Reclaiming their title, after a colossal tussle, Kokstad College hoisted the Southern KZN Regional trophy in the SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge at Creston College on Saturday.
The regional final had Kokstad College take on St Patrick’s College in an East Griqualand derby, this was St Patrick’s best result in the nine years of the SPAR KZN challenge. Kokstad College reclaimed their third title having won the inaugural tournament and then again in 2014.
The result was 1 all at the final whistle in a ding-dong battle that saw both teams defend like Trojans with the result pending on three young players from each team stepping up for a penalty shoot-out. During game time, Kokstad hogged majority of the possession with Caitlyn O’Reily managing to capitalise.
Midway through the final, surging forward after an attack O’Reily was left unmarked in the circle as she pounced on the ball following yet another attack by Kokstad that St Patrick’s managed to defend. The St Patrick’s defence seemed to be catching their breath when the ball shifted back into the circle and the nifty O’Reily not letting the opportunity pass, zapped her shot in.
St Patrick’s picked themselves up and dusted themselves off, more determined than ever; they retaliated with several threatening attempts on the other side of the field. Four minutes after Kokstad went 1 up, pocket-rocket Lakiesha Jansen calmly netted her teams equaliser in a scramble in front of the Kokstad goal.
With the game level at 1 all, it remained that way with attempts either being charged down or sliding either side of the goal posts. Until the fourth penalty when goal scorer, O’Reily took to the spot for Kokstad College.
She powered forward meeting the advances of St Patrick’s keeper Phillipa McDonald, slipping the ball underneath her, the two ushered the ball in, one joyously and one agonisingly watching desperately as it rolled determinedly into the corner seeing Kokstad take the lead. The three remaining attempts amounted to no goals.
Leading up to the final, St Patrick’s met St Monica’s in the first semi-final with Kokstad College taking on defending champions King Edward in a fiery second semi-final. St Patrick’s went up 2 nil in their semi, with Jansen opening her teams account with a field goal and Paula Johnson getting the second in a short corner.
In the Kokstad and KEHS fiery game, a couple of green cards were raised as the two highly competitive teams pushed each other to the limit the scoreline was level at the end of full time. In a game that ended in a penalty shoot-out, and then sudden death, Tyler Rorke held strong for her team allowing Kokstad to take the honours, defeating the defending champs who have dominated the tournament for the last four years.
In the bronze game, the score was level at full time, with both teams heading to the box for a penalty shoot-out. Both teams were level 2 all after the first round with Shanteece Fernandez and Retshe Khiba notching up King Edwards goals and Siso Mnukwa and Reabetsoe Ramaota earning goals for St Monica’s. The game rolled on to sudden death with Fernandez keeping her cool and taking King Edward to a well-earned bronze.
Umpire for the Day was the decisive Noah Maartens, a Grade 10 learner from St Patrick’s.
Kokstad College is the sixth team to earn a place at the Grand Finals, they join St Anne’s College (PMB North), Epworth School (PMB Central), Crawford La Lucia (DBN North Regional) and Durban Girls’ College (DBN Central Regional) and from last weekend, Amanzimtoti High School (DBN South Regional).
The next tournament heads inland to Newcastle for the Northern KZN Regional on Saturday 4 May.
Results: 1 Kokstad College, 2 St Patrick’s College, 3 King Edward High School, 4 St Monica’s High, 5 Suid Natal High, 6 Port Shepstone High, 7 Creston College, 8 Southcity Christian School, 9 Ixopo High School, 10 Scottburgh High School