SuperSport Schools Plus

Player Profile – Tre’ Gilbert (Selborne College)

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

Selborne College skipper, Tre' Gilbert in action for his side at the KES Hockey Festival in March 2024. Photo credits: TeamPhoto SA
Selborne College skipper, Tre’ Gilbert in action for his side at the KES Hockey Festival. Photo: TeamPhoto SA

Selborne College prides itself on producing not only outstanding hockey players but, also, leaders and characters who will go above and beyond for the school badge on the AstroTurf.

Their 2024 captain Tre’ Gilbert fits that description.

He’s a born leader, a character in the changing room, and a player many others look up to.

Aged 18, Gilbert is humble but confident and his excellence on the Astro has captivated hockey enthusiasts within the Amathole region and elsewhere around the country.

Ahead of his side’s showdown with Dale College in Qonce on Friday, Gilbert sat down with SuperSport Schools Plus hockey writer Avuyile Sawula for an exclusive interview.

In it, he spoke about where his love for hockey began, his achievements on the turf, and his team’s objectives for the 2024 season.

Love for the game

Gilbert was introduced to hockey from a young age. Growing up in East London, he attended Selborne Primary from five years of age. In the winter, he opted for a hockey stick. In the summer, he chose a cricket bat.

At home, both sports were encouraged, but he invested more time and practice towards honing his hockey skills. The inspiration to take the sport seriously also came from his father, Baden Gilbert.

“I played hockey from a young age, for as long as I can remember,” Gilbert said. “It was one of the sports I loved.

“My dad played a massive role in me liking it because he was at Maritzburg College and played pretty much his whole life. It’s something he and I have always bonded well over.

“That’s why it was pretty special for me to get my 50th cap at Maritzburg College against College, and my dad was there to witness it, so that was special,” he shared.

On the turf

He’s a versatile player, able to operate effectively in multiple positions, and in recent years Gilbert’s game has progressed to increasingly higher levels.

Before joining the College, he made his mark representing the Amathole side at under-13 level, when he was in grade six and seven.

When he moved to the high school in 2020, it was at the height of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, that meant, just like every other schoolboy hockey player in the country, he missed out on a season to sharpen up his game.

In 2022, he debuted for the Selborne College first team, while in grade 10, in a match against St Stithians College at the Hibbert Shield. He also ran out for Amathole at the annual Sashoc IPT.

When questioned about his favourite positions to play, Gilbert said: “In terms of positions, I have played centre-back from primary to high school. I played centre-back for the first team in grade 10, and last year.

“I, also, occasionally play centre-link, provincially and nationally, as I’ve been earmarked as a versatile player. I can slot in wherever needed.

“I must say, though, I probably prefer playing push-up centre-back, where I push up into the mid-field, as an extra player.”

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Representing South Africa

In 2023, the Selborne skipper was included in a strong 18-player squad to represent South Africa at the Mirnawan Cup in Malaysia.

The u17 lineup featured the top talent from across the country, including, among others, Paul Roos Gimnasium’s Reuben Sendzul, who led the side, SACS’s Reece Theunis and Litha Kraai, Durban High School’s Lumi Matwele, and Bishops’ playmaker, James Grieve.

In Malaysia, Gilbert and his peers excelled, capturing the silver medal after losing 3-4 against India in the final.

The experience was one he cherished, Gilbert said, because it helped him to shape his game, and it also allowed him an opportunity to learn from some of the best players in the country.

“It was a real eye-opener, just to see the level of intensity and commitment those guys train with,” he commented.

“I saw a culture of hard work, and I wanted to bring that back to the Border region, and to Selborne hockey, and I think that can be seen through our results.

“I learned a lot about the professionalism of the game, as well.

“The tour made a massive difference. I took a lot from my coaches and my peers, and that’s probably my biggest learning curve. It’s helped tremendously to get me to where I am today, in terms of my hockey.”

The Selborne College first team side at this year's Tony Godding Festival in East London. Photo credits: Shot by Shani Photography
The Selborne College first team side at this year’s Tony Godding Festival in East London. Photo credits: Shot by Shani Photography

2024 season

The Selborne College side, for a second season running, is led by head coach KJ Friend, assisted by Luke Ferreira.

The team began the season in the best manner possible, racking up a 15-game winning streak, before losing 2-5 to Grey College, a week before the Hibbert Shield.

In Gqeberha, they started poorly but recovered as the tournament progressed to finish in ninth spot, above Clifton College, St Stithians College, and Pearson High.

“I think, at the start of the season, we came out with a bang and plateaued when we played against Queen’s (1-1), and Grey (2-5), and those were disappointing results for us.

“I feel like we went into Hibbert with those games in the back of our heads. But, as the tournament progressed, I think we started finding our game.

“We defeated St Stithians College (6-1), Pearson (2-0), and Clifton (4-0), and our goalscoring ability came back, so it was a good time to peak again.

“We know we need to keep winning if we want to reach our goal of finishing as one of the country’s top five teams,” he concluded.

Selborne will seek to add another victory to their long list of wins this season when they visit Qonce to take on Dale College.

They head into the contest fully aware that the hosts pulled off an upset victory over Queen’s College at the Queen’s reunion in Komani.

Dale will also be highly motivated to shock the favoured Selborne team as it’s their 163rd reunion. However, previous meetings favour Selborne. Last year, they won both home (6-0) and away (7-1).

Catch all the action LIVE from Qonce on SuperSport Schools.

Other matches

In other Friday fixtures, Kingswood College hosts Victoria Park in Makhanda, while Stirling High School, and Cambridge reignite their rivalry in East London, and Westering plays Alexander Road.

Grey High, after thumping Queen’s College 6-0 last weekend, will host their Gqeberha rivals, Pearson High, and Woodridge College locks horns with Union High.


Friday, 17 May

16:00 – Dale College vs Selborne College
17:00 – Kingswood College vs Victoria Park
18:00 – Stirling High School vs Cambridge High
18:30 – Westering vs Alexandre Road
19:00 – Grey High vs Pearson

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