Hockey: U16 top 12 tournament, Paarl
The St Mary’s U16A hockey team finished second in the prestigious Top 12 Tournament, after losing a hard-fought final 0-1, to Oranje Meisieskool from Bloemfontein.
On arrival, the team played against hosts Paarl Gimnasium in their first pool match. After a long day of travelling, a 1-1 draw seemed a fair result.
On day two, we played against Oranje, Hoërskool Menlopark and Collegiate High School. The team lost to Oranje but did very well to regroup and beat both Menlo and Collegiate later on in the day. On day three, we faced St Cyprian’s in our last pool match. This was a must-win match and we needed to ensure a good goal difference in order to give ourselves a chance of making the semi-final. The team put on a superb display of hockey and went on to record a convincing 4-1 win.
The semi-final was an incredibly tough match against a strong, unbeaten, team from DSG Grahamstown. Our girls absorbed pressure for most of the match, defending with everything that they had. Against the run of play, St Mary’s was awarded a penalty corner, which was converted, and we went on to win 1-0.
The final was an explosive match that moved from one end of the field to the other. The mental and physical demands of a final at this level exceeds expectation but our girls certainly gave of their best. They put their bodies on the line and fought until the bitter end.
A tournament of this calibre provides a massive learning curve for any hockey player and our girls were no exception. They made the most of this opportunity, doing themselves and their school proud. Each girl made a valuable contribution to our success by showing dedication and commitment to the game, to the team and to one another. This not only made this group stand out but it also made them a pleasure to coach!
Taryn de Winnaar
Head of sport: Senior school