For Clarendon High School hockey player Asben Gilbert, Sunday May 9 represents a special milestone in her sporting career.
When she takes to the field for the Spar Eastern Cape Schoolgirls Hockey Challenge East London coastal playoffs, it will be the matric pupil’s 50th game as a member of Clarendon’s first hockey team.
Gilbert, who is the team captain, has been in the first team since grade 10.
“Despite the challenges of last year, my teammates and I are feeling exceptionally excited, privileged and more than ready to return to competitive sport,” Gilbert said.
“While it was sad to miss the Hockey Challenge in 2020, we are thrilled the tournament is back this year.
“The absence of school sport last year prevented some of us from reaching the mark of 100 or more caps, which would have been a special achievement, but we are now ready to move forward.”
She said that the halting of school sport due to the pandemic had sharpened her competitive edge.
“We are all eager to see how far we can get and hope to reach the finals.
“We are aiming high this year to add additional fixtures to our list just in case of any interruptions due to the uncertainty of Covid-19.
“I want to do well as it might be the last tournament of this nature I and my vice-captain, Carla Naude, play for the school, being the two grade-12s in the team. We would like to end on a high.”
She said that her team was training hard and had a plan on how to make it through to the finals.
“The plan is to get a nice rhythm going in the first game which we can sustain in the other fixtures to keep the team on a high.
“Basically you want to keep that momentum throughout the day, because the shorter games don’t give you much of an opportunity to experiment with any changes.
“My message to my teammates will be to play every game like it could be your last as that could very well be the case.
“We need to give it our all and appreciate the fact that we have been given the privilege to play.”