Ryan Mann has three more hockey games for Jeppe High School for Boys, actually four if you count this weekend’s match against the Jeppe old boys, and when it ends he will be able to look back on what has been a remarkable school career.
The highlight, he says, has definitely been captaining the first team in his final year and leading them to a third consecutive Aitken Cup title. “It’s been an amazing year. The tour to the East, the Aitken win, and being ranked number one in the country with only a few games to go have made it unforgettable.”
To top that, Ryan was selected for the SA Schools under-18 team at the interprovincial tournament in the holidays, and this week he was named in the Mapungubwe Mambas team to play in the SA Premier Hockey league, a tournament that he equates to rugby’s Currie Cup in terms of all the top players in the country being involved.
There are matches against Helpmekaar, KES and Parktown coming up and, after that, school hockey ends for Ryan. “I can honestly say the last five years have been the best of my life,” he said. “I love Jeppe and I love hockey. I haven’t finally decided what comes next but it will certainly involve hockey.”
There are options. He may study at Wits next year and play there, but he has had offers, in England and Belgium, among others, so he might take the year off and play overseas.”
It’s been a great five years, and Jeppe will certainly miss him.