SOUTHERN CAPE NEWS – The Southern Cape men’s hockey team has again – for the sixth consecutive time – returned home as champions from the annual South African Country Districts Hockey tournament, which was held at Hilton College in Pietermaritzburg last week.

This was also the 12th consecutive time that Southern Cape played in the final. It was also the first ever time that the team had won a tournament in KwaZulu-Natal.

Another feather in the cap of the Southern Cape hockey team is that they now hold the record for the most victories in the history of the SACD tournament dating back to 1975. This feat will surely never be repeated again.

The side was once again well captained by Marc van Staden and, along with vice captain Kevin Damons, led the team to the final against the home team, Midlands and even-tually to the trophy after winning 2-1 in the final.

The Southern Cape side wasdrawn in the more difficult pool, which made their task of defending the title they won in Grahamstown last year even tougher.

“The road to the final,” a proud coach Nigel Leverton said, “started in March as a squad of players was selected to continue in the winning ways of the Southern Cape teams of the past. A new, inexperienced team was chosen and this team started training every weekend from then. Players representing Quarry Hockey Club, George Hockey Club, NMMU Hockey and Knysna Hockey Club, were selected and credit must go to these players for all the effort that was put in since March.”

Six players were selected in the South African Country Districts team to participate in the IPT tournament in Cape Town in August. They are Marc van Staden (capt), Nigel Leverton, Sean Mackenzie, Alastair Trafford, Girshwin Sparks and Kevin Damons (non travelleling reserve).

The tournament results were: drew 2-2 against Natal Coastals; beat Eastern Gau-teng 3-2; drew 3-3 against Midlands B; beat Western Province 2-1; beat Northerns 4-2; beat Mpumulanga 3-0 (semi finals); beat Midlands 2-1 (finals).

Leverton said that without the backing of local businesses and sponsors this victory would not have been possible.

“We cannot thank you enough for the support. Thanks Group Editors, Top Gear Sport, Tours for South Africa, Networkwise, Mountain Ridge Spur (Riversdale), Knysna Yamaha, Princess Hockey, Dr Marita Boshoff, Toy Factory, Grants Sports, Gryphon Hockey, East Head Cafe, FNB, Ithula Guest Farm and Coke. Your contributions towards the success of this team were immense.

“There were also quite a few private sponsors who wish to remain anonymous – you know who you are. Thank you.”

REF : George Herald