York High were crowned champions for the second successive year when they defeated Outeniqua in the South Western Districts final of the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge in George at the weekend.
In shading their George rivals, York became the fourth team to qualify for the provincial finals to be played at Woodridge, just outside Port Elizabeth, on August 12.
The other teams that will compete in the August finals are Union High, Kingsridge and Clarendon, with the final qualifiers to be decided in the PE Coastal leg at Pearson in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
Tournament organiser Erica Combrink said it was a day of exciting hockey in George, with Glenwood House, Point and Oudtshoorn High also competing well.
“The teams met each other in a round-robin format and, with the matches being played over 20 minutes, it produced some well-contested and fast-paced games.”
York went through the round-robin phase unbeaten and Outeniqua finished second on the log to qualify for the final.
Combrink said the teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after 20 minutes, which meant the game had to be decided in the dreaded eight-second penalty shoot-out.
“York won the shoot-out 3-2 and will represent the Southern Cape at the finals in August.”
National director Les Galloway, who pioneered the concept in KwaZulu-Natal seven years ago, said the second year of the competition in the Eastern Cape was proving to be “another big success”.
“The tournaments have been a huge plus for all the schools, especially those who don’t get much exposure in these types of events,” she said.
“The players are excited about it because there’s a different feel as they meet new people and make new friends.
“Some schools appearing in the competition for the first time have given brilliant feedback, saying their players were inspired to become even more involved in the game.”
As was the case in George, Galloway said it had become a hard, but fun tournament.
“On the field there is really good competition and off it there is fantastic camaraderie and a great vibe.”
The final placings in George were: 1 York, 2 Outeniqua, 3 Glenwood House, 4 Point High, 5 Oudtshoorn High.