WHILST sorting out a desk drawer a review of the 2007 KZN10 schoolboy hockey season caught my eye. Edited excerpts from * Mike Hill‘s season wrap make for interesting reading.
I’ve thrown in a number of bits and pieces from my memories of that year.
Featured image: 2007 Kearsney College captain & SA Schools defender Greg Last who went on to represent SA and play for numerous seasons in KZN Raiders title-winning teams and in Europe for his Belgian club.
Maritzburg College were the top-rated KZN team, having played 17 games won 14 lost 3.
The Tony Godding Festival at Selborne College kicked off the Red Army season with 5 wins from 5 matches and a goal tally of 22. Tony is one of the legendary figures in SA schoolboy hockey coaching.
The Red Army’s 3 losses were to the strong Grey College team who were within – with Maritzburg College – arguably the top 2 or 3 rated sides in SA, and, as match favourites, 2 rather surprising defeats in the 3rd term… against PBHS (who MC beat in the 2nd term) and Kearsney College.
The Maritzburg College 3 Grey College 5 on Papes Astro must be ranked one of the most emotion-charged, action-packed schoolboy first team matches I’ve ever seen.
Grey were coached by another SA schoolboy hockey coaching legend, Des Donald.
The 2007 Red Army were coached by the incomparable SA schoolboy hockey first team coach Mike Bechet.
Living Legend: Mike Bechet… an incredible record as a schoolboy hockey coach in SA.
In my opinion Bech’s triumvirate of over 700 Maritzburg College first XI matches and sheer number of SA top-rated schoolboy first teams, plus more SA Schools and SA senior national players during his tenure than any of his peers, will never be matched.
The 2007 Red Army averaged 4,8 goals per game. Striker David Miller (later of senior international cricket fame) netted 20 goals in leading the Pape’s Astro goal fest.
Next up with 15 goals were the penalty corner drag-flick guided missiles of the exceptionally strong powerfully-built left ⬅ half Tyron Mingard who wasn’t the sort of guy a striker looked forward to playing against.
Matt Hampson (the captain, I think) added 13 successful goalshots – Miller, Mingard and Hampson accounting for 59% of the season aggregate of 81.
A miserly 21 goals were conceded in the 17 matches – an average of 1,24 goals per game.
Rather amusingly, Mike Hill surmised that the end-of-second-term teachers’ strike must have troubled the Red Army defence as 9 of the 21 goals conceded were scored in the last 4 matches.
Nine Maritzburg College first team players represented KZN Midlands at the Interprovincial Nationals in Port Elizabeth.
Goalkeeper Andrew Thomas, Kyllin Vardhan, Kyle Jackson, Tyron Mingard, Matt Hampson, Wanda Mtshilibe, David Miller, Shaun Simpson and Taine Paton (London 2012 Olympic Games and 2014 Den Hague, The Netherlands Hockey World Cup) who was selected for SA Schools for the second successive year.
Brothers in Arms… Maritzburg College Old Boys Taine Paton and elder sibling Wade represented South Africa at a host of world-level showpieces including here at the 2014 Den Hague Netherlands Hockey World Cup. At back are the blonde Michaelhouse Old Boy midfield superstar Clint Panther and his more hirsute Jeppe Old Boy friend Jethro Eustice, who has since put an enormous amount back into KZN hockey.
Maritzburg College won 84% of their matches with the two other leading KZN teams Kearsney College and Michaelhouse winning 64% of their games.
The Kearsney season goal tally was 68 with 33 against, winning 14 of 22 matches.
The most significant Kearsney win was the 4-3 vs Maritzburg College on Papes Astro in their second-last match of the season.
Top goalscorer was Greg Swanson with 15. Greg, together with Greg Last, twins Michael and Graham Krige, and Mike Dawson, were selected for KZN Coastal.
Greg Last (later in the SA National team at the 2013 Nairobi Africa Cup) made SA Schools.
The Michaelhouse season kicked off with a tour to Malaysia and Western Australia where, against a mix of school, youth and adult teams, playing 12 winning 7 and losing 2 and drawing 3.
In SA they played 14 and won 9 with 26 goals for and 18 against. Michaelhouse’s most significant win was the 6-2 against St Stithians. The biggest losing margins were the three-goal deficits vs Maritzburg College and Grey College.
David Zwemke (SA U17 in 2007 and SA Schools captain vs Australia Schoolboys in 2008 – Dave’s combination play with Michaelhouse team-mate and future London 2012 Olympic Games and 2014 Hockey World Cup midfielder Clinton Panther was a constant thorn in the Aussies’ side), Sean Rennie, Glen Dowie and Arniv Badal represented KZN Midlands.
Of the 2 other predominant KZN Midlands (now KZN Inland hockey province) schools – Hilton College and St Charles College – had mixed results.
It was a big year for Saints in that their first Astro came into being – a Belgotex Greenfields turf.
The Willowton, Pietermaritzburg based Greenfields team are now the biggest players in the synthetic sports turf market with prominent names in the SA hockey fraternity such as the legend that is Tommy Hammond among the staff led by former outstanding player and current international umpire Ayden Shrives.
JJ Reed was the Hilton player in the KZN Midlands team with St Charles represented by Troy Marais.
Glenwood, whose hockey went through a lean patch, had a much-improved year.
Northwood had, by their standards at the time, a relatively disappointing season, a 2-1 victory over Kearsney the highlight.
Gowan Jones (current SA goalkeeper), Calvin Price and Tiegan Mulholland (SA Schools) made KZN Coastal.
Westville and DHS each won two matches in the 2007 season.
For DHS, Mario Vilaboa made SA Schools for the second year running. Two more DHS boys were selected for KZN Coastal – Clayton Clothier and Ryan Williams.
Thomas More College had their first player selected for SA Schools – current Kearsney College first team head coach Sihle Ntuli.
In 2007 the current Kearsney College head coach Sihle Sigz Ntuli became the first (and only) Thomas More College boy to be selected for SA Schools.
* Astonishing when one looks at it now, Clifton College – one of the top teams in SA this year – were a second-tier hockey school in 2007. Clifton’s rapid hockey progress is one of the most remarkable KZN10 success stories.
My recollections, from the numerous matches I watched, is that it was an extremely exciting season with much competitive, attractive KZN10 schoolboy hockey.
* Mike Hill was a KZN schoolboy hockey newspaper correspondent. A senior Maritzburg College
biology teacher and deputy headmaster of many years’ standing, Mike took up this part-time occupation on retirement.