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**Selborne Tussle Looms as Queen Embraces “Underdogs” Tag**

The first-team squad of Queen’s College gathered before their participation in the KES and Founders Festival. Photo: Queen’s College

In East London, a vibrant crowd clad in black and white eagerly awaits the arrival of Queen’s College on Friday for a highly anticipated match against Selborne College.

Queen’s College is positioned as the underdogs in this encounter, with their sights set on halting Selborne’s undefeated streak since the commencement of the 2024 hockey season.

In their recent local season opener, the Komani boys squandered a 2-0 lead as Stirling High clawed their way back to secure a 2-2 draw.

Prior to this, Queen’s faced a demanding series of matches at the Hockey Festivals, encountering formidable opponents from top schools nationwide. While the majority of matches resulted in losses, a notable 1-1 draw against St John’s College at KES showcased the team’s potential.

Participating in these festivals provided Queen’s with the opportunity to compete against elite schools not typically on their fixture list, as highlighted by head coach Michael Baiden in an interview with SuperSport Schools. Baiden emphasized the value of these experiences in gauging the team’s performance, identifying areas for improvement, and understanding their competitive standing.

Looking ahead to the upcoming match against Selborne, Queen’s must maintain focus and intensity throughout the four chukkas to challenge their arch-rivals effectively.

In the previous season, Selborne secured victories of 3-1 and 9-2 against Queen’s in their encounters. To alter this narrative, Queen’s will rely on a select group of seasoned players to lead the charge.

With five returning players from the previous year’s first team, the rest of Queen’s squad comprises 16-year-olds and one 15-year-old player.

Queen’s College faced Stirling High School in their season opener, resulting in a 2-2 draw, showcasing a competitive match.

Baiden acknowledged the formidable task ahead against Selborne, emphasizing the team’s need for resilience, adherence to their game plan, and minimizing errors to counter Selborne’s strengths effectively.

In the absence of injured captain Luke du Preez, Bevaneo Maytham will lead the team, supported by vice-captain Aiden van Jaarsveld. Goalkeeper Rowan Miles’s performance will be pivotal for Queen’s success in the match.

The clash is scheduled for 18:30 on Friday at the Selborne College Astroturf, with coverage available on DStv Channel 216.

Selborne College lineup: Nathan Amos-Brown, Gray van Heerden, Ethan James, Shane Stagg, Daniel Conroy, Joshua Haschick, Waeden Paatjes, Tre’ Gilbert ©, Jaques van der Merwe, Daniel Sirgel, Dan Gaylard, Reece Wait, Kungothando Macanda, Thomas Caswell, Cade Kock, Bradley Burrows.

Queen’s College lineup: Rowan Miles (gk), Asi Tybosch, Brett Hoffmann, Yibonge Mquqwana, Mafu Mandaba, Aiden van Jaarsveld (vc), Morgan Hayes, Mbasa Batyi, Damian Miles, Bevaneo Maytham ©, Liso Mtalaliso. Reserves: Liyema Auwa, Asi Vena, Tafiro Kagoro.

In other matches, Cambridge High School visits Graeme College for a derby clash in Makhanda. Dale College faces a tough challenge against Grey High School in Qonce, while Pearson takes on Stirling High following their draw with Queen’s College.

Hudson Park will represent the Eastern Cape as they battle Milnerton at the Oakhill Co-Ed Hockey Festival in Knysna on Saturday.

Upcoming fixtures:

  • Friday, 12 April:

    • 16:00 – Graeme College vs Cambridge High
    • 16:00 – Dale College vs Grey High
    • 18:00 – Pearson High vs Stirling High
    • 18:30 – Selborne College vs Queen’s College
  • Saturday, 13 April 2024:

    • 16:15 – Hudson Park vs Milnerton

Author Avuyile Sawula, a multimedia sports journalist and writer, brings a wealth of experience in sports reporting and broadcasting, covering a range of disciplines including hockey, rugby, water polo, and cricket. Sawula’s background includes journalism qualifications from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and extensive work with online media publications and commercial radio stations in Cape Town. His expertise extends to creating sports content and video editing.