Kingsridge had another successful outing when they won the Border Inland tournament in the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge for the second time in Queenstown on Sunday.
The King William’s Town school qualified for the provincial finals in August after defeating Aliwal North High 1-0 in the final.
Tournament director Bev Forword said the match was the culmination of another “wonderful day of hockey, in which the players had fun and showed great sportsmanship”.
She said one of the highlights of the tournament was the exciting cross-pool play-off between Aliwal North and hosts Queenstown Girls’ High.
“Aliwal equalised with two minutes to go and forced a penalty shoot-out, which they won 2-1.
“It is the second year in a row that Girls’ High have lost in a shoot-out after being edged by Burgersdorp last year.”
Burgersdorp reached the semi-finals again, but could not contain the strong attacking play of Kingsridge, who won 6-0.
Forword made special mention of tournament debutants St Christopher from King William’s Town.
“They have never played on astroturf before, but performed with such passion and with a great spirit. They ended up sixth which was highly commendable.”
SPAR Eastern Cape promotions and advertising manager Alan Stapleton said they welcomed newcomers such as St Christopher to the tournament.
“It was excellent exposure for them as well as for schools such as Aliwal North, Hangklip, Templeton and Burgersdorp,” he said.
“We have seen a lot of interest from these schools as they get a chance to compete against sides they would not normally meet.
“And, from another perspective, it is a great opportunity for coaches to try out different combinations and to introduce younger players into the first team without too much pressure.”
He added that the regional tournaments had been “a huge success”, attracting the attention of hockey supporters in the way Twenty20 cricket does.
“There is a great vibe to these tournaments, with a competitive yet friendly atmosphere.
“We have had lots of positive feedback about the concept and the hockey fraternity just love it.”
Kingsridge join Union High of Graaff-Reinet as the first two qualifiers for the provincial finals at Woodridge just outside Port Elizabeth on August 12.
The Schoolgirls Challenge will continue on Sunday when the Border Coastal tournament is held in East London.