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Mental strength key as Fairmont hunts a win at Rhenish

By Avuyile Sawula , in Hockey | Featured Hockey | News , at 2024-05-15 Tags: ,

Photo credits: Colin Hadley
Photo credits: Colin Hadley

The Fairmont High School girls’ hockey team will take a trip to Stellenbosch, intent on causing a major upset when they take on Rhenish Girls’ High School in one of the big matches in the Western Cape this weekend.

The first push-back on Rhenish’s main Astroturf is at 19:00 on Friday evening.

Catch all the action LIVE on SuperSport Schools.

Despite producing mixed results in recent weeks, Fairmont has impressed hockey enthusiasts with an attractive brand of hockey this season.

The side, coached by Jarryd Curran, has punched above its weight, accruing a number of upset wins on its way to establishing itself as a serious threat to some of the big guns.

They began their season at the York Easter Festival, where they thumped East London’s Cambridge High 4-0, before slotting a whopping nine goals against St Dominic’s.

Their impressive run in George also included a 1-0 win over Outeniqua, a 2-2 draw with York High, and an emphatic 8-1 victory over Victoria Park in their last outing.

“We had a very good pre-season with the group – loads of preseason fixtures and tournaments – and the girls started finding their feet but, all in all, it was good,” Curran told SuperSport Schools, ahead of his side’s showdown with Rhenish.

“We haven’t had the best start to the season in terms of the league. We’ve been unfortunate with two big injuries recently, which might slow down the progress of the team, but we have to look forward and just make sure we get better each game.”

Curran’s side also participated in the Belgotex Sport Easter Hockey tournament and, after an unbeaten run in the pool stages, they finished as the winners of the Plate.

Fairmont captain, Sienna Graser in action for her side during the Belgotex Sport Easter Hockey Tournament in Cape Town.
Fairmont captain, Sienna Graser in action for her side during the Belgotex Sport Easter Hockey Tournament in Cape Town. Photo credits: Belgotex Sports

“Yes, using tournaments as preparation was really good,” he said.

“At Belgotex, we went unbeaten throughout but, unfortunately, fell short of the Cup semi-finals due to points in our group.

“But we remained focused on our goal and stayed unbeaten and won the Plate Section.”

More recently, Fairmont’s results have been mixed. In their last four matches, they’ve won two, lost one, and played to a goalless draw against DF Malan.

Their wins, against Stellenbosch High and Westerford, were both by emphatic 5-0 margins.

They did, however, go down 0-3 to Somerset College, the winners of the Belgotex Sport Easter Hockey Tournament, and coach Curran knows exactly what his charges need to work on, if they wish to avoid a similar outcome on Friday.

“It is never easy playing Rhenish, but it’s always good to test ourselves against a well-coached and driven team,” he said.

“It will take a lot of mental strength to beat them. Not only are they physically dominant, but they are also very smart hockey players, so to get into the game we will just have to be smarter than them.

“We will also have to be very disciplined and take our chances, and make sure we are ready for the battle.”

The Stellenbosch side will be tough to beat. They’re enjoying a strong season under the guidance of head coach, Chris Gerber.

Recently, at the National All Girls Festival, they narrowly missed out on Gold, going 2-3 down to Affies Girls in a penalty shootout after regulation time had ended goalless.

Sienna Graser and her Fairmont team will be hard-pressed to stop the confident Rhenish girls in their own backyard. Composure and experience are not lacking in the Fairmont side, however, with several players reaching first team milestones this year.

Camryn Corner, Madison Ackerman and Gabriella Grasso all received their 50th caps for the team earlier in the season.

Tatum O’Brien, Sarah Swanepoel, and Leah Buckley have also joined the 50-club, while Sienna Graser and Kaylin Bastard recorded their 100th caps for the Green Machine.

Other matches

The weekend’s action gets underway at Worcester Gimnasium, who welcome Strand for their final match of the term.

Paarl Girls’ High takes on La Rochelle, while Parel Vallei battles Somerset College in a big derby match.

Rustenburg Girls’ High will host Springfield Convent School, and Herschel Girls School meets Stellenberg High School in a late game.

On Saturday, Melkbosstrand faces Brackenfell, before a big clash between Paarl Gimnasium and HMS Bloemhof.


Friday, 17 May

15:00 – Worcester Gimnasium vs Strand
17:30 – Paarl Girls’ High vs La Rochelle
18:20 – Parel Vallei vs Somerset College
18:30 – Rustenburg Girls’ High vs Springfield Convent School
19:00 – Rhenish Girls’ High vs Fairmont High School
19:05 – Herschel Girls School vs Stellenberg High

Saturday, 18 May 

08:00 – Melkbosstrand vs Brackenfell
10:15 – Paarl Gimnasium vs HMS Bloemhof

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