TEAM Sports Travel enjoyed a very busy and productive time during the months of July and August.
The arrival of Queenswood School for Girls on 12 July signalled the start of a busy and very enjoyable period for us. The energy and vibe created by the girls from Queenswood set the standard for the teams that arrived later on. The start of July is the end of the UK school year and heralds the start of their long summer holiday. Most families travel to other warmer parts of the Northern Hemisphere, but there are others that decide to go on sports tours. Hockey tours to Cape Town has become a norm for schools from the UK during this period as it is in the middle of the Winter Sports season in South Africa and the teams will be competing against some of the best school hockey teams in South Africa, if not the world.
You might say that is a big statement but let me explain. South Africa is blessed with some really fine academic institutions. Most of these schools encourage a balanced lifestyle so that the learners can adapt to adult life when they finally leave school. There is also a very big rivalry between schools in South Africa. It’s not uncommon to have anywhere between 3000 and 5000 spectators at a hockey match. Felsted Schools were shocked when they arrived at Stellenbosch University Hockey Complex to see so many supporters for the annual derby between hosts Paul Roos and their visit from Grey College in Bloemfontein. You might say that this could overwhelm the players on the field, but because it has become a norm, these players are getting used to it and they will do what they can to play well in front of their supporters.
No less than 20 teams descended on our shores and most of those teams played in our annual Spur Cape Town International Hockey Festival. The competition has been going since 2003 which I had the privilege of playing in. And it’s been a pretty special journey for me as I have now worked at the tournament in all facets possible. I have had the privilege of umpiring the Final 5 times, coached Settlers High School for 2 years and this year I worked at the tournament as a Venue Manager and assisted our Tournament Director, Neville Rothman, with some MC work which I enjoyed thoroughly.
I would like to extend a massive thank you to all our teams that travelled to Cape Town to take part in the festival and for growing this great tournament. Also a big thank you to our local teams for their involvement in the tournament and to the teams for hosting matches against our touring teams. We truly appreciate it.
To our Pro Coaches, Thank you for taking our international teams through their paces during their training sessions. All the teams spoke of the professional and smart approach to the sessions and we appreciate the effort put in to these sessions.
I would like to wish everyone well for the last bit of the year. All the best to the South African Matric students for the final phase of their high school career and best of luck for the exams coming up.