Quintin van Jaarsveld
Margate Sports School hosted a schools sports spectacle unlike any other as it celebrated its 25th anniversary over the past two weeks.
Margate Sports School Week has a rich history and legacy as one of the South Coast’s premier sports and tourist attractions.
Over the past quarter-century, the legend and popularity of the annual schools sports event has consistently gone from strength to strength. It’s known nationwide, and a single week is no longer enough to accommodate the demand of schools from across South Africa who wish to form part of the Easter holiday festival on the sunny South Coast.
The first of this year’s two weeks kicked of Margate Sports School’s 25-year celebration with a lively opening ceremony at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre on 29 March, with the second finishing on a high this past Saturday.
Approximately 1800 high and primary school learners from as far as Gauteng and Bloemfontein participated in rugby, netball, boys and girls hockey and soccer matches at various top-notch venues. To commemorate the occasion, each school was presented with a special 25-year anniversary gift.
A total of 81 teams showcased their skills – 75 visiting teams, along with Port Shepstone High School, SKZN development and South Coast Warriors junior rugby sides.
Rugby and netball games were contested at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre, hockey was played at Southcity Christian Schools and soccer at Margate Sports School, Douglas Mitchell Sports Grounds and Port Shepstone High School.
Leading experts once again held coaching clinics throughout the festivities. The rugby clinics were conducted by the Sharks Academy SKZN, former South African coach Louise du Plessis and Rita van der Spuy from KwaZulu-Natal Netball ran the netball clinics, Madsen Hockey Academy handled the hockey clinics and Earl Bishop from SuperSport United showed soccer players some new tricks.
Famous rugby ref Lourens van der Merwe and international Sevens referee Jaco Kotze were among the officials alongside local refs like Quintin van Rensburg, while Albert Mocke – who’s been involved with Margate Sports School for 24 years – and Christo Henderson were part of the organising committee.
Fantastic skills were displayed throughout the fortnight and the top rugby and netball players were rewarded with places in invitational teams set to tour and compete in Mauritius later this year.
This was the second successive year that such sides have been selected and Margate Sports School hopes to select teams to tour Ireland and other countries as well next year.
Michael Beyneveldt from Vision Sport Mauritius handed over a R20 000 cheque to Margate Sports School owner Boet Fourie for sports development on the South Coast.
“This year’s festival was very special given that it’s our 25th anniversary,” Fourie told eHowzit. “We were blessed with beautiful weather, which allowed the kids to really enjoy their sport, our beautiful beaches and the South Coast hospitality.
“The coaching sessions were excellent and I must thank the Sharks Rugby Academy, the Madsen Hockey Academy, Louise du Plessis and Earl Bishop.”
Fourie said there have been many memorable moments in the 25-year history of the school.
“We’ve had the honour of hosting several local, provincial and national events. Hosting the SANGALA Games that late minister Steve Tshwete was heavily involved in was one of the highlights. We’ve also hosted karate tournaments featuring legends like Stanley Khoza and Stan Schmidt and national netball competitions.
“The last 25 years have been very special. Grace and I are privileged to be part of the South Coast community. I’d like to thank all our local suppliers and friends for their support and above all, we’re very thankful to our Lord for blessing us.”
Photos by Little Things