DHS leads KZN Coastals hockey selections

17 May 2023

The KZN Coastals hockey teams to participate in various Inter-provincial hockey tournaments have been announced (see below). The selections reflect the overall dominance on the Astro enjoyed by DHS this season, with School producing six players in the u18A team, eight in the u16A side, and four in the u14A team.

In 2022, DHS had a school record 36 provincial representatives, and now, with 31 to their name, including 18 players in the three A teams, they’re once again at the forefront of Coastals’ schools’ hockey.

Michael Baker, the Director of Hockey at DHS, told Pinnacle Schools on Wednesday that while he is happy with School’s large number of provincial representatives, those selections are really a bonus.

“As long as they do a job for Coastals, and we win the IPTs, it makes me happy,” he reckoned.

Then, he added: “When it comes to numbers, there are some boys who have missed out on sides for whom I am disappointed. For me, if a kid makes it or not, that’s not really something that we’re super-focussed on.”

Michael Baker’s magical DHS hockey makeover | Pinnacle Schools (pinnacle-schools.com)

A focus on the process

Baker is one of an ever-increasing number of coaches who are focused on the process. That’s coach-speak for focussing on skills and tactics and an understanding of the game, not allowing the result to determine what success is. The thing is attention to the process often leads to good results. But results are not the be-all and end-all of matters.

With the process in mind, Baker has already started to introduce younger players into the more senior squads at DHS – under-16s into the 1st team squad and under-14s into under-16s squad – so that the adjustment to a higher level in 2024 is a smooth one.

He revealed, too, that while the DHS 1st team of 2023 is an exceptionally good team, it will lose only three players at the end of the year.

And one could make a legitimate argument that the DHS u16A side is second only to SACS in South Africa this year. There is a lot of exceptional quality moving through the Horseflies’ ranks and there will be no let-up for the opposition next season.

“It has been a big focus on the back end of the season. I said to Taylor Kelly-Stack, the under-16A coach, to bring in some under-14s, to build for next year already, even though this year isn’t done,” Baker said.

“We’ve got two good groups with the u16A team and 1st side: good culture, good standards. You get the youngsters in so, when the next year starts, they understand the standards.”

Academics over hockey

Interestingly, one of the province’s best defenders, a key player in the DHS 1st team and a member of the Coastals’ under-18 A team in 2022, Lulonke Gono, chose not to stand for selection. He is an outstanding academic and is focused on trying to get into medical school.

He was not pressured to again chase a place in the Coastals team, which he would, no doubt, have achieved, if he had made himself available. That’s credit to coach Baker and his approach to the process, where the results are a by-product of so much more that goes into the programme, and where life goals are more important.

While DHS enjoys the most selections for the u16A and u18A provincial sides, Northwood owns that distinction at u14A level.

Clifton College, meanwhile, is second only to DHS in the overall number of A team selections and their good numbers across all three age groups speak volumes about the health of hockey at the school. Kearsney and Westville fill out the remainder of the places in the Coastals’ A sides.

KZN Coastals u18A

1 Keelan Henry (DHS), 2 Ruben Peters (DHS), 3 Kyle Thomas (Clifton), 4 Lethabo Bogacwi (DHS), 5 Zipho Cele (Kearsney), 6 Owen Slack (Westville), 7 Leruo Ditlikhanyane (DHS), 8 Connor McKenzie (Clifton), 9 Lumi Matwele (DHS), 10 Matthew Mendes De Oliviera (Kearsney), 11 Josh Northend (Clifton), 12 Veeshan Govender (Northwood), 13 Tristan Boyall (Northwood), 14 Josh Beck (Westville), 15 Aldridge Maasdorp (DHS), 16 Thomas McKenzie (Kearsney)

KZN Coastals u16A

1 Adrian Dippenaar (Clifton), 2 Ben Loxton (Northwood), 3 Bhavesh Naicker (DHS), 4 Christopher Abrahams (DHS), 5 Jason Adams (Clifton), 6 Jayden Roux (Clifton), 7 Joshua Mungherera (DHS), 8 Joshua van Biljon (DHS), 9 Nicolas Ackerman (Westville), 10 Ryde Brisset (Clifton), 11 Semal Pillay (DHS), 12 Sihle Sogoni (DHS), 13 Sitchaba Siyoyo (DHS), 14 Timothy Saulez (Clifton), 15 Tyrique Cloete (DHS). 16 Zach Williamson (Clifton)

KZN Coastals u14A

1. Hamza Amla (Northwood), 2 Nabil Bejia (Clifton), 3 Aaron Blackburn (Kearsney), 4 Luc Boyall (Northwood), 5 Tom du Plessis (Kearsney), 6 Dylan Forbes (Kearsney), 7 Dean Hart (Northwood), 8 Mkondweni Hluma (Westville), 9 Locke Makohlisa (Clifton), 10 Sandi Mazibuko (DHS), 11 Kwezi Mbutho (Westville), 12 Ovayo Ntlokwana (DHS), 13 Eben Peters (DHS), 14 Keegan Reeves (Northwood), 15 Sisekelo Sibeko (Northwood), 16 Jessie van Wyk (DHS)

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