Host­ing hockey’s finest

Weekend Witness - - Sport - JONATHAN COOK

THE Mar­itzburg Col­lege 150th Win­ter Sports Fes­ti­val’s hockey arm, the No­mads Fes­ti­val, prom­ises high­level school­boy hockey from among the finest teams in the coun­try.

To­day and to­mor­row prom­ise some mouth-wa­ter­ing tus­sles among the 12 teams on the Papes and AB Jack­son turfs.

The school first teams will play a re­mark­able 30 matches over twoand-half days, the event coming to a close on Mon­day morn­ing.

Mar­itzburg Col­lege take on lead­ing UK school Mill­field at 8.40 am to­day and this re­news an in­tense ri­valry af­ter matches that have been hotly con­tested, both in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, on Col­lege’s Pape’s Astro, and on the Eng­land school’s turf.

This is just one of 12 matches to­day and an­other 12 to­mor­row should have hockey lovers glued to their seats.

“It’s go­ing to be a big week­end for us,” said Col­lege first team head coach Guy El­liott yes­ter­day.

“Ev­ery­one’s fit, and the guys know there are no easy matches.

“One to look for­ward to is Wyn­berg ver­sus Col­lege on Papes at 9.50 am on Mon­day, but as I said, there are no free lunches in this event.”

“Wyn­berg beat us at No­mads in East Lon­don last year, on the Sel­borne Col­lege pitch, so it’s a bit of a re­venge af­fair, while the Sel­borne match we won 3-2 af­ter the fi­nal hooter last year, so that match at 9.50 am to­mor­row should be an­other one to look for­ward to,” said El­liott.

Mar­itzburg Col­lege first team cap­tain Jor­gen Wik­strom, who played for South Africa U16 last year and has played 38 matches for Col­lege, said it was a great hon­our to cap­tain Col­lege in the school’s 150th year.

“We have a fairly young team, five Grade 12s, six Grade 11s and three Grade 10s, so my job is to mix it in lead­ing by ex­am­ple and by be­ing vo- cal,” said Wik­strom.

“In Mr El­liott we have a coach who I have much re­spect for, he is ea­ger to have a good sea­son and is do­ing a good job, so it should be a suc­cess­ful three days. It’s the 150th, our time to shine, and I am urg­ing the team to play to our full po­ten­tial.”

Col­lege’s Tyson Dlang­wana, who de­buted for the first team in Grade nine and is now in Grade 10, made SA U16 last year and the cen­tre back said the team’s style of good ba­sics, high ball speed and pa­tience in build­ing at­tacks would serve them well. “We are all hun­gry, there is a good vibe and the play­ers want it.”

Other matches among many to look out for to­day are Grey ver­sus Michael­house, Pre­to­ria Boys’ High against Wyn­berg, Sel­borne ver­sus King Ed­ward VII School of Houghton, Jo­han­nes­burg, and Jeppe against Hil­ton. See page 2 for full fix­ture list.

PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

Mar­itzburg Col­lege first team hockey cap­tain Jor­gen Vik­strom (left) and promis­ing young player Tyson Dlung­wana in high spir­its ahead of the No­mads Fes­ti­val, which starts to­day.

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