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Sport
New year, new turf and a new coach!

Paarl Boys’ High School (PBHS) has appointed a new Head of Hockey Coaching in line with other changes at the school.

Old Boy Rowan McLachlan will be responsible for coaching the coaches as well as the first team at the school in the New Year.

Born in Paarl, McLachlan matriculated from PBHS in 2009, playing for the first team in Grade 11 and 12 year. He went on to study Sport Management and Marketing at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, before being appointed to Swartland High School as the head of hockey.

He describes his passion for hockey as “…working with learners and using my psychological background to implement rehabilitation through sport”. An all-round sportsman, Rowan also plays cricket and is involved in sports conditioning.

The first mention of the sport “hockey” being played at PBHS was in 1922 when it was stated, by headmaster at the time, Du Pré le Roux, that “…during the winter season some elected to forsake the manly game of rugby and threw in their lot with the local flappers in a feeble imitation of the game of hockey…”!

By 1933, however, hockey was “well on its way to being called a national sport” and PBHS could put two teams with a few reserves in the field. The Cross Cup was an internal competition between boarders and day scholars. The first noted Interschools hockey competition, held in 1932, was known as the Keyter Cup, named after the donation of a trophy from Mr Keyter, a businessman in Paarl.

By 1946, however, the declining interest in hockey at school led to the cancellation of hockey as a school sport only to be revived 16 years later, in 1962. It was noted by the headmaster that year that “… hockey has had an auspicious revival at our school”.

Then 56 years later Paarl Boys’ hockey has another “auspicious revival” with the completion of Boys’ High’s own Astroturf, coinciding with the 150th anniversary celebrations.

The pitch will be used for both high-intensity hockey games as well as a playground surface for the younger generation. By setting this precedent, Paarl Boys’ Hockey is breaking new ground and developing hockey at grassroots level.

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