The fixture against Parktown last weekend brought down the curtain on what has been one of the most successful hockey seasons in the history of the sport at Jeppe.
The first team did not go unbeaten – that’s an almost impossible feat these days, given the sheer number of games they play in a season, and the fact that they meet all the top sides in the land at one or other festival – but the hockey section as a whole had an unbeaten percentage of over 80%.
The first team played 30 games. They won 23, drew one and lost six, and of those, only one was to a local team in a regular fixture– a narrow defeat to a very physical Affies team in Pretoria.
The other losses were to Grey College, Kearsney, Wynberg and Rondebosch, all of them in early season festival games.
Jeppe set a new record by becoming the first school to win all three local knockout tournaments – the under-18 Aitken, under-15 Boden and under-16 Top Eight – in one season.
We had no fewer than 39 players selected for the various Southern Gauteng provincial teams, and four who made SA schools squads.
The under-16 age group had two unbeaten teams – the B and C sides, and the A team only lost twice and the under-14 A team was unbeaten, which augers well for the future.
Jeppe, according to master in charge of hockey, Mr Bryan Hillock is blessed with excellent coaches. “We are lucky to have Mr Dale Jackson representing the sport’s interests on the school’s executive. We also have the vast experience of Mr Mike Bechet, who was with the under-16s this year and I have also been around for quite a few years now,” he said.
The Jeppe coaches are all well-qualified and all of them will be back next year, so there is continuity in the coaching.
“I think our secret is that when it comes to deliberate practice we are right up there,” Mr Hillock said. “Our A teams practice four times a week, and the Bs and Cs three times. That’s generally more than other schools do, and that hard work has paid off.”