Clarendon High and Hudson Park continued their domination of the East London Coastal leg in the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge yesterday, with Clarendon ending on top this time.
Playing at the Merrifield College campus, Clarendon beat their East London rivals 3-0 in the decider to book a place in the provincial finals to be held at Collegiate in Port Elizabeth on July 31 and August 1.
They joined Collegiate as the first two teams to qualify for the finals after the PE team won the PE Coastal leg by defeating Pearson 4-0 at Framesby.
The Eastern Cape series consists of five tournaments, showcasing the skills of hundreds of schoolgirls. Further playoff legs will take place in Queenstown (May 16), Grahamstown (May 23) and George (May 30).
Since the inaugural tournament in 2016, Clarendon and Hudson Park have shared the spoils in the East London playoffs, with the former taking the title in 2017 and 2019 and the latter in 2016 and 2018. Clarendon also won the overall provincial title in 2017.
There was no tournament last year because of the Covid pandemic.
EL Coastal organiser Bev Forword said the SPAR Challenge produced another “wonderful day of hockey at the stunning Merrifield College campus”.
“The girls appeared a bit rusty in the early games, but they quickly found more cohesion and rhythm in their play as the day went on,” she said.
“Clarendon and Hudson really got into their stride in the final with some slick passing and exciting circle entries.
“It was Clarendon, however, who made better use of their opportunities to retain the title they won in 2019 by slotting three goals without reply.”
Clarendon, who were unbeaten during the day, had earlier also defeated Hudson Park in the league phase 1-0. The goals in the final were scored by Braunwyn Martin (2) and Jenna Viviers.
Clarendon coach Cheryl Pope described it as another successful day of schoolgirls hockey.
“As usual, this was another very enjoyable tournament and a special time for all of us to get together. I would like to thank all those involved who made this happen and to all the players for their excellent play during the tournament.”
Forword said there were several notable performances during the day.
“In the round-robin phase, hosts Merrifield produced some of their best hockey to claim a 5-0 win over Port Rex.
“There was also a very good game when the enthusiastic and lively Cambridge team held off Stirling to play to a 0-0 draw.
“It was terrific to see the girls back in action and, as always, we must say a huge thank you to SPAR for their support of this exciting event.”