Some of the top hockey teams in the Eastern Cape will have their eye on the glory when they compete in the second SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge finals at Woodridge next week.
The provincial finals, involving the five regional winners, will take place at Woodridge as planned despite the devastation caused by a massive fire in June.
A further feather in the cap for the Thornhill school is that they will be making their first appearance in the finals on August 12 after winning the PE Coastal leg in June.
SPAR Eastern Cape promotions and advertising manager Alan Stapleton said they were delighted that Woodridge would play a central role in the finals.
“We are really excited that we can go back to Woodridge this year after all that they have been through over the past month,” he said.
“Having the finals there is a message to all, that Woodridge are back and standing tall, despite all the devastation.”
He added that they were equally happy to welcome some of the Eastern Cape’s most talented hockey players to an event which created so much camaraderie among the region’s schools.
Woodridge will join the other four regional winners – Union High (PE North), Kingsridge (East London Inland), Clarendon (East London Coastal) and York (Southern Cape) – in the grand finale.
Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge national director Les Galloway said the tournament continued to grow in the Eastern Cape as it established itself on the hockey calendar.
“I believe it will develop further each year,” she said. “The schools are giving it a big tick and it is growing interest in the game.”
She added that the concept was opening up lines of communication between schools, who became aware of other teams at their level and realised they could broaden their hockey programmes.
“Sometimes even schools in close proximity don’t play each other, but the SPAR tournament has opened up further possibilities for them.”
Play will begin at 8am, with the final scheduled for 2.15pm.