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KES Festival ends on a high

By CS Chiwanza , in Hockey | Featured Hockey | News , at 2024-04-01 Tags: , , , , ,

The final day of the King Edward VII Easter Festival ended on a high note, with a thrilling three-goal contest between Parktown Boys’ High and St Charles College on the Weinberg Astro.

Coach Matthew Coombe’s St Charles was making their debut at the annual event that has been running since 2002 and has been contested 20 times. The KwaZulu-Natal team came into the festival missing a couple of key players, including their captain, which impacted their campaign.

“But these things [festivals] are condensed, so we are learning a lot as well. We are probably better off than we would have been in previous years,” he shared on Saturday, after they had played Selborne College.

Though they showed moments of brilliance in their match against Selborne, it was a one-sided contest as the Amathole outfit maintained their unbeaten run through three festivals in three weeks.

When Saints faced Parktown two days later, they looked like a different outfit – less rusty and more attacking. Despite going 0-2 down to Kyle Reddy’s boys in the first half, St Charles took the fight to the Johannesburg side, pulled one goal back in the third chukka, and almost leveled the scores in the fourth chukka.

For their part, Parktown could have extended their lead, but they failed to convert a number of chances that they created. The action swung from one D to the other but, when it ended, it was 2-1 in favour of the local side.

The Parktown-St Charles match was one of seven matches played on Monday that were decided by one-goal margins.

Earlier in the day, the hosts, KES, bagged their second win of the festival, holding off Queen’s College 2-1. Like Sharmin Naidoo’s KES team, Michael Baiden’s Queen’s side also had a mixed campaign, where they lost, drew, and won some matches.

That match was followed by Kearsney’s 1-0 win over St John’s. Ashley Kemp’s charges began their KES Festival on a high note with back-to-back wins on Saturday, but had a difficult Easter Sunday, losing to the in-form Selborne and Grey College. They make the trip back to KZN with their heads held high after playing well in their last game.

Justin Collins’ Northwood assembled at the KES festival like the Avengers. Their first XI had not played a match as a complete unit in 2024. Therefore, they did not take their 1-2 loss to Selborne in their first match to heart.

They recovered and performed at a level of which they could be proud, winning two, drawing one, and then finishing their campaign with a 3-2 victory over an attacking and hard-running Waterkloof team.

Rondebosch had endured a tough pre-season, with several of their players missing because they were busy helping ‘Bosch to very successful cricket and water polo seasons. “Which meant that a few of our players picked up a hockey stick just last week,” said coach Waseem Domingo.

After running into an on-fire Grey College in their second match, Domingo’s charges registered back-to-back draws before finding their feet against Jeppe, whom they defeated 1-0.

Kyle Emerson traveled to Johannesburg with a young Maritzburg College team, which featured four u16 players and a few grade 11s, after his outfit had endured mixed results at the Nomads Festival. His goal was to keep building on the blocks the side had laid at Nomads, which College hosted.

If Maritzburg College’s campaign is an indicator, Emerson’s charges have been learning lessons and the improvement is clear to see. They might have lost their final encounter 0-1 to Wayne Coetzee’s Grey College, but they had a good campaign, scoring three wins, a draw and a single loss.

Grey College and Selborne were the dominant outfits. KJ Friend’s boys cruised through the Easter Festival without dropping a match, while Coetzee’s charges lost only dropped points when they drew 1 – 1 with Parktown.

And while Eldoraigne is on the opposite end from those two outstanding teams and did not register a win at the KES festival, they made an impression on all present, competing well and earning respect for their performances.

The four days of hockey action at KES was probably best summed up by Wayne Coetzee’s words on Saturday afternoon: “Hockey has become an attractive sport for the spectators, and I think the games on show are a good showcase for schoolboy hockey.”


Selborne 4-1 Eldoraigne, Queen’s 1-2 KES, Kearsney 1-0 St John’s, Northwood 3-2 Waterkloof, Rondebosch 1-0 Jeppe, Grey College 1-0 Maritzburg College, Parktown 2–1 St Charles.

error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.