The SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge has been temporarily suspended following the decision by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to stop all contact sport at schools.
With the prospect of a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic looming, this means the tournaments in Grahamstown and George will not be played as scheduled on May 23 and May 30 respectively.
National tournament director Les Galloway said their primary objective was to safeguard the health of the players and officials.
“We respect the decision of the DBE and will naturally fall in line with the regulations they have laid down. We want to assure everyone that the health of the players come first.”
She added that they were grateful that three of the five playoffs had already taken place.
These were held in East London, Port Elizabeth and Queenstown, with Clarendon, Collegiate and Queenstown Girls’ High emerging as the respective winners.
“It is great that we have had these events which have at least allowed the girls to experience the competition, but obviously we need to be careful going forward.”
Galloway said that because the Covid-19 wave could ebb and flow, they were keeping their options open regarding the future of the event, hence the decision to postpone rather than cancel the remaining tournaments, as happened last year.
“These SPAR tournaments are a highlight on the schools’ hockey calendar and I believe that they will be keen to play if their calendar allows.”