Outeniqua hockey Louisa Campher

Long-serving Outeniqua High player Louisa Campher is poised to finish her journey in the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge with a flourish this weekend.

The school’s headgirl has achieved just more than 70 caps for the first team since her debut in Grade 9 in 2020 and wants to make the most of this competitive tournament, which also has an emphasis on fun.

Southern Cape schools will gather at Oakhill School in Knysna on May 6 to decide the 2023 regional champions, with Outeniqua eager to defend the title they won last year.

Campher acknowledged the challenges they faced in the 20-minute matches, in which the pressure was intense and where there was little room for error.

“I am backing the girls to do well and although the shortened version of the game is tough, we have been training a lot and putting in the hard yards. I know we have the ability to go out with all guns blazing.”

Their focus would be on scoring early and then building on that momentum, she said.

“We definitely have what it takes and just need to believe in ourselves and each other.”

The experienced star, who is playing centre-back this year, described the Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge as an occasion to remember.

Outeniqua hockey Louisa Campher

Outeniqua High hockey star Louisa Campher, preparing here to hit the ball, will be playing in her final SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge at Oakhill in Knysna on May 6. Photo: Supplied

“It was definitely one of the highlights in 2022. It was a tough day at the office, playing six games in one day, but it was so worth it.

“The music that they play during our matches makes the game so much more fun than it already is!”

Campher, who has lived in George all her life and began playing on the grass fields of George South Primary, will hope to make her years of experience on the hockey field count at Oakhill.

“My love for hockey started in Grade 3 when we still played on the good old grass fields,” she said.

“I definitely developed a passion for the sport and when I had to choose between hockey and netball, it was an easy choice. All my focus since then has been on hockey.”

As she contemplates her last year at school she can fall back on some special hockey memories.

“My favourite was when I made my debut and scored my first goal for the first team,” said Campher.

A powerful rapport has been built up over the last three years between the Outeniqua High players and staff.

“They have really played such an important part in my high school years. Outeniqua hockey has helped me to grow so much as a player and a person.

“It’s been an amazing experience and I am going to miss it next year.”

The schools competing this weekend are Oakhill, Outeniqua, Glenwood House, Knysna High and York.