South Africa – Northern KZN Regional has a new winner, that of host school Hoërskool Pionier which took the title in a scintillating final of the SPAR KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge on Saturday 29 February.
KZN Schoolgirls’ Hockey Challenge 2020
Hoërskool Pionier had a cracker of a day, starting their efforts off with a 5 nil victory and continued their winning streak all the way to the final where they met St Dominics Newcastle School.
St Doms started the regional final with a spring in their step as they worked their way to the Pionier goal from the whistle. The visiting team opened their account with an absolute pearler of a goal when Vanessa Abudo entered the circle left of goal, slapped the ball in from the top of the D, passed the waiting keeper, Chrysna van Rhyn’s defence to a cleverly placed Andiswa Mhlongo camping out on the right post. Mhlongo calmly popped the ball across the line, netting the first goal.
After 8 minutes, the home team started chipping away at St Dominics Newcastle’s dominance when they broke into the opposition’s circle and earned a short corner after 8 minutes and 21 seconds. They set up a basic attack, with the ball getting trapped at the castle and then being rocketed towards the goals, but a brave charge-down stopped Pionier’s first real attempt.
After a few more unsuccessful short corners, Pionier magiced up an equalizer after a scramble in the St Dom’s circle resulted in the ball slipping across the line. The game was then 1 all with only 2 and a half minutes of play left. St Dom’s response was a solitary break from midfield with the player running out of turf, pushing the ball in from the right only to find no support from her players.
As the game time ran out, the action moved to the pressure spot where three players from each team got a chance for a penalty shoot out. Pionier started the proceedings nailing the first one, with St Dom’s rising to the challenge, and also finding the back of the box on their first penalty. The second round saw both teams slot in their attempts. In the final round Pionier’s Berne van Heerden’s flick went wide giving St Dom’s captain, Nosipho Magula’s a tournament winning chance but it wasn’t to be as her attempt agonisingly didn’t get the rewards.
The title of the tournament went to sudden death with St Dom’s stepping up to the spot first. Abudo earlier game time success didn’t continue to the spot and her chance went abegging giving Pionier’s Charnique Oosthuizen a tournament winning chance. Oosthuizen rose to the occasion, pummelling in her shot, past the advances of keeper, van Rhyn and earning the regional honours for Pionier.
Pionier is the third team to earn the title of Northern KZN champion, claiming the title from the defending champs Ferrum, who have won the trophy eight times. Pionier met Ferrum in the second semi final and knocked out the defending champs with two goals scored by Oosthuizen and Kayla Becker. In the first semi final, St Dom’s were victorious with a 2 nil win against Dundee High School. Awande Mbuli and Vanessa Abudo netted the two for St Dom’s in the semi.
Pionier is the first team to earn a spot at the Grand Finals which will take place at St Mary’s DSG in Kloof in July. This weekend (7 & * March) the tournament continues with two more regionals taking place at Durban Girls’ College and Ashton International.