A Dream Hockey Season for Curro Nelspruit
A Dream Hockey Season for Curro Nelspruit. Curro Nelspruit’s U15 girls’ hockey team has recently made headlines for making history. After winning the Ehlanzeni league, they progressed to the Mpumalanga medium schools’ play-offs which was held in June. They were ranked second and managed to secure a spot in the Noordvaal medium schools’ competition and the overall Mpumalanga Championship play-offs that would take place in July.
The Mpumalanga Championships took place in Middelburg and the top 12 ranked teams in the provinces represented their schools. Curro Nelspruit was one of four medium schools in the competition. This team ended second in their pool matches on Thursday, 21 July, and had to play against a number one ranked team in another pool the next morning in the quarter-finals. They managed to beat HTS Witbank 1-0 and secured themselves a spot in the semi-finals against the mammoth Middelburg Hoërskool that same afternoon. After a 0-0 draw, they went over into an 8-second shoot-out, to beat Hoërskool Middelburg 3-2 and secure themselves a spot in the finals, for first or second position the following morning. This is the furthest that any team from Curro Nelspruit has ever progressed. The girls travelled home on Friday evening and then back to Middelburg on Saturday, where they went up against Hoërskool Ermelo, who has won this competition 9 times before. Curro Nelspruit dominated from the start, playing fantastic hockey, wowing the crowd, and never backing down to beat them 2-1. This u/15 team is now officially ranked as the number 1 team – the overall MP champions – for 2022.
After this incredible achievement, they then travelled to Ermelo the following weekend to play in the Noordvaal competition against the top 16 medium schools form Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and North-west provinces. From the start, the girls showed great skill, teamwork, and commitment, and found themselves beating Curro Hazeldean 5-0 in the quarterfinals, then Hoërskool Hoogenhout, 2-0 in the semis and finally, convincingly beating Hoërskool Brandwag, from Benoni, 5-1 in the finals. The MP champions walked away with the title of Noordvaal mediums school winners for 2022 too.
The team, who is aptly named as the ‘Dream Team’ by their coach, Mrs. Linda van Rensburg, has shown incredible adaptability, resilience, and teamwork and has made us, as a school community, immensely proud. They never backed down and always fought to the very end, especially when facing schools two or three times in size. What stood out for Linda was how they always played to make each other look good and build each other up.
“I am so proud of them. Coaching them the last two years has been the greatest privilege. Winning the Mpumalanga overall schools’ championship has been the highlight of my 18-year coaching career. When this team plays, you can see and feel the camaraderie and energy. I would also like to acknowledge the role that their parents have played in getting them to practice and supporting this team throughout the season. Without them, nothing that we achieved would have been possible. In addition, I would like to thank and acknowledge the primary school coaches who have worked with these girls in developing a love for the game but also equipping them with skills on which we could further build in Curro High School. Coaches like Joe Schoeman form Nelspruit Primary School and Rhino’s Indoor club, Delrené le Grange from Curro Nelspruit primary school and Nika Coertzen, should be commended, especially.” – Coach Linda van Rensburg
We look forward to further growing as a team, to working hard and to keep playing the game that we love so much. We are so grateful for God’s grace and mercy, and for blessing us with each other. Hockey in Curro Nelspruit is strong and the achievements of our U14 and U16 girls’ teams and the 16 players who have been included in various boys and girls Mpumalanga provincial teams, can attest to that.