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After 8 days and 38 games we have two champion sides. At the end of the adventure of the 2019 tournaments it’s the Madikwe Rangers celebrating their first title while the Drakensberg Dragons become just the second team to retain the title.

The Madikwe Rangers had the best chance early in the game when Nomnikelo Veto broke through the defence of the table topping Wineland Wings to have a one-on-one chance with Sandisiwe Tabata, in for Zimi Shange. However superb pressure from Dunell van Taak put Veto off her stride and the chance went astray.

The Wings created their own good chance, but nobody was able to convert after good by-line work from Tarryn Glasby. The Rangers then created another half chance but in truth both teams were defending impressively and the midfield battle between Kristen Paton and Jess Lardant was one of the finest CTM Premier Hockey League battles ever seen at Randburg.

The Rangers did however think they had taken the lead through Veto when she bundled home the ball after a goal mouth melee. The Wings though referred the decision and ultimately were proven correct as the ball had edged off Toni Marks shoe.

If there was doubt in that decision, there was no doubt a few minutes later when Veto fired in what could be the goal of the tournament to give the Rangers a lead. Picking up the ball on the right she moved into the D before firing home a superb tomahawk strike.

The goal opened the game up and the Wings looked to surge back into contention with Jade Mayne regularly pulling the strings in midfield. The pressure would eventually tell as Jessica Lardant got the goal her performance deserved.

That was the last big chance of the game and the 2019 title would be decided on a shootout. The Rangers scored their opening two, while the Wings missed theirs before a turnaround and three saves gave Stephanie Botha the chance to win the Wings the titles. Although she did eventually score it was well after the 8 second limit and it meant that we headed to sudden death. The order reversed and when Tarryn Glasby missed it gave Lise-Marie Deetlefs the opportunity to end the pain of two previous final defeats. She didn’t need to be offered twice as she fired home an unstoppable shot that sealed the match and a maiden CTM Premier Hockey League title for the Rangers.

The Drakensberg Dragons were also in their third final but unlike the Rangers had tasted victory before. The Mambas, who had topped the table were competing in their first final. Although a highly competitive final was expected, in truth it was a largely one-sided final.

The Dragons were tasked with keeping the attacking trio of Dollman, Kok and Cassiem quiet and they did that with spectacular effect. The best form of attack is defence and from the start that’s exactly what the Dragons did from the start. Creating at least 3 early chances before Miguel da Graca, who’s team has made the final in every Premier Hockey League. Da Graca found himself with a little space and punished the Mambas.

The Mambas would have been pleased to get to the half time break only 1 goal down as they had very little attacking opportunities in the opening half hour. After a big chat with his team at half time Lungile Tsolekile would have wanted the boys to come out fighting but they found themselves 3-0 down in just four minutes.

Bili Ntuli got another PHL final goal to his growing collection of big game goals. Richard Pautz produced a moment of magic to put the ball through his legs and find a fine run by Ntuli who chipped it over Mckinley. Pautz turned goal scorer two minutes later collection a ball by Bothma and finishing on the stretch. Pautz goal was the 100th goal of the men’s tournament in this year’s CTM Premier Hockey League.

Ntuli then made it a record final score when Pierre Bothma ran up the wing and fired in a cross for Bili Ntuli to score another final goal and the final goal of this year’s CTM Premier Hockey League final. The Dragons becoming just the second team to defend a PHL trophy.

Earlier in the day the Orange River Rafters secured a bronze medal when they beat the Daisies 4-1 thanks to Zimkhita Weston, Donna Small, Dirkie Chamberlain and Ongi Mali. Bianca Wood scored the only goal for the Daisies, her fifth of the tournament and making her the outright all-time highest goal scorer for the Daisies.

The Garden Route Gazelles were the men’s bronze medal winners with a 3-2 win. After leading 2-0 through Brandon James and Keenan Horne, the Gazelles saw Dayaan Cassiem and Keegan Hezlett erase that lead. Reece Arendse then netted the winner and a second bronze medal for the Gazelles.

CTM Premier Hockey League – Results – 04 August 2019

Women’s Bronze – Orange River Rafters 4-1 Namaqualand Daisies
Men’s Bronze – Maropeng Cavemen 2-3 Garden Route Gazelles
Women’s Final – Madikwe Rangers (3) 1-1 (2) Wineland Wings
Men’s Final – Drakensberg Dragons 4-0 Mapungubwe Mambas

CTM Premier Hockey League – Final Standings

Women
1. Madikwe Rangers
2. Wineland Wings
3. Orange River Rafters
4. Namaqualand Daisies
5. Blyde River Bunters
6. St. Lucia Lakers

Men
1. Drakensberg Dragons
2. Mapungubwe Mambas
3. Garden Route Gazelles
4. Maropeng Cavemen
5. Addo Elephants
6. Golden Gate Gladiators

CTM Premier Hockey League – Individual Awards

Player of the tournament
(M) – Bili Ntuli (Dragons)
(W) – Lisa-Marie Deetlefs (Rangers)

Top Goal scorer
(M) – Keegan Hezlett (Cavemen)
(W) – Sylvia van Jaarsveldt (Wings)

Young Player of the tournament
(M) – Mustapha Cassiem (Mambas)
(W) – Bianca Wood (Daisies)

Goalkeeper of the tournament
(M) – Rob Mckinley (Mambas)
(W) – Mmatshepo Modipane (Rangers)

Photos - Marcel Sigg

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