In a carbon copy of last year, DSG defeated Kingswood in the final of the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge in Graaff-Reinet on Sunday.
Even the scoreline of 1-0 in the Gqeberha North regional tournament decider at Union High mirrored last year’s result between the two adversaries.
Tournament director Matt Blair said the final – played over 20 minutes – was a fitting culmination to the day’s competition as it produced “some exceptional hockey”.
DSG applied most of the pressure during the game but came up against a resilient Kingswood defence, which they struggled to break down.
Eventually, though, the deadlock was broken in the all-Makhanda derby when Kingswood gave away possession from a 16-yard hit and DSG seized the opportunity to score with two minutes left on the clock.
It was DSG’s fourth title after similar successes in 2016, 2019 and last year.
A total of eight teams, divided into two pools, contested the round-robin stage of the event.
In the one half of the draw, DSG proved too strong for their opponents and comfortably qualified for the tournament decider.
In the other pool, Kingswood were given a proper examination by Graaff-Reinet outfit Volkskool, who produced their best effort of the day to hold them to a 1-1 draw.
The Makhanda side, however, won their remaining two matches while Volkskool played to another draw, 0-0 against Victoria Girls’, which cemented Kingswood’s place in the final.
DSG coach Geowynne Gamiet said he was happy with the way the girls performed in a tough event that had been played in temperatures in the mid-30s.
“It was a good start to the season for us. It sets the tone for the rest of our programme.”
He said they were “exceptional throughout the day” and felt the title was deserved after amassing 14 goals.
The key to a tense final was to remain patient, especially with Kingswood looking for counter-attacking opportunities, he explained.
“They got through a few times, but generally we had the upper hand.
“We had something like 10 penalty corners and just struggled to finish, so frustration does set in when you are playing against the clock.”
“It was just a case of trying to keep pushing forward and eventually we snuck it near the end.”
DSG now turn their attention to the Greg Beling tournament in East London from March 16 to 19, where they will face top schools from around the country.
This year’s SPAR Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge will be played over five tournaments as the traditional sixth, the provincial finals, has been sacrificed in favour of putting more emphasis on the regional events.
The second tournament is the Gqeberha Coastal event, which will be hosted by Victoria Park on March 26.