Clarendon Girls’ High reclaimed the title in the East London Coastal leg of the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge by edging out Hudson Park in a thrilling final on Sunday.
Played at Clarendon in East London, the hosts, who won the title in 2017, narrowly defeated the defending champions when national squad member Bianca Wood scored a goal in the dying minutes of the game to make it 2-1.
With matches being played in a shortened format of 20 minutes, tournament director Bev Forword said the tournament produced another exciting day of quality schoolgirls’ hockey.
“It really was an awesome day of hockey and we were all spoilt by SPAR,” she said. “And it was great to have the support of friends and families during the day.”
The play-offs, she said, were “super exciting”, with the schools going all out to produce their best efforts.
The battle for seventh spot was keenly contested, with Alphendale scoring near the end to defeat Greenpoint, added Forword.
“Lilyfontein pulled out all the stops against Merrifield and a short corner goal by Megan Emslie gave Lilyfontein the edge for fifth place, while Stirling dominated against Cambridge to finish third.”
The final was a repeat of last year’s deciding match, with Wood scoring twice for Clarendon to see them qualify for the provincial finals at the end of July.
SPAR EC sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton said the standard of hockey was excellent and he congratulated all the schools on the spirit in which the game was played.
“Although Clarendon and Hudson Park have been the dominant sides, it was highly encouraging to see some of the smaller schools competing with such distinction during the day.
“This tournament is all about providing opportunities for all schoolgirls, with an emphasis on team spirit and support from the family.
“On that note I would like to pay tribute to all the mothers who turned out to support the teams for a special Mothers’ Day event.”
Clarendon now join DSG as the two qualifiers so far for the provincial finals on July 27 and 28 to be played at Collegiate in Port Elizabeth.
The next two qualifying tournaments take place on Sunday when the PE Central leg is held at Alexander Road and the East London Inland tournament is played at Kingsridge in King William’s Town.