View from the Dugout - Sports News 27 July 2018

A recent article published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal (2017) by authors Jayanthi and Dugas provides 9 interesting safeguards to prevent injury in youth athletes.

These include:

  • participation in a preseason and or in-season conditioning programme
  • taking appropriate rest periods during and after the season
  • limiting the number of sports an athlete participates in at one time
  • avoiding specialization in a single sport
  • capping the number of hours athletes participate in organized sport

It is encouraging that at Hilton College we have built in most of these preventative measures to protect our boys from injury and that the vast majority of our boys have a balanced involvement in our sports programme - when it comes to the time and intensity of participation. Some of our multi-talented boys, however, do break the mould when it comes to these regulations, particularly when it comes to the number of sports played at one time. This is not necessarily a fault of our own but the consequence of decisions made in bureaucratic silos. External sport federations are the main culprits, having increased the length of their seasons, they have made it difficult to discern the end of one season from the start of another – almost forcing boys to choose one sport over another or for them to scramble like mad to fit it all in. As the number of boys affected by this are a relative minority, we have attempted to manage their numerous engagements in sport by identifying which boys are at risk (the red list), constructing specialized timetables to cap the number of hours spent on sport and, lastly, by putting in measures to monitor the intensity of their involvement.It still begs the question, however, “Is this enough?”. Whilst our injury statistics would suggest that we have done exceptionally well, other hidden impacts (psychological, social and academic) are harder to measure in the short term. The article is therefore a pertinent reminder to us (staff and to parents) to re-look at how “busy” some of our boys are with sport and to help them make good decisions about just how much (sport) they are engaged in. Perhaps what we really should be doing more of is asking the boys themselves. My department will be doing exactly this in the coming few weeks, something I hope that parents will assist with this too.

Hilton College Soccer


The term 3 sports season got off to a busy start with soccer, 7s rugby, golf, tennis and hockey 5s all in competitive action during the past week.


The first fixture of the soccer season was against Kearsney. Having instituted a longer and more structured pre-season into our soccer programme and sporting more experienced coaching outfit we felt confident that we were better prepared than in the past, and that we would be able to hold our own in this contest at home. Unfortunately, this was not the case with the Greyhounds dominating the day. Granted, the majority of all games played were very close and some of our teams, having dominated all but the score line, should really have been on the winning end of their matches but, in the end it was a day to forget for most teams and it is now an opportunity for us to prove our resilience and bounce back! A few shining lights on the day included the 5th (5 – 1), 7th (3 – 1) and the U15B (3 – 1) all of which played brilliant football on the day.

The 1st XI entered their match as favorites having had a much better showing than their counterparts at the Kloof Festival in June. Although we had superior possession and territory in the first stanza, neither goal was really threatened in this period. In the second half our midfield dominance continued to provide better chances as we cautiously pushed for that elusive first goal. This meant Kearsney were mostly relying on rare counter attacking opportunities and, at about midway through the half, a long aerial pass up the left led to a free-kick to our opponents halfway into our territory. The resulting kick was floated into our box and our indecision allowed for the ball to bounce, ricochet of off the crossbar, bounce again and fall perfectly before a lunging Kearsney attacker, who headed the ball home (0 – 1). For reminder of the match we did our best to throw players forward but our best efforts were unrewarded as we just could not find the net. In the end this was a tough result in a game we really did not deserve to lose.

Hilton College Soccer

Hilton RowingA major reason for our soccer fraternity to celebrate is the ongoing successes of one of our stars, Costi Christodoulou. As reported earlier, he is currently on national duty representing SA U17 (the Amajimbos) at the COSAFA Cup. Costi was made captain of the team, an incredible honour for himself, his family and Hilton College. I am pleased report that things have gone really well under his leadership. His team have qualified for the semi finals (having finished top of their pool) and will be playing against Mauritius in this encounter today (Friday 27 July). We wish him all the very best of luck!


1st VII competed at the Crawford Tournament on Friday and Saturday. In our “first-up” fixture we faced Northwood, a school which in recent years has consistently impressed on the 7s circuit. In this scrappy affair both teams battled to get out of first gear and, unfortunately, it was Northwood to snuck home beating us 12 -17. To have any chance of progressing to the Cup from this point we had to win our remaining pool matches. Although this was mission accomplished (beating Redhill 29 - 0 and Westville Invitation 36 – 19) we were pipped into second place and consigned to play in the Plate (5th to 8th place). By now we were starting to hit our straps and in the Plate semi-final we swept aside Hillcrest 29 - 5 to qualify for the final. In this match we were matched against Westville, another big “name” in 7s. Our boys proved their worth in this game showing superior athleticism to finish off as Plate champions (22 - 12) – a noteworthy achievement.

For the remainder of our 7s teams (2nd VII, 3rd VII, U15A, U15B, U15C) we hosted a series of friendly matches involving a variety of schools. The aim of this festival was to create competition were boys and coaches could get into the stride of 7s early in the season, learning new things without the pressure of the score board. All of our teams fared very well and seemed to grasp the concepts of the game very quickly – which bodes well for what remains this term.

Hilton College 7s


Our 1st and 2nd teams competed at the KZN Nomads Championships (Provincial Championships) held at VCC on Monday. With numerous youngsters in our setup we were realistic about our chances but determined to finish in as high a place finish as possible. Our boys outdid themselves on the day with the 1st team finishing in 3rd place, the highest placed Independent School in the competition, and the 2nd team beating Reddam into 11th overall. As a consequence of their outstanding performances, two of our boys Mbongeni Malinga (Grade 12) and Christopher Bagnall (Grade 8) qualified for the final KZN trial to be held in August. Well done boys!

Final team positions were as follows:

1st Maritzburg College,2nd Westville, 3rd Hilton College 1st, 4th Kearsney, 5th Clifton, 6th St. Charles, 7th Michaelhouse, 8th Westville 2nd, 9th Maritzburg College 2nd, 10th Glenwood 1st, 11th Hilton College 2nd, 12th Reddam 1st.


The tennis club got their league season underway on Monday and Tuesday. With a few of our top players unavailable for selection we were somewhat anxious about how we would fare. As Hilton boys have so often proven, given the opportunity they will most often step-up - and step-up they did with excellent wins for the 1st  (Maritzburg College 1st  28 – 16), 2nd team (St. Charles 26 – 25) and U15A (Maritzburg College U15A 25 – 19). The 3rds also played well but, in the end, they narrowly lost to Howick 1st (29 – 35).


The Dolphins brought their junior and senior men’s teams to our school on Friday and Saturday to get “middle” time and competition ready. Our 1st XI were given the opportunity to play with (and against) these professionals with both bat and ball. By all accounts this was a very productive time for all involved and wonderful exposure to for our boys. This is something we will undoubtedly to do again in the near future.


The hockey 5s league which we host on our water based astro got underway this past week.  Our boys gave an exceptional account of themselves; winning no less than 9 matches and drawing 1 in their first round encounters against Michaelhouse and Northwood. Great stuff from the hockey department!


Rory Plunkett, Patrick Plunkett and Mr. Ernie Steenkamp (coach) will be leaving for the Czech Republic next week Monday. The boys will be representing their country (Zimbabwe) at the World Junior Championships. Considering their recent form at a Dutch national regatta the boys are in a good position to make some waves! We wish them (and their coach!) all the very best as they take on the top oarsmen from across the globe. We know that they will do us proud!

Tony Shuttleworth
Executive Director - Sport


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