Claren­don stick to­gether

EL girls win hockey chal­lenge

Go! & Express - - Go! Sport -

CLAREN­DON High from East Lon­don be­came the new SPAR East­ern Cape School Girls’ Hockey Chal­lenge cham­pi­ons when they de­feated York High in the fi­nal at Woodridge just out­side Port El­iz­a­beth on Satur­day.

The match sig­nalled the end of an­other ex­cit­ing school girls’ hockey com­pe­ti­tion, which SPAR East­ern Cape spon­sor­ships and events man­ager Alan Sta­ple­ton said was here to stay.

The pro­vin­cial fi­nals in­volved five re­gional win­ners and, af­ter the round-robin com­pe­ti­tion, the Ge­orge side qual­i­fied to meet Claren­don in the fi­nal.

It was a close run for York as they only edged past Kingsridge 1-0 in their fi­nal round-robin match, which de­cided who would go through to play the East Lon­don girls.

In the fi­nal, Bianca Wood stood out for Claren­don, scor­ing all the goals for their 3-0 vic­tory.

The East Lon­don­ers dom­i­nated early on in the 30-minute match and took a 1-0 lead into half time.

York then showed fine spirit to put their op­po­nents un­der pres­sure in the sec­ond half, but could not crack a solid Claren­don de­fence.

As they pushed for­ward in search of the equaliser, Claren­don were able to ex­ploit some gaps at the back and Wood struck twice late in the game to put the re­sult be­yond doubt.

At the prize-giv­ing cer­e­mony, Sta­ple­ton con­grat­u­lated all those who took part and thanked Woodridge for their role in host­ing the tour­na­ment af­ter the dev­as­ta­tion of the June fires.

In recog­ni­tion of the school’s con­tin­ued rise from the ashes, SPAR East­ern Cape con­trib­uted R100 for each goal scored dur­ing the day to Woodridge, which re­sulted in an over­all do­na­tion of R3 500.

Af­ter at­tend­ing a SPAR na­tional meet­ing in Dur­ban last Thurs­day, Sta­ple­ton said they were cer­tain the School Girls’ Hockey Chal­lenge would con­tinue to grow and that it had be­come an im­por­tant event on the re­tailer’s cal­en­dar.

“The tour­na­ment fits in with ev­ery­thing SPAR talks about, es­pe­cially from a family as­pect. So thank you to all the family and friends for com­ing out and be­ing a part of it,” he said.

“This tour­na­ment is about pro­vid­ing an op­por­tu­nity for dif­fer­ent schools to play against each other and to pro­vide an ex­pe­ri­ence where you can grow your play­ers. We wanted friend­ship, ca­ma­raderie and com­pet­i­tive­ness and we’ve had it all this year.”

He also thanked the coaches and um­pires for their con­tri­bu­tion.

“Your pas­sion is out­stand­ing and to the um­pires who some­times take a bit of flak, you are very spe­cial and very im­por­tant to the whole event.”

Claren­don coach Ch­eryl Pope said the SPAR EC School Girls’ Hockey Chal­lenge had now be­come a per­ma­nent part of their pro­gramme.

“It is a fan­tas­tic idea and a great com­pe­ti­tion, with ev­ery­thing done so pos­i­tively,” she said. “And the na­ture of the for­mat is that you are never home and dry.

“In fact, in East Lon­don we lost a game and had to fight back in the semis be­fore go­ing on to win the fi­nal.”

She added that there was a re­fresh­ing as­pect to the event as they had pre­vi­ously never played teams such as Woodridge and York.

Claren­don cap­tain Caitlin Rush­ton played in all their matches but was not avail­able for the pro­vin­cial fi­nals due to other com­mit­ments.

The fi­nal po­si­tions were: 1 Claren­don, 2 York, 3 Woodridge, 4 Kingsridge, 5 Kingswood.

Pic­ture: FULL STOP COM­MU­NI­CA­TIONS

WIN­NING SMILES: Claren­don High School won the SPAR East­ern Cape School Girls’ Hockey Chal­lenge at Woodridge on Satur­day. As the Border Coastal re­gion win­ners, Claren­don took on the win­ner of the other four re­gions and came out on top. The team are, back from left, Ch­eryl Pope (coach), Court­ney Coet­zee, Sarah Milne, Kate Man­dell, Gabby Dyer, Donna Greyling, Paige Ja­coby, Lau­ren Tarr, Lynelle Coet­zee (man­ager) and SPAR East­ern Cape spon­sor­ships and events man­ager Alan Sta­ple­ton. Front: Jayde Harty (vice-cap­tain), Thando Mta­lana, Bianca Wood, Claudelle McKay, Abby Pope and Kia Eras­mus

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