KZN Schools test their hockey skills against country’s best during hockey festival

Clifton College first team gather in team huddle during the Hibbert Shield, in Gqeberha. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Clifton College first team gather in team huddle during the Hibbert Shield, in Gqeberha. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Published May 5, 2023


Durban - Durban High School (DHS), Clifton College and Westville Boys’ High School represented KwaZulu-Natal in the Hibbert Shield last weekend in Gqeberha.

The Hibbert Shield is one of the premier school hockey events and Grey High School were the hosts between April 27 - April 30. The tournament involved 12 of the top schools from across the country.

Clifton College Director of Hockey Keagan Pearce said he was proud of his young team and said that this tournament is the best way for them to measure their growth.

“With such a young team, having four U16 boys, quite a small number of Grade 11s and even a Grade 9 player, we complimented the matric group with some fiercely competitive games throughout the festival,” Pearce said.

He added that Clifton has competed consistently on a national level for many years now and for an Independent Day School to compete at that level without a boarding house, many people wouldn’t understand what sacrifice that takes for boys in the sports programme.

“This festival gives the boys the opportunity to experience Inter-provincial National Tournament (IPT) formatted hockey and its a constant reminder to take your opportunities to get a result. Our boys thrived in the tournament and playing against schools we wouldn't normally, is such a rewarding experience for us as a school,” Pearce said.

DHS U16A Head Coach Taylor Kelly-Stack was proud of his team as they finished as runners-up in their section.

“The opportunity to see our boys test themselves against some of the best in the country is a privilege for any coach. To watch each boy hit each obstacle they meet individually and come together to be the best team they can be is incredible. It also allows us to compare our own program with those that we come up against and find ways that we can offer more to the boys. The challenges we face as coaches coming up against the quality of coaches we do, also shows us where we are and what we can do to better ourselves,” Kelly-Stack said.

He said he was proud of the way his team approached each challenge and how they will not stop until they get their desired result.

“Not only just about the way the result goes, but if they think they need to better their tempo, their energy or the all-round quality, they will do whatever it takes to do so. They will fight for everything until the end and often, come together to achieve their goal,” Kelly-Stack said.

The Independent on Saturday