There was plenty of fun in the sun at the Imizamo Yethu sports complex on Friday November 18 as dozens of Hout Bay grooms were put through their paces in a series of trial matches for the upcoming end-of-year soccer tournament in Noordhoek.
Organised by the Hout Bay Riding Club, the aim of the trials was not only to select teams for the Noordhoek Riding Club’s Annual Grooms Soccer Festival and Braai, featuring livery yards from around Cape Town, but also to say thank you to the grooms for all their hard work during the year.
While unlikely that any of the 43 players on display will be turning out for Kaizer Chiefs or Manchester United next year, there were enough deft touches and precision passes to suggest the A and B teams that will represent Hout Bay in Noordhoek on December 2 will mount a serious challenge for the coveted trophy.
Despite the warm temperature, there was no quarter given on the pitch as the players sought to catch the eye of the selectors on the sidelines.
“In years past we have sent teams from individual yards, but the problem has been that some of the smaller yards have not been represented,” said Hout Bay Riding Club chairperson Iris Gabel.
“So this year we decided to host trials for all the grooms, so that everyone has a chance to be selected for a team. However the trials also serve a dual purpose in that it gives us a chance to show our appreciation for our grooms, who work so hard throughout the year.”
Thanks to the efforts of riding club committee members Linda-Anne O’Flaherty and Heather Wallace, each groom was also presented with a special T-shirt commemorating the trials, while a local service station also donated pies, hamburgers and cooldrink for the players.
Ms Gabel said even for those who were not selected, the day would be fondly remembered, and it was hoped to make it an annual event on the riding club calendar.