THE celebratory fires burnt high last weekend, when local teams came out tops in the first Easter Je’Vista One Touch and Kouga Beach Netball tournaments at the main beachfront of Jeffreys Bay.
Hundreds of sports lovers gathered at Dolphin Beach to cheer on their favourite teams, some having travelled all the way from George and Somerset East to participate in the tournaments.
The Kings of the Beach, a mixed team from Humansdorp and Jeffreys Bay, were crowned the first Je’Vista One Touch champions after beating Swannies from George in the gruelling final match.
Daryl Lottering, from the Kings of the Beach, was named Player of the Tournament. Two-time Kouga Mayor’s Cup champions Poison Ivy transitioned smoothly from traditional netball to the new beach format to claim first place in the Senior Women’s division of the Kouga Beach Netball tourney.
Another local team, the Mini G’s from G-Force, won the Junior Girls division while Somerset East visitors, the Daffodils, came out tops in the Senior Mixed division.
Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks thanked all the organisers, participants and sponsors for making the tournaments possible.
“We are on a mission to turn Kouga into the Events Capital of South Africa so as to help grow the local Tourism industry and related job opportunities,” he said. “The municipality has, therefore, been taking hands with organisations and businesses to host events such as the Easter programme. We want there to be regular events across our region to increase visitor numbers and boost the local economy.”
Anina Vlok, president of the Sarah Baartman Netball Association, said they were pleased with the outcome of the first Kouga Beach Netball tournament.
“We will be going all out to promote beach netball. We want Jeffreys Bay to become known for beach netball in the same way it is known for surfing,” she said.
Marius Ferreira, of main sponsor Je’Vista, said the interest in the touchies had also been overwhelming, with a full field of 32 teams participating on Saturday.
“There is definitely a demand for beach sport. We would like to see this becoming an annual event and will be working closely with the municipality and our other partners to build on the success of this year’s programme,” he said.
Photo: Joey Nel