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PRG’s “mentality monsters” claim back-to-back Hibbert Shield titles

In possession is Paul Roos's Keith Siebrits surrounded by two SACS players during the Hibbert Shield final in Gqeberha on Saturday, 4 May 2024. Paul Roos won the encounter (6-5) on penalties after the regular time ended 3-3. Photo: Karl Seebach
In possession, Paul Roos’s Keith Siebrits is met by two SACS players during the Hibbert Shield final in Gqeberha on Saturday, 4 May. Photo: Karl Seebach

After going unbeaten in the pool stages and knock-out rounds, Paul Roos Gimnasium capped off a perfect Hibbert Shield campaign when they defeated South African College High School (SACS) 6-5 on penalties in the final of the tournament at Grey High’s Rectory Astroturf in Gqeberha on Saturday.

Coach Michael Baker’s team was forced to do it the hard way after trailing 0-3 early in the match.

However, they showed grit, character, and a never-say-die attitude to level matters at 3-3, which forced the encounter into penalties and, eventually, sudden death.

In their journey to the final, PRG put together a spotless record in the group stages, then eliminated Paarl Gimnasium in the quarterfinals, before facing Garsfontein in the last four.

On Saturday morning, they made light work of the Pretoria side netting 10 times and making a statement ahead of the final.

Their opponents SACS had a similarly clean run but were made to work hard in the semis where they needed a penalty shootout to beat Grey High 4-2.

Unlike in the semi-finals, where they struggled for goals, SACS was quickly out of the blocks in the title-decider, netting a goal within the opening minute through a PC drag flick from Litha Kraai.

The Cape Town school dictated play and camped in PRG’s half, forcing the Stellenbosch side into mistakes.

Those mistakes resulted in another PC and, after a smart variation, Kraai passed the ball to Reece Theunis, who found himself in space and easily made it 2-0.

With a minute to play in the chukka, Theunis beat shot-stopper Beor van Reenen for a second time, leaving SACS 3-0 to the good.

As the second quarter began, PRG looked rattled, but they certainly were not out of it, and they began to gain a foothold in the match.

They looked more organised in midfield, where Joshua Smit, Christo Swanepoel, and Callum van Oudsthoorn displayed some much-needed energy.

Baker’s boys finally got their opener with a minute to play in the first half when their skipper Reuben Sendzul found himself inside SACS’s circle and, with not many defenders around him, managed to sneak the ball past Noah Venter.

The scores remained static in the third chukka, but the complexion of the match changed in the fourth.

PRG’s comeback started early in the chukka, when they received a penalty corner after a SACS’ player played the ball with a hand.

From that PC, Sendzul played a variation and picked out Keith Siebrits, who was in the right spot to tap in and make it 3-2.

SACS were, then, kept in the game by their goalkeeper, Venter, who produced two fine saves to keep his side in front.

However, his heroics were short-lived as Callum van Oudtshoorn, with three minutes to play, levelled matters, much to the delight of the travelling supporters.

With the sides tied at 3-3, the contest went to eight-second penalties and onto sudden death when those failed to saparate the teams.

The winning penalty for PRG was scored by the lanky Swanepoel, while Theunis was dispossessed by Van Reenen when attempting to even the scores, giving Paul Roos a 6-5 win from the spot.

The win means Paul Roos has put together an impressive unbeaten streak over the last three weeks, with their last defeat, a shock 0-1 loss to Rondebosch, coming last month.

The Stellenbosch boys also finished the tournament as the top-scoring team with 31 goals. SACS and Grey were well behind them, with 17 goals apiece.

This coming weekend, SACS will host Paul Roos at the Brewery Astroturf. Another thriller is on the cards.

Scorers in the final: 

Paul Roos: Reuben Sendzul, Keith Siebrits, Callum van Oudsthoorn. SACS: Litha Kraai, Reece Theunis (x2).

Garsfontein in action against Grey High in the 3rd/4th play-off match at the 2024 Hibbert Shield. Grey won the encounter 4-1. Photo: Karl Seebach
Garsfontein in action against Grey High in the 3rd/4th play-off match at the 2024 Hibbert Shield. Grey won the encounter 4-1. Photo: Karl Seebach

After losing their semi-final to SACS on penalties, Grey High finished on a high, beating Garsfontein 4-1 to take bronze.

Coach Ryan Julius‘s Bishops side finished fifth after coming back from two goals down to defeat Westville Boys’ High.

Durban High School (DHS) signed off with a 3-1 win over Paarl Gimnasium, while Selborne College ended ninth after a 2-0 win over Pearson High.

Results: Day 4

St Stithians College 2-2 Clifton College
Paul Roos 10-0 Garsfontein
SACS 1(4)-1(2) Grey High
Selborne College 2-0 Pearson High
Durban High 3-1 Paarl Gimnasium
Bishops 3-2 Westville
Grey High 4-1 Garsfontein
Paul Roos 3(6)-3(5) SACS

Final Standings 

Paul Roos
Grey High
Durban High School/Bishops Diocesan College
Westville Boys High/Paarl Gimnasium
Selborne College
Clifton College
St Stithians College
Pearson High

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