Selborne College’s first team captain, Ben van der Merwe, says he is embracing the challenge of leading a strong side as the East London team prepares to host their oldest rivals, Dale College, this coming weekend.
Van der Merwe, among eight other team members, has been selected to represent the Amathole Schools in this year’s IPT tournament, set to take place in Bloemfontein from the 24th of June to the 30th.
In an interview with SuperSport Schools during the week, the skipper outlined the positive start his side has had this season and how he’s managed to lead the side to some impressive results along the way.
“We have had a pretty good start to the season, winning some big games at the Tony Godding festival before playing well in the Netherlands tour and finishing third behind Paul Roos and SACS in the Hibbert Shield,” he said.
“In terms of the leadership role, it’s not easy, but I’ve enjoyed captaining the side.”
“The boys in grades 11 and 10 have made it easy for us as seniors. They have risen to the challenge and respect the older guys in the team.”
The current season sees Van der Merwe play his third consecutive season in black and white hoops; a feat achieved by a few players in their time at the school.
He admits, however, that getting first-team experience at an early stage has helped fast-track his game and got him used to the intensity quite early.
“I played a bit of first-team hockey in grade 10 (2021) but didn’t play many matches as we were coming out of COVID,” he revealed.
“However, I got a lot of experience learning from the older guys, and then playing last year and now leading the side has been a great learning experience.”
“Coming from u16, it’s a lot faster and more intense; starting at a young age helped me because I now know the intensity, and I can develop my skills and get better every year.”
Coming off a break last weekend, Van der Merwe and his troops will take on Dale on Friday, a team he says, they’re not undermining despite their current run this season.
“They come off a loss in their reunion this past weekend and may not have the confidence to play against us.”
“As a team, we’re very excited, we had a bye this past weekend, so the excitement has carried through from the Grey College match. We’re going to respect them, but we want to beat them in our territory.”
To beat their opposition convincingly, the side will be relying on the huge role played by their coaches, KJ Friend, and Luke Ferreira, who have contributed to the development and confidence of the side.
Other senior players to look out for in the side include a handful of the players selected for the provincial team, namely: Tre’ Gilbert, Lunga Malusi, Cade Kock, Masibulela Siswana, Daniel Sirgel, Charlie Cawell, James Carr, and Waeden Plaatjes.
The match between the two sides kicks off at 18:30 on Friday under the lights.
In other matches, St. Andrews College hosts Hudson Park, while Queens College welcomes Gqeberha’s Grey High School.
Selborne College: Charlie Caswell, Gray van Heerden, Daniel Gaylard, Shane Stagg, Ben van der Merwe ( C ), Masibulela Siswana, Tre’ Gilbert, Daniel Conroy, Jaques van der Merwe, James Carr, Daniel Sirgel, Lunga Malusi, Waeden Plaatjes, Cade Kock.
Dale College: Inga Mafanga, Gavin Walton, Sbongisile Nzima, Kamva Tolwana, Hlumelo Ntlola, Joe Mendoza, Siyabonga Madlwabinga, Akanani Msutu, Lihumelo Ncukana, Caleb Ellis, Amangile Songelwa, Endinako Mnguni, Hlomla Kostauli, Naledi Mosebi.
Friday, 19 May 2023
17:15 – St. Andrews College vs Hudson Park
17:30 – Queen’s College vs Grey High School
18:30 – Selborne College vs Dale College