Kingswood College face a stiff test when the opening leg of the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge is played in Graaff-Reinet on Friday.
The Port Elizabeth North tournament will take place at Union High, with the Grahamstown school preparing to defend the title they won last year.
A total of 11 schools will compete in two pools, with the top two sides contesting the final.
Kingswood coach Bevan Bennett said they knew the competition would be strong this year.
“We have [Grahamstown rivals] DSG in our pool, so it will certainly be a tough battle to end top of the section,” he said.
“Similarly, Union High will be a difficult side to beat in the other pool.”
With matches limited to 20 minutes, there is little room for error and Bennett said the side which scored first often went on to win.
“A lot of success depends on how well you start the match and if you can maintain that throughout the 20 minutes,” he added.
“You need to be accurate in your attack and if you get an early goal you treat it like the last 20 minutes of a game, with a lot of concentration on your defence.”
The Kingswood mentor said the players loved the event, while it gave the coaches a perfect opportunity to test their squad members in a pressurised environment.
SPAR EC sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton said they were looking forward to the forthcoming tournaments.
“SPAR Eastern Cape is excited once again to be able to support the Hockey Challenge,” he said. “There will be some tough, competitive weekends ahead, with heaps of camaraderie and friendship thrown in.
“Some innovation and new ideas should make the 2019 Hockey Challenge just that little bit more interesting and enjoyable.”
The teams taking part are: Pool A: Union High, Volkskool, Cradock High, Riebeek, PJ Olivier; Pool B: Uitenhage High, Gill, DSG, Kingswood, Victoria Girls’, Brandwag.