Belgotex Sport Fairmont Hockey Tournament crowns two worthy winners
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s a saying my mother said to me many times as a young man and in truth I used to get irritated by that statement, because I didn’t like absence at all. Well both statements are true, I still don’t like absence, but it absolutely has made the heart grow fonder. The non-occurrence of the Easter Festival in 2020 and 2021 were heart-breaking, but the Belgotex Sport Fairmont Hockey Tournament has shown us how much fonder we are of our game after having it taken away from us for so long!
Four days of action highlighted the talent in South African Schools, while the comradery on display was something that really is part of the fabric of the definition of Proudly South African. The opportunity to be back was great, the opportunity for kids to take the turf and to play school sport again was the most critical thing this week and that was a resounding success. There were of course two finals as the rival clash between Somerset College and Fairmont High School would decide both the girls and the boys’ tournaments.
Before the finals we were entertained by the placement games including the early application of the video referral in place. It was another stark reminder of the fantastic innovation in place at the Belgotex Sport Fairmont Hockey Tournament.
After the matrics were given a guard of honour in their final game ever, the girls got underway in the final. Somerset College were the definitive favourites but found themselves behind through Isabella Abrahams after incredible work from Amy Smit. It was a lead they would hold until the third quarter. It was a very similar goal to the Fairmont goal, but after a video referral the goal stood Kirsten Germishuys levelled at the end of the 3rd Chukka.
The momentum was now with the Somerset College side, and they made it count in the final quarter quite quickly. Lauren Venter shot was saved, and it was Germishuys netting her second. Fairmont surged back, but as they searched for a goal, they left pockets of space that gave Germishuys her chance for the final goal of the game and the tournament. 3-1 to the champions, Somerset College.
The boy’s final promised a tasty affair to with Fairmont looking the odds-on favourites to lift the trophy. 53 seconds into the match though they were on the back foot and Sean Irwin made it count and the visitors had an early lead.
Fairmont have been resolute throughout the tournament and didn’t leave their expectant fans waiting too long for the fightback. A penalty corner was awarded with four minutes to go in the first quarter. Despite the hosts butchering the initial chance they reacted quicker, and an accidental variation gave Ryan Topper a cool, calm and collected finish.
Corben O’Ryan made it 2-1 to the hosts with a much better penalty corner before a third goal was denied by a superb video referral. Despite a host of chances for both sides, the two teams couldn’t add to the score line and the hosts were the champions leading to a shared co-ed cup for the first time in tournament history.
Mr Brian Algie, the founder of the tournament back in 2006, joined the medals ceremony and trophy presentation along with principal of Fairmont High School Mr. Leon Erasmus. After the medals were awarded to the top three teams the individual awards were presented with Lauren Venter from Somerset College collecting the top goal scorer and player of the tournament.
The Boys top goal scorer was Sean Slater from York High School with 12 goals, while Somerset College’s Liam Bayer was awarded the player of the tournament and given a stick from Princess Hockey.
It was a resounding success, and we leave the final words to tournament director, Robert Goslett.
“The spirit of this tournament was epitomised by the Somerset College and Fairmont girls in how they were dancing and singing in support of the boys final. Its what we love to see, the togetherness and the return of gees. Although its disappointing to not have fans back yet, it is so special to have the players back and the spirit. Each team behaved with a manner of class and for the matrics who were saying goodbye to their High School careers it was a really special occasion. Thank you to our sponsors Belgotex Sport, Princess Hockey and Livingstone Baths for their support in making an incredible tournament happen! Let’s go again in Easter!”
The tournament was dedicated and played in the memory of Keegan Opperman. We know you would have loved it!