2014 was another successful year for Riverside Sports with our men and women continuing to scale the heights reached in 2013 and really emphasizes the outstanding work that is put in by the various section Committees.
Our Varsity College Rugby section did extremely well with our under 20 division once again positioning themselves as the best in KZN followed by a great Senior section where the 1st team came in 3rd and all the other teams being at the top half of all their leagues and we are looking forward with anticipation to the 2015 season as it is already clear that though the Under 20 division will again be incredibly strong again it is very pleasing to note the gravitation of many of the Under 20’s to the senior ranks this year clearly going to give in the more senior leagues .
The Riverside Hockey Club also excelled itself with both its Women’s and Men’s Premier sides having great success where the men’s first team winning the Premier League again, and the Ladies 1st and 2nds came 2nd and 3rd respectively in their competitions which all this augers well for 2015 where we will again be one of the strongest hockey clubs in the country.
Junior Hockey also saw new strides being taken and new events initiated all of which will be maximized in 2015 and here it is vitally important not to underestimate the huge volunteer army that turn out weekly to assist and coach the future Riverside Hockey players. There is also enormous parental support for the children all of which really creates a huge ‘buzz’ at Junior Hockey evenings made all the more enjoyable in 2014 by the introduction of the VARSITY College sponsored “Reach” program which assist young players to ‘reach’ for greater skills levels and competence.
The Riverside Hockey Club also participated in the second South African Elite Hockey Club Challenge held again here at Riverside Sports along with other participants:- Western Province Cricket Club (Cape Town) Wanderers (Johannesburg) and Kearsney (KZN) – to make up a truly iconic tournament.
The 2014 event was sponsored for the first time by Greenfields (part of the Belgotex) group who put so much time and effort into Hockey and Hockey development in South Africa and of course are the suppliers of World renowned FIH accredited Hockey surfaces.
Whilst considering the Club’s development role one has to mention the outstanding work that is done each year in conjunction with the INK regional Hockey group ( Inchanga, Nyanga and Kwamashu) vis-à-vis our partnership with them to assist with the “Kit for the Kwamashu program” which is in its eighth (8th) year, as well as their participation in all the coaching programs, like as mentioned earlier, the ‘Reach’ program sponsored by Varsity College which all emphasizes need to congratulate the Riverside Hockey Club Committees for the brilliant work that is being done to bring young talent from less fortunate backgrounds into Riverside Sports family.
No mention of the INK Hockey fraternity would be complete without mention of their fantastic achievement in winning the Gold Medal at the World Junior Games in Austria in June, a result that had Riverside Hockey members full of pride and in this regard the whole Club should pay tribute to the EThekwini Municipality for helping to make the INK trip to Austria possible .The main club has, on behalf of all our members, thanked and congratulated the City for this far sighted approach to Junior sports development.
Once again it so pleasing to report that the Riverside Harriers are bounding ahead in their growth through sheer enthusiasm which seems to have no bounds. The Club is now over 150 strong and can achieve turn outs of over 80 for end of year prize giving’s where again the atmosphere is brilliant.
Led by a live wire committee, the social side of their group is by now famous for their camping trips that incorporate a variety of interesting runs throughout KZN and it is at the time of writing quite possible that similar groups will join with them in order to raise the level of general running and walking camaraderie and if this happens it will, we are sure, be an enormous success.
The Riverside – Football Club also continued to grow from strength to strength in 2014 after a number of very difficult years, the year just passed was marked by a new committee who really set goals for themselves to ensure that the lowly league position that they found themselves in at the end of the 2013 season was corrected 2014. In this regard it is so pleasing to report that they posted a 6th place position (out of 14) on the log (the same number of points as No 5 Albert Park) and this was due to excellent coaching work and behind the scenes activity to develop a specific identity that was difficult to achieve the year before.
So we look forward with anticipation to 2015…….. Where at the outset we will begin using the new Bar and Changing room facilities that have been developed during 2014. The new facilities extending 70 meters between our Rugby and Hockey facilities now offer 6 well appointed and specially designed changing rooms for players, 2 referees rooms as well as two Medical Rooms and 12 kit rooms where players can store their kit thus opening up greater changing room capacity. All our Sports sections have their own Store rooms in the facility and we trust that they will find these useful.
The new bar facility encompasses the entire old bar/ changing room block and all of this has been surrounded by a wrap around roof to enable spectators at both Rugby / Soccer side and Hockey side to be covered over a new and extended deck areas stretching the full length of the building and incorporating new public toilet facilities .
All of this helps maintain our position as the Club of choice when it comes to member facilities. The Executive of the Club had made facilities growth a specific focus of our panning believing that available funds should be expended on members ‘areas’ so that we can continue to grow the sports and generate ever increasing participation by the young that will in turn ensure a long term viability for sports and recreation within the North Durban Community.
Whilst talking construction we must also mention the development of the new Turf 1 Hockey Astroturf that will receive a complete renovation at the beginning of 2015 so that we are ready for the 2015 Hockey season. This contract has been awarded at the time of writing and will again place Riverside Sports at the forefront of the elite dual Turf Hockey venues in South Africa.
Members will also be aware of the huge parking addition along the Bellingere /Prospect Hall boundary which along with the now completed extensions to the Varsity College campus will enable our relationship with Varsity College as a key sub tenant to continue to grow. So by the start of 2015 there will in the region of 700 parking bays at Riverside Sports all under the Clubs management and all available to both Varsity College students during the term days and for our members and their opponents and spectators in the evenings and on weekends.
ABOVE: NO ITS NOT DURBAN’S NEWEST AIRPORT BUT RATHER THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME AT RIVERSIDE SPORTS
The Membership fee for 2015 remains the lowest in South Africa at R330.00 (incl.) [R289.00 Excl] and we are pleased that we can continue to offer such amazing value for money especially bearing in mind the fact that we have such impressive facilities to offer to our sportsmen and women. While on the subject of women it is also pleasing to report that we continue to record a 40% female membership base thus completely repositioning the club away from the old traditional and failing club template, to the community based modern model and so re impressing our philosophy of developing a sporting property that caters not only for the family but also for a more equitable ‘gender’ membership base.
Finally it’s important to continue to encourage members to use the facilities as often as possible as in this way it will enable us to keep membership fees low and also strive to offer even better facilities and opportunities for them.
In this vein it is pleasing to report that through our Lessees, the Community/ Family and Sports branding approximately over 670,000 individuals traversed the property in one way or another in 2014, testament indeed to what we are trying to achieve, and as such it is important to recognize and pay tribute to the EThekwini Municipality with who we have a brilliantly close relationship as well as with the North Durban Community with whom we have such a special and symbiotic interaction.