21 April at Kokstad College.

This region has crowned three schools since the tournament began in 2011. This year, ten schools will converge in the quest to be regional champion in the hopes of travelling to the Grand Finals in July at St Mary’s DSG.

Kicking off the tournament, defending champs King Edward High School (KEHS) will meet St Monica’s who missed last year’s tournament due to other commitments. At the same time on field B two times winner Kokstad College will meet Bergview who are returning after last playing in 2014. Hosts, Kokstad College will need to find their A-game early as they meet two times winner, Creston College in their second game.

KEHS will take on Southcity in the third game of the day. Southcity were placed third last year and are hoping to continue their progression in this tournament as they quietly chip away at the placings with an improvement every year.

Coach for the defending champs, Deidre Duminy says, “My team is very young this year, basically an U16 team which is wonderful for the next two years. We lost seven of our players last year who matriculated. Of course, we will be delighted if we go through, but who knows what will happen on the day. We will surely try our best but currently we are working on building confidence as well as skills.”

Pool A features King Edward High School, St Monica’s, Southcity, Port Shepstone, iXopo and Pool B has Kokstad, Creston, Bergview, St Patrick’s and Suid-Natal taking each other on. The pool games will be 25 minutes each and the playoffs are only 20minutes long, with a possibility of a penalty shoot-out taking place if the games are drawn. If this happens, then 3 players from each team will step up to take the 8 second rolling penalty in the hope of advancing their team to the next round.

The tournament will run on four points for a win, two points for a draw with goals, one point for a goalless draw and zero points for a loss.

After the pool games, the two semi-finals will take place concurrently. Thereafter the top teams will get a breather as the positional games roll out the final placings. Once these games have been played, the bronze medal game follows, and the final game will be the main gold, silver game. At the conclusion of the 27th game, the 2018 regional champion will be revealed.

The teams to beat will be host school playing on familiar turf, Kokstad College, who have won this regional in the inaugural tournament in 2011 and three years later in 2014. Creston College took the title in 2012 and 2013 while the unsuspecting heroes from King Edwards High School have been the defending champions for the last three years.

The winner of this regional will be the seventh team to reserve their place at the Grand Finals that will take place in July at St Mary’s DSG in Kloof.

For more info like the tournament’s Facebook page or follow the tournament on Instagram.

Photo by Jonathan Burton

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