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On a cool night in Pietermaritzburg the iWYZE International U18 series between South Africa and Australia came to an end on a thrilling note. Heading into the final night the South African girls had already secured the series with two fantastic wins, but the boys series was still in the balance as both games had been tied in electrifying circumstances.

Girls | South Africa 2-0 Australia Having secured only their first ever victory against Australia in the opening match, South Africa completed their first ever clean sweep as Lenise Marais enhanced her own growing reputation as a coach with a 3-0 series win. The final game saw the wounded Australians taking on a highly encouraged SA girls side who were being watched by South African U21 coach Robin van Ginkel.

The first half was a little bit of a tentative affair with few high-quality chances being created. The lack of intensity due to the series being decided was clear but half-time words seemed to create the urgency that was missing. South Africa took the lead when Jean-Leigh du Toit, who will be headed to the African Youth Games in Algeria, netted from a penalty corner with the type of finish that you associate with Lisa-Marie Deetlefs for the National team. South Africa confirmed the victory in the 56th minute when the sensational Bianca Woods scored the goal of the series with some scintillating aerial skills to create and finish her chance.

A superb series for the South African Girls and a great statement about the strength of the future of girl’s hockey in South Africa.

SA Girls Team – Mishka Ellis, Jacolene Mclaren, Ammaarah Hendricks (c), Edith Molikoe, Angela Welham, Carienke Jacobs, Kayla de Waal, India Hardie, Thati Zulu, Bianca Wood, Francisca Darkoh, Zimkhita Smayile, Laila Williams, Samantha Smuts, Julia Hoal, Jean-Leigh du Toit & Elita van Staden

Boys | South Africa 3-6 Australia Australia were strongly favoured for the series but had met a South African boys side who were nothing short of resolute in the opening two games. They took that favoured tag seriously at the start of the series decider, when they gave the superb double fire in the opening 8 minutes. First Ky Willott from a penalty corner before Joshua Brooks scored a field goal.

The superb Cody Posthumus pulled a goal back for South Africa before Australia turned on the class to run away with the game. Kaleb Christensen (29th minute), the outstanding Craig Marais (36th) and Elias Fernandez (38th) all scored from field goals to make it 5-1 and probably settle the game. But Posthumus, who will be integral for the SA Youth team at the Algerian Youth Games, scored twice in two minutes to score the first hat-trick of the series and to set up a nervous finish. Both goals came from the spot as the umpires punished some poor defending.

As South Africa surged in an attempt to level the series it left opportunities at the back and after winning a penalty corner Australia sealed the victory with a Ky Willott penalty corner. An outstanding 6-3 win for Australia and with it a 1-0 series victory.

The boy’s series produced 23 goals in a scintillating series that really gave the crowd some fantastic exhibition hockey, played at a high intensity with a great spirit and both teams were fantastic.

SA Boys Team – Taine Bird, Suubi Sekawabe, Andre Bradford, Jared Campbell, Mpumelelo Maphumulo, Luke Wynford, Idrees Abdulla, Teven Petersen, Cody Posthumus, Peter Jarvis, Angelo Walstroom, Marvin Simons, Matt Dewar (c), Ivann van der Merwe, Joshua Findlay, Steven Conway, Niel Raath & Sihle Ngcongo

The second night of the Old Mutual iWYZE International School Series offered as much excitement as the opening night with more frenetic play and superb crowd support in Pietermaritzburg. Once again, the games were streamed on YouTube, with the likes of Cindy Hack and Jethro Eustice on commentary rounded off the product fantastically.

Boys | South Africa 4-4 Australia

The opening game of the series produced a pulsating 3-3 draw, where both teams felt they could be more clinical and take advantage of circle entries throughout the game. It was a less frenetic start this time round as both teams felt out the action tentatively in the early exchanges. The game ignited in the 19th minute when the superb Craig Marais gave the Australians the lead with a goal that came out of nowhere, showing his clinical ability. The goal spurred South Africa into action and Cody Posthumus hit the post from a penalty corner, the resultant melee produced another penalty corner which was eventually put away by Luke Wynford after a goal mouth scramble. Three minutes later it was Samuel Bell who scored with a simple effort from a PC, which would have disappointed the SA team with its soft nature. It took only two minutes though before Cody Posthumus levelled for the host team again with a superb drag flick. South Africa then took the lead through another goal mouth scramble and it was Angelo Walstroom who converted. 3-2 at half time.

A more technical astute second half saw Australia level through a Ky Willott penalty stroke in the 40th minute, South Africa though took the lead again through a Peter Jarvis deflection. But for the second game in a row South Africa did not protect their lead giving away another debatable penalty stroke, which I think the umpire got spot on, which Ky Willott converted to secure a second draw and keep the series very much in the balance for the final match.

SA Boys Team – Taine Bird, Suubi Sekawabe, Andre Bradford, Jared Campbell, Mpumelelo Maphumulo, Luke Wynford, Idrees Abdulla, Teven Petersen, Cody Posthumus, Peter Jarvis, Angelo Walstroom, Marvin Simons, Matt Dewar (c), Ivann van der Merwe, Joshua Findlay, Steven Conway, Niel Raath & Sihle Ngcongo

Girls | South Africa 3-1 Australia It was a far more conservative game to start when the girl’s sides played in the later game and took a full 29 minutes before the opening goal of the game when Kayla de Waal capitalised for the South Africans on the profligacy of the Australians. It was a brilliant finish by de Waal to give the South Africans the lead.

The score remained the same until the second half and Australia were delighted when Ruby Harris levelled from a field goal in the 58th minute to set up a superb finish to the match.  With just 10 minutes remaining it was over to the player of the match from the opening game, Bianca Woods, to separate the two sides with a great finish after Laila Williams fantastic skills set up the goal.

As Australia pushed to level the game and keep the series alive it left gaps at the back and Edith Molikoe, who has just been selected for the SA Indoor side to play in Zimbabwe, converted a late goal with the reverse strike to seal the match and a historic first series for the South Africans over the Australians.

SA Girls Team – Mishka Ellis, Jacolene Mclaren, Ammaarah Hendricks (c), Edith Molikoe, Angela Welham, Carienke Jacobs, Kayla de Waal, India Hardie, Thati Zulu, Bianca Wood, Francisca Darkoh, Zimkhita Smayile, Laila Williams, Samantha Smuts, Julia Hoal, Jean-Leigh du Toit & Elita van Staden 

Tonight will be the final match of the series with the boy’s game at 18:40 and the girls at 17:00. You can watch the matches live on YouTube.

On the back of the iWyze Under 16 Hockey Nationals in Pietermaritzburg, the now annual International U18 Series between the South African Schools and Australian District Schools kicked off in front of a fantastic crowd at the UKZN Astro. Not only was there a big crowd at the stadium, but the game was streamed live on YouTube much to the delight of the hockey supporting community.

Girls | South Africa 2-1 Australia

In the opening game it was the South African girls who made history when they beat Australia for the first time in the history of these series. It didn’t start well for the SA girls as they found themselves trailing to an Annika Toohey goal as the Australians looked to be up to speed quickly in the game. The South African girls, under the tutelage of double Olympian Lenise Marais, grew into the game and started to create more sustained possession and a few circle entries, but were probably not creating enough chances and it looked like it would remain 1-0 at half time before Bianca Wood produced a fantastic control and finish to pull it level.

The goal delighted the fans including South African U21 coach Robin van Ginkel who would have been impressed by some of the action that he saw. In the second half both teams created opportunities but were kept out by some incredibly disciplined defensive displays. The game looked like it needed a moment of quality to be the differentiator and ultimately it was Bianca Wood who created it with a great touch to create space before sliding it past Caitlin Barnard in the Australian goal to secure a historic victory for the South Africans.

SA Girls Team – Mishka Ellis, Jacolene Mclaren, Ammaarah Hendricks, Edith Molikoe (C), Angela Welham, Carienke Jacobs, Kayla de Waal, India Hardie, Thati Zulu, Bianca Wood, Francisca Darkoh, Zimkhita Smayile, Laila Williams, Samantha Smuts, Julia Hoal, Jean-Leigh du Toit & Elita van Staden

Boys | South Africa 3-3 Australia

Lightning does in fact strike twice in Pietermaritzburg as the Australian Boys mirrored the start of their female compatriots when they took a 1-0 lead in 2 minutes through a lethal bullet from Cambell Geddes at the penalty corner. South African star Jethro Eustice was on commentary and had remarked how impressive Geddes was in the warm-ups, we didn’t have to take his word after seeing that goal go in. But in the exact same way as the Girls game, South Africa started to grow into the game and the form of Cody Posthumus, Peter Jarvis and Jared Campbell was turning the momentum into the hosts favour and the increased pressure paid off when Jarvis finished off a brilliant bit of work by Posthumus. Both sides created chances but were unable to make them count as the first half came to an end.

The second half started with Australia starting stronger and they created a superb chance through the individual skill of Craig Marais but a fantastic save by Sihle Ngcongo kept it level. Ngcongo turned it on again when he saved a penalty stroke from Joshua Brooks to keep it level. Which didn’t stay that way for long as Steven Conway put SA ahead through a great PC variation. Australia pulled level eventually managing to beat the inspired Ngcongo in goals when Marais finished off a fantastic team goal to level with 15 minutes remaining. You may have been excused for thinking the game would peter out into a team draw but both teams had different ideas when Peter Jarvis put South Africa ahead with just sixty seconds left on the clock but Joshua Brooks atoned for the missed penalty stroke when he finished off in packed D to send the travelling support into celebration.

SA Boys Team – Taine Bird, Suubi Sekawabe, Andre Bradford, Jared Campbell, Mpumelelo Maphumulo, Luke Wynford, Idrees Abdulla, Teven Petersen, Cody Posthumus, Peter Jarvis, Angelo Walstroom, Marvin Simons, Matt Dewar (c), Ivann van der Merwe, Joshua Findlay, Steven Conway, Niel Raath & Sihle Ngcongo Tonight will be the second match of the series with the boy’s game at 17:45 and the girls at 19:30. You can watch the matches live on YouTube.

Innovation is the key to success. This is a mantra particularly relevant to sport, and one that will be put into practice in October when hockey 5s features on the programme for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, four years after debuting at the Youth Olympic Games Nanjing 2014.

The 5-a-side rather than traditional 11-a-side version of the game, which is played on a smaller pitch, was a big hit in China, and the game’s governing body hopes that the second appearance of hockey 5s at the Youth Olympic Games will bring the sport to a wider audience and increase player numbers.

The Summer Youth Olympic Games took place for the first time in 2010 in Singapore, and are limited to the age groups of 14-18.  In 2010 South Africa took part in the girl’s tournament of traditional 11-a-side hockey. That team featured some stalwarts of the SA Women’s Hockey game including World Cup bound pair Quanita Bobbs and Phumelela Mbande. That team also featured the likes of Tiffany Jones, Stephanie Baxter and Jacinta Jubb who featured heavily at the recent IPT in Kwazulu Natal.

In 2014 the South African boys took part in the first Hockey 5’s competition and finished fourth losing to Spain in the Bronze medal match, while the girls finished 8th losing to Germany in their playoff game. A host of the players that featured in Nanjing have since gone on to represent the country and gain full national colours including Tyson Dlungwana, Kristen Paton and Bili Ntuli, further emphasizing the value of a Youth Olympic Games on player development.

The qualification criteria as set by the IOC stipulates that each National Olympic Committee can only send 1 Team sport per gender. That means SASCOC will only be allowed to send one boys and one girls team across football, hockey, rugby and handball. In order to be considered for this spot the SA boys and girls must ensure they qualify through the African Qualifier at the Youth African Games.

In the girls tournament the sides competing will be Botswana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa and the hosts Algeria, while the boys competition will be competed between South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia and Zambia

The South African sides to compete in Algiers have been announced by SASCOC:

South African Boys Side

 

South African Girls Side

No

Name

 

No

Name

1

Tain Bird

 

1

Mishcka Ellis

2

Guy Morgan

 

2

Jacolene McLaren

3

Codie Posthumus

 

3

Jean-Leigh du Toit

4

Mustapha Cassiem

 

4

Angela Welham

5

Mphumelelo Maphumulo

 

5

Ammaarah Hendricks

6

Matthew Lewis

                  

6

Kayla de Waal

7

Jared Campbell

 

7

India Hardie

8

Peter Jarvis

 

8

Angel Nkosi

9

Luke Wynford

 

9

Laila Williams

Coach

Sihle Ntuli

 

Coach

Tsoanelo Pholo

 SA Hockey wishes the young boys and girls the best of luck as they look to secure victory in Algeria!

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