The recent school holiday was a busy time for Jeppe’s hockey teams, and a very successful one, as various teams went on tours and played at festivals, winning most of their games.
The big one was the tour to Singapore and Malaysia by the 1st and colts teams. It was a massive undertaking – organisation and fund-raising began over a year in advance – and in the end 35 boys and five staff members made the trip.
They played against club and youth academy teams, mainly, and the 1st team won five games, drew one and lost one, while the colts won seven and lost one.
“It was a proper pre-season tour,” explained Mr Bryan Hillock, the school’s master in charge of hockey. “It gave the coaches the opportunity to try out different combinations and to build strength of character by testing boys under difficult conditions.”
And the conditions certainly were difficult. “The coolest match temperature was 39 degrees, and it was a lot hotter than that at times,” he said. “It gave us the chance to see what they boys were made of and they came through brilliantly.
“We had agreed that the tour would be about process rather than results and there’s no doubt that it as set us up well for the season ahead. In fact, the only loss the 1st team suffered came when the coach gave the squad players who didn’t get much game time a chance, and he stuck to that.”
There was also time for sightseeing, shopping and relaxation. “It was a cultural and educational experience and one the boys will never forget, I’m sure,” Mr Hillock said.
“Most importantly, it was a great spirit-building exercise. The boys spent all of the time together and they have bonded into a tight unit. The coaches had lots of time to talk hockey, we discussed players and tactics and that’s going to do us good in the season ahead.”
There were junior teams in action in the holidays as well. The under-14As played in the Nomads Festival at Wynberg Boys’ High where they won five out of five, beating Bishops, Martizburg College, SACS, Wynberg and Rondebosch.
Jeppe hosted an under-15A festival at which our under-16Bs played. They did best out of the 12 schools there, winning four out of five games. The u-15 festival is in its second year now and Mr Hillock explained that it was introduced to fill a gap in the calendar. “It grew from 10 schools to 12 and the interest shown indicates that it can become the major a major event in this age group,” Mr Hillock said.