The curtain came down last weekend on what has possibly been the best ever season for the Jeppe High School for Boys hockey section. There were 10, wins, two losses and two draws in the final fixture, against Parktown, with the 2nd, team 3rd team, 5th team and under-14As ending their seasons unbeaten.
The 1st team won 5-1 to finish the year with just one blemish – a loss to Westville on tour in May. They beat all of the other top sides, locally and at the various festivals, to end as the top ranked team in the country for the second year in a row.
In the process, they won the Aitken Cup tournament for the fifth year in a row, with the under-15 team taking the Boden Trophy on the same weekend, and the under-16s finishing second in the Top Eight tournament. The u-16s lost to KES in the final. It was their only defeat of the season, and they beat KES in both the interschool fixtures.
Jeppe had no fewer than 45 players, and 6 coaches, involved in the interprovincial tournaments in the July holidays and the 1st team captain, Ryan Mann, made the SA Schools A team, with Calin Hannie and Aki Nkabinde making the B side. Two players – Ross Breytenbach and Sibusiso Chili – were included in the SA under-16 high performance squad.
aster in charge of hockey cannot remember a season in which Jeppe was so dominant in local schools hockey. “It could be that the available talent is more spread out among the schools these days, but there was hardly a fixture in which we didn’t win the majority of the games on the day and the teams – the lower ones particularly – won comfortably,” he said.
“On the Aitken/Boden/Top Eight weekend, our four teams (the second team won the Aitken D section) won 22 of the 23 games they played.”
Jeppe hockey players are growing up in an environment where success is the rule, so the boys are full of confidence and know what is expected of them, Mr Hillock said, but a lot of credit must go to the coaches. “We are fortunate to have two of the most experienced coaches around working with the seniors in Mr Louw and Mr De Villiers, and then we have experienced teachers like Mr Grace, Mr Hansen and Mr Bechet involved, which has mean that there is structure and discipline in the sport, and it has paid off.”
He also mentions Messrs Diole, Arnott and Templeton who do great work with the juniors. “We have a number of old boys who came through our system involved and they are passionate about giving back to the school, which is also a factor in our success.
“Then there is the untiring work of the parents and the Hockey Patrons Association. Their efforts in fund-raising and their support for everything we are trying to achieve has been invaluable.
“Put all of this together and you have the recipe for success and another great season,” Mr Hillock concluded.