By Quintin van Jaarsveld
Three Port Shepstone Hockey Club players have been selected for the KwaZulu-Natal Country Districts ladies team.
Marike Durrheim, Fortunate Mnikathi and Kerry Herbert cracked the nod after impressing selectors during the recent trials in Durban and are set to travel to Port Elizabeth for the South African Country Districts Tournament from 11-19 July.
The trio’s participation in the national tournament for the second consecutive year, however, hinges on whether or not they’ll be able to obtain sponsorship to cover the travel costs.
Durrheim, who played provincial age-group hockey and for the KwaZulu-Natal Country Districts side in 2007 and 2014, has been named vice-captain of the 2015 squad.
“When we arrived at trails, I was very nervous, seeing all the players that were there, so it means a lot that I was selected as one of the top 16 players,” the 27-year-old told eHowzit.
“I was very shocked to be selected as vice-captain – it’s a huge honour. I really hope I can do my team proud and support them on and off the field.
“At a tournament like this, you get to meet a lot of new people who you became good friends with afterwards and I can’t wait to get on the field and play some fast-paced hockey.
“I’ll also be umpiring at this tournament, so I’m excited to improve my umpiring skills as well.”
Durrheim is a dynamic centre half and a capable front striker when required upfront.
Her ability to read play and strong leadership traits make her a valuable asset for any team she represents.
She got into coaching and umpiring at 19 years of age when Lance Grobler, her former High School coach at Suid-Natal, roped her in as his assistant coach.
She completed the SAHA Level Two Coaching Course through Fabian Gregory in 2013 and has been coaching the Suid-Natal Under-16 team for nearly a decade.
“I enjoy coaching and seeing the skill levels of players increasing practise after practise and seeing some of those players making the KZN sides is even more rewarding, especially as they train on grass and don’t have a full astro-turf to their disposal.
“It also helps a lot when you can identify players’ techniques and their weak points and use that to your advantage during a game.”
Mnikathi is a link line player and will add plenty of experience to the KwaZulu-Natal Country Districts outfit.
“I’m very excited,” the 29-year-old told eHowzit.
“I’m looking forward to being among good KZN district players who have a passion for hockey and I’m looking forward to the good hockey we’ll be playing.”
Herbert, who’s twice toured with the Ugu district team, is the youngest of the local trio at 20 years of age.
Playing in the link line, she’s known for her technical prowess, perseverance, fitness and ball skills.
“It’s so encouraging to be chosen for such a team. Playing for them last year was an eye opener and I look forward to what this year’s tour will hold,” she told eHowzit.
“It’s very exciting playing for KZN Country Districts. The level of hockey and team spirit is different to what is found on the coast.
“I’ve never been to PE and look forward to seeing another part of SA. Playing on astro with different players and coaches and meeting new people are a few things I’m looking forward to.
“The tour also holds further opportunity to be selected to represent the SA Country Districts side at the inter-provincial tournament, which would be an amazing achievement.
“But in all honesty, I’m just looking forward to playing a week of competitive hockey and travelling if all goes as planned.”
To sponsor the South Coast trio, contact Durrheim on 082 415 9258 or [email protected]