Although they have seven new players in their squad this year, Clarendon High are ready to defend their title when the SPAR Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge takes place in East London on Sunday.
The outfit won the East London Coastal tournament a year ago and then went on to capture the provincial title as well, making them a marked team this time.
Clarendon coach Cheryl Pope said the Schoolgirls Challenge was an opportunity to see how players handled the intensity of the shortened format.
“Playing games over 25 minutes is always unpredictable,” she said. “This brings a ‘sudden-death’ mentality and a high level of pressure to all the matches.”
In addition to the unpredictable nature of the format, she added there was always strong competition among the teams.
“Schools like Hudson Park and Stirling have very talented teams, but the way the format is structured means all schools have a chance of winning.
“The tournament provides a wonderful platform for up-and-coming players to get involved in a competitive but fun environment.”
SPAR EC sponsorship and events manager Alan Stapleton said they were excited at the resumption of the competition at Stirling.
“The Hockey Challenge is so important to us as it allows us to talk to and be involved with communities in our bigger geographical area,” he said.
“SPAR has an impressive footprint in the area because of a really, motivated and innovative group of retailers, so it will be good to wave our banners in East London again on Sunday.