Sheppie hockey stars crack KZN Country Districts nod

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Among the Sheppie players selected for KwaZulu-Natal Country Districts men’s and ladies hockey teams are (back from left) Dale Esselaar, Morné Bishop, Adin Bennett, Lionel Wentzel, Chris Stewart, (front from left) Gareth Bishop, Keith Evans and Shannon Cohen.

Quintin van Jaarsveld

Twelve Port Shepstone Hockey Club players will feature in the South African Country Districts Tournament after being included in the KwaZulu-Natal Country Districts men’s and ladies teams.

The trials were recently held at 3 Schools Astro in Durban where players from both Northern and Southern KwaZulu-Natal looked to impress selectors.

Sheppie quintet Kerry Herbert, Marike Durrheim, Fortunate Mnikathi, Shannon Cohen and Marozaan Pretorius were selected for the ladies side and are Benoni bound for the national competition taking place from 2-9 July.

Meanwhile, Adin Bennett, Gareth Bishop, Morné Bishop, Dale Esselaar, Chris Stewart, Keith Evans and Lionel Wentzel will do duty for the men’s side in Cape Town from 9-16 July.

Bennett will be coaching the ladies side before running out for the men’s team, while club chairman Donovan Rothman will also be travelling to Cape Town as KwaZulu-Natal’s representative umpire.

“I’m very proud to have 12 of our players represent KZN at this event,” Rothman told eHowzit.

“These players will have an opportunity to show off their talents on a big stage and do not only KZN, but more importantly, the lower South Coast proud.”

The surplus of Sheppie talent selected more than doubles that of 2015, when five of the club’s players represented coastal sides.

Herbert, Durrheim and Mnikathi were the standout players of last year’s ladies side and were rewarded for their form, with Herbert and Durrheim named non-travelling reserves for the South African Country Districts team and Mnikathi making the South African Country Districts B team.

Durrheim served as vice-captain and scooped the Umpire of the Tournament award. Herbert, meanwhile, was named the team’s Player of the Tournament and takes over the vice-captaincy role this year.

Morné Bishop and Warren van der Merwe played starring roles in the 2015 men’s side and were subsequently selected for the South African Country Districts team.

The rise to a dozen representative players this year is a testament to the players’ drive, Rothman said, given the fact the club, with around 40 members, have to make do without the luxuries many other clubs enjoy.

“The numbers show the talent as well as the commitment being shown towards hockey on the coast at the moment. It’s certainly the largest selection in the men’s team we’ve had in a while.

“What makes their selection even more amazing is that we don’t have a full size astroturf on the coast, so all the training is done on our smaller practice pitch at Creston and the balance on grass.

“Our club as a whole is growing from strength to strength thanks to the commitment of the players as well as the hard work done by the committee.”

The Port Shepstone players’ participation in the national tournament ultimately hinges on whether or not they’ll be able to obtain sponsorship to cover the travel costs.

To sponsor or support the players in the form of donations, contact Rothman on 084 503 6235 or donovanrothman7@gmail.com.

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