4 May 2017 – The Saint Andrew’s under-16 A hockey team travelled to Bishops over the long weekend to participate in the Independent Schools Hockey Festival (ISHF). They came away from the event with three wins, a draw and one defeat.
“It went very well”
“It went very well, especially considering that we could have done even better if we had our full strength side there,” coach Brendon Horwitz said afterwards. “There were two senior players that didn’t go. Those grade eights that replaced them, though, filled their shoes well.
“Overall, the team hockey was very good and we received compliments from the other teams.”
Saints’ under-16 midfielder Thami Mdubeki was a standout player at the Independent Schools Hockey Festival (Photo: Seth Adam, Saint Andrew’s Photographic Club)
Horwitz said he really enjoyed seeing his team surprise other sides with their standard of hockey: “We went in as underdogs and people thought we were going to be an easy game. Many of them got frights when we beat them or gave them a run for their money. Creating that stir among the other teams was good.”
The team beat Saint Stithian’s 3-1, edged York 1-0, outplayed Somerset College 8-1, drew 3-3 with Bishops and lost 1-4 to SACS.
Turning to the six-goal thriller against the hosts, Horwitz said: “We weren’t supposed to play against Bishops. But we played against Somerset College and beat them 8-1. We were supposed to play against Penryn that afternoon and Bishops were supposed to play against Somerset. The Bishops’ Head of Hockey asked if we could please play against Bishops… If you want to be the best, you have to compete against the best.”
After the contest ended in 3-3 draw, the Saints’ boys felt they had let a victory slip from their grasp: “The guys feel they should have won that game because we had more opportunities to score than them, but some lax finishing cost us. We had the better of the game.”
Mokotjo Sematlane proved a key player for Saint Andrew’s at the Independent Schools Hockey Festival
Saints’ sole loss was to SACS. The Head of Hockey at the schools is former Saint Andrew’s teacher Etienne Grobler, while Pierre le Roux, an old boy, who was deeply involved coaching Western Province and assisting on the national level, is assisting with the hockey programme too.
SACS had greater depth and that was made to tell on the field, Horwitz said.
“We are on a par with all the best schools in the country”
Summing up, he said: “We are on a par with all the best schools in the country. Look how well the under-14s did at the Independent Schools Hockey Festival, winning four and drawing one match. In the 15 matches that the 1st XI, under-16s and under-14s played at the ISHF, we lost only one.”
On Wednesday, the under-16 A team faced Grey under-16 C, just ahead of their derby day clash against Saint John’s. It was a frustrating outing, played mostly in the Grey 23, but an astonishing performance from their goalkeeper kept Saints out for most of the contest. In the end, Saint Andrew’s came away 1-0 winners.