The SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge title is up for grabs when the provincial finals take place at Woodridge, just outside Port Elizabeth, on Saturday.
A total of five teams will contest the play-offs and with a number of established schools, including defending champions Clarendon, not having qualified this year, the race is on to see who can seize the moment.
National tournament director Les Galloway said the fact that a team such as Alexander Road had reached the provincial finals showed how unpredictable the tournament could be.
“It is brilliant to have a team like Alex in the finals for the first time because it provides exposure for another set of players,” she said.
“And then there is also a school like Hudson Park, who are back after missing out last year. It shows that this tournament gives so many opportunities to different players.”
Galloway said there would be plenty of pressure in the finals and that it would come down to who wanted it most.
“This is a chance for the players and the coaches to show what they can do.
“You just never know who will lift the trophy in the end.”
In its third year in the Eastern Cape, she said the Challenge had proved to be extremely successful, thanks to the involvement of SPAR Eastern Cape.
“This year PE Inland winners Kingswood are unable to attend the finals and have been replaced by Victoria Girls of Grahamstown.
“They are over the moon at having received this opportunity and it just shows the importance of creating these chances for our young hockey players.”
SPAR EC sponsorship and events manager Alan Stapleton said the nature of the format made for a day full of surprises.
“We are really excited about the unpredictability of the Hockey Challenge finals where there are absolutely ‘no favourites’,” he said.
The teams competing are Alexander Road (PE Coastal), VG (PE Inland), Hudson Park (Border Coastal), Kingsridge (Border Inland) and York (South Western Districts).
Play will start at 8am, with the final scheduled for 2.15pm.