The weekend’s Kearsney Hockey Fives powered by Belgotex provided exciting play from some of South Africa’s top primary and high school teams which travelled to Botha’s Hill for the long-awaited event. It has been cancelled for the past two years due to Covid.
Hosts Kearsney College eventually won the tournament on a misty Sunday evening, after a tight final against Westville which was decided by challenges.
Kearsney won their first game 7-5, a tough one against Ashton College, in which they learned to adapt to a different game plan. The next match was against Michaelhouse who played a completely different style to Ashton. Again, the hosts adapted well, playing some exciting hockey, to win 6-5. Their last game of the day was against the top of the pool, Garsfontein from Pretoria. The team was now comfortable with their structure, and played some outstanding hockey, to win comfortably 12-5.
On the second day, the boys were fatigued from the previous day’s hockey and didn’t start well. They lost their first game to Grey College 6-7. This meant they finished second in the group and, instead of a direct route to the semi-final, had to play St Albans in the quarter-final. They managed to find their rhythm again against the boys from Pretoria, to win 9-6.
Playing at home against DHS, the form team of the tournament, much was anticipated from the Kearsney-DHS clash. DHS started extremely well and at one stage were 5-1 up in the first half. The Kearsney boys showed immense character and fought back to draw the game 8-8, which was then decided by challenges. Kearsney won the challenge and moved forward to face Westville who had beaten Garsfontein in the other semi-final.
The tournament final was a real spectacle, with a huge crowd surrounding the Mason Astro on another misty evening at Kearsney. The game was played from end to end as is expected in fives hockey, with neither team able to control the game. Westville thought they had scored the winner with just over one minute remaining, but Kearsney hit back immediately, to level the scores at 6-6. The final result was to be decided by challenges, which Kearsney won – and also won the tournament for 2022.
Match report compiled by Sue at Working Words
Image: winners of the tournament.
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