St Andrew's College - April Hockey Festival report

MAY 9, 2017
St Andrew's College - April Hockey Festival report

The St Andrew’s College U14A side played in the Independent Schools Hockey Festival hosted by York High School over Easter and began with fairly scrappy game against Clifton College in which both sides were channel bound. St Andrew’s did have slightly more control of the midfield but couldn't create space out wide.

Defensively St Andrew’s College were quite good both in terms of marking and tackling. The first half was evenly contested but St Andrew’s were slightly better in the second half scoring on one of their opportunities. Although Clifton pressed for the equaliser, the College defence held firm. The following matches saw the side being tested by the strength of both Michaelhouse (1-2) and St Andrew’s School (0-1), and the performance of the squad improved dramatically in both defensive discipline and decision-making on attack.

The match against St Charles was very entertaining, but also showed that the team needed to apply their discipline until the final whistle. Having deservedly gone 3-1 up, and controlling the match against a very good team, College made a few defensive errors in the last five minutes to concede two goals and draw the match 3-3. The final match was played against a fairly weak Bishops team who managed to play with more structure, partly due to the number of injuries in the College side.

The team went 2-0 down in the first half, but showed great character and determination to ensure a more competitive second half and contest the match until the final whistle. Great credit must be given to these players as they applied the game plan and learnt a great deal about structure. In addition, many of these players carried injuries and continued to give their best despite these set-backs.

The U16A hockey side attended the Independent Schools Hockey Festival held in Cape Town at Bishops from 26 to 30 April. The boys were kindly hosted by parents on the Wednesday night and then we had a practice on the Thursday morning before playing against St Alban’s in the evening.

The team started off the festival with an exciting and fast paced match in which we recorded a fantastic 5 - 0 win. They then played Penryn the next morning winning 5 - 0 and Michaelhouse that afternoon losing 1 - 2 in a what was a very good and tightly contested game in which Michaelhouse scored in the last minute to decide the outcome.

St Andrew’s College then played against Somerset College the next day but were unable to keep the high standard of play of the previous matches, losing 1 - 2 in a match which provided numerous opportunities to score. On the final day and in the last game of the festival, College played against the hosts Bishops, a very strong and well coached side. The team played some of their best hockey at the tournament and went one goal up in the first half. Bishops then equalised with about 8 minutes left after which there was a period of high intensity play from end to end in which either side could have scored. The final score was 1 - 1 a fair reflection of the match.

The 1st XI hockey team travelled to Gauteng for the annual Saints Easter Hockey Festival. Despite careful planning around the timing of our trip, a lengthy delay at the Port Elizabeth airport caused us to arrive at Saints with only 50 minutes to spare before our scheduled starting time.

The team got off to a slow start going down to an early Westville field goal. However, shortly before half time Westville scored again following some sloppy defending to take a 2-1 lead into the second half.  After the break the College boys came out fighting and quickly equalised again at 2-2. The teams traded 1 more goal each going into the final minutes with the score deadlocked at 3-3. With very little time left on the clock they scored the winning goal and got the festival off to the best possible start! 

St Andrew’s College faced Michaelhouse and Parktown Boys on Day 2. The Michaelhouse fixture was a thriller with both teams playing incredibly exciting hockey. Michaelhouse took a 2-0 lead early in the first half but our boys pulled one back in the last minute of the half. St Andrew’s College dominated the second half using “high press” very effectively, and counter attacking at pace.

The match was locked at 2-2. In the last 20 seconds we turned the ball over deep in our half, went the length of the field and won a short corner with just six seconds remaining in the game. The Michaelhouse goalkeeper made an excellent save from Luke Hobson’s drag flick but Peter Jarvis stepped in and scored a memorable winner; St Andrew’s College triumphed with 3-2. After a slow start in the evening game against Parktown (College were 1-2 down) the boys turned it up and played some scintillating high-paced hockey winning 6-2. 

The team had a rest day followed by their last two fixtures which where against two more KZN teams, Glenwood and Clifton.  These were two very well coached teams. The players were not at their best against a good Glenwood team and unfortunately paid the price. Having once again fallen 2-0 behind they had given themselves too much to achieve in the second half and Glenwood ran out as deserving winners 3-1. Their final game was against Clifton.

The team started well and with 15 minutes to go we were 2-0 up.  Due to a few injuries, however, they were down to just two reserves. They had also only had a two-hour break between their matches and the efforts of the last two and a half days of high intensity hockey caught up with them and their boys simply ran out of steam. Credit goes to Clifton who were relentless in attack and with 2 minutes left on the clock they found the equaliser 2-2. 

The 1st XI met only 10 days after their last Saints fixture to compete in the annual Kingswood Festival. The first match against York High School proved to be a tough affair, with the York side winning 2-1 and dominating most areas of the field. Although the St Andrew’s College side came back strongly in towards the end of the first half to pull a goal back, it was not enough as the discipline and attacking flair of the York side was too much on the day.

The side followed up with an emphatic 4-0 victory over a game, but fairly young Parel Vallei side, but did not start the third match against Woodridge (losing 1-2) very well. The side were poor defensively and conceded two early goals. Although the team dominated the possession and territory in the second half, they could not penetrate the Woodridge goal for the equaliser. A tough encounter followed that afternoon against a well-structured and physical Glenwood House team which the Four Squares outplayed their opponents in most departments, but had to work hard for their deserved 2-1 win.

The final match against Stirling High School saw an emphatic display by the St Andrew’s College side who had been thwarted by the Stirling keeper earlier in the season. The team scored an impressive 9-0 victory with goals coming from all parts of the D to finish a tough festival on a high.