Kingsridge will be back to defend their title when the second regional tournament in the SPAR Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge takes place in Queenstown on Sunday.
The Border Inland event will see eight teams vie for honours when they meet on the astroturf at the Queenstown Girls’ High School.
Tournament director Bev Forword said the school had again offered to host the event as it was the most central venue.
“Many of the teams have to travel a fair distance to play in the competition so this is the best venue for this exciting day of senior hockey.”
Adelaide High are unable to attend this year and have been replaced by King William’s Town school St Christopher’s.
They will join Burgersdorp, Kingsridge, Aliwal North, Hangklip, Stutterheim, Templeton and Queenstown Girls’ High in the battle for the regional title.
Forword said she was sure there would be strong competition among the schools.
“There has been a lot of excitement this time as schools now know what it is all about,” she said.
“It is a wonderful tournament for schools who never get to play in major occasions and last year we noted tremendous support from the parents.”
She said as teams changed from year to year one was never quite sure who would be among the top contenders.
“But I know that Kingsridge have just returned from the All Girls’ Festival in Pretoria where they did well.”
She said the sides would compete in two pools with cross-pool semifinals for the top two teams in each section.
Further matches, she said, would see the team that ended third in pool A play their counterparts in pool B, while the fourth-placed sides would meet.
The winners of the tournament will qualify for the Eastern Cape provincial finals at Woodridge just outside Port Elizabeth on August 12.
Union High, of Graaff-Reinet, won the first regional tournament in March, while further events will take place in East London (May 21), George (May 28) and Port Elizabeth (June 4).
The Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge was started by SA women’s hockey team manager Les Galloway, who popularised the concept among KwaZulu-Natal schools seven years ago.
She introduced the idea to the Western Cape in 2015 and it spread to the Eastern Cape last year.