The Saint Andrew’s under-14 A hockey team from Bloemfontein, continued a run of success for the school in the age group by clinching the Free State Cup title for the second time in succession and the third time in four years recently.
The competition brings together the leading teams from around the Free State to determine the province’s champion side, but it was anything but a smooth ride to the honours for the Saints’ boys.
They had enjoyed a strong season, including racking up five wins in five matches at the Independent Schools Hockey Festival, and followed that up by running roughshod over their opposition in pool play in the Bloemfontein League.
In the playoffs, however, Jim Fouché High School pulled off a major upset by shocking Saints 1-0. The boys in blue dominated the contest, but despite numerous attempts on goal failed to score, resulting in JF taking on Grey College for the Bloemfontein League title.
Saints were then a late call-up for the Free State Cup after one of the regions failed to send a representative to the competition. Given a second chance to right some mistakes, Saint Andrew’s showed they had learned some lessons.
They opened their challenge with a 3-0 victory over Kroonstad High and followed that up with a second 3-0 victory, this time over the tenacious Jim Fouché side, racing into a three-goal advantage at half-time after an excellent first half performance, and ultimately settling for a 3-0 victory.
Grey College, meanwhile, saw off Kroonstad High 3-1 in their opener, but then failed to break down Jim Fouché’s stubborn defence in a goalless draw in which both sides missed a penalty stroke.
In effect, that left the showdown between Saints and Grey as a final. After a tremendous back-and-forth tussle, during which both teams came close to scoring, the contest ended goalless. However, with Grey having drawn with Jim Fouché, the title belonged to Saint Andrew’s, who could once again lay claim to the title of Free State champions.
On the photo above:
Midfielder Tshenolo Mafojane, from St Andrews, carries the ball against Jim Fouché in a 3-0 win that helped clinch the Free State Cup for his team.