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Southern Gauteng claimed the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals men’s title in the most emphatic manner with a ruthlessly efficient 5-1 victory over the SA U21s in the final at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

 

The greater experience of the Southern Gauteng team was shown by their tremendous composure in defence, the SA U21s certainly threatening more than the scoreline would suggest. Up front, the home team were clinical, with Stuart Spooner and Julian Hykes taking full advantage of what were no more than half-chances for their goals.

 

Both teams took a while to settle down in a nervy first quarter, that finished goalless, with just one short-corner to Southern Gauteng.

Spooner opened the scoring in the 21st minute with an impressive reverse-sticks shot from an angle, but there is such talent in this SA U21 side that it was not much of a surprise when they equalised moments later, the hard-working Matthew de Sousa setting up a short-corner and then managing to get the ball past the daunting frame of national goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse with a clever deflection.

 

But Southern Gauteng were extremely dangerous on the break and less than a minute had passed when they were back in front, Clinton Panther rounding the defence and flipping the ball back for Brad Venter to pop it into goal.

 

When Hykes was gifted the ball at the top of the SA U21 circle by a foolish mistake but blasted his shot over the goal, it went down as a potentially crucial moment as Southern Gauteng went into halftime 2-1 up.

 

But the mark of a champion team has often been described as the ability to lift their performance by a notch under pressure and Southern Gauteng did just that as they came out for the third quarter and blew the SA U21s away with three goals.

A strong run by Brandon Panther set up a short-corner, from which Gareth Heyns gave a perfect example of a drag-flick into the top right of the net.

 

Southern Gauteng then gave a masterclass in exerting pressure as they squeezed the SA U21s into the left corner, eventually forcing the defence to gift possession away. Clinton Panther pounced, found Hykes, who crossed for Brynn Cleak to slot the fourth goal.

 

A pinpoint, perfectly-struck reverse-sticks shot by Hykes in the 42nd minute brought the fifth and final goal.

Southern Gauteng, patient and composed, structurally aware and able to read the game so well, were the worthiest of champions.

For the second time in three years the Northerns Blues laid claim to the women’s A-section title at the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals, surviving a tense shootout against Southern Gauteng at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

 

After the game ended locked at 1-1 at the end of regulation time the sides immediately had to pick their best five options for the shootout with neither side able to capitalise in the situation which forced the shootout into sudden death.

 

Southerns would have first go in the sudden death shootout and when Lisa Deetlefs slapped her effort straight at Mmatshepo Modipane it fell to Celia Evans to take it home for Northerns.

 

Evans promptly rounded Southerns shot-stopper Sanani Mangisa and slotted home to hand Northerns victory in the derby between the two Gauteng sides.

 

It was appropriate that Evans would have the final say given that she played a major role in the final, not only proving instrumental in setting up a number of attacking opportunities but also providing vital cover on defence.

 

Southerns had, however, come out the stronger of the two sides and managed to take the lead in the 11th minute as Shelley Russell fed the ball to Catherine McNulty in the middle of the D and a good finish under pressure made it 1-0.

 

But Northerns weren’t going to sit back and let Southerns make the play and had it not been for a last-gasp clearance by Ashleigh-Jean Datnow, who cleared off the line after Jessica Dollar slipped her defender, the scores would have been level sooner.

 

Dollar would again play a vital part in setting up a clear opportunity for Northerns as she found Jubb in the circle and a short-corner followed.

 

The set up suggested that Jubb would have the shot but instead Northerns opted for the slip and the ball found Evans and she unleashed a powerful shot to level the scores in the 33rd minute.

 

 

That was how it stayed until the final hooter which meant an immediate shootout. Southerns at one stage held the advantage but Toni Marks and Taryn Mallett both missed their opportunities while Chanelle van Zyl converted the final attempt to force sudden death.

It was easy as you like for the KZN Raiders men as they ran out comfortable 5-2 winners against Northern Blues in the bronze medal match at the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

 

In the space of two hours both Raiders outfits were able to pick up third-place finishes at the country’s marquee hockey tournament and provided a positive ending to their respective campaigns. Both sides played good hockey throughout the week but just not doing enough to reach the A-section finals both knocked out by hosts Southern Gauteng in the semfinals.

 

But the Kwa-Zulu Natal outfits made a return to winning ways, the men cruising against their opposition while the women’s side ended up 3-1 winners. The scoreline suggests a comfortable victory they were put under pressure at times by a plucky North West outfit.

 

The Raiders women were able to open the scoring in the sixth minute through Kerry Pearton but North West closed the gap soon after as Danielle de Wet pegged back the deficit. But Raiders managed to score on the stroke of halftime, Courtney du Preez converting from a short corner, to take a 2-1 lead into the break.

 

Although they managed to test the North West defence on a number of occasions, with Kate Koenig proving to be a particular headache, but they were unable to convert their chances but a Kylie Oosthuizen goal four minutes from time secured them a well-deserved victory.

 

It was a different story for the Raiders men’s side as they ran riot against Northerns Blues scoring in the fourth minute as Damien Kimfly found himself unmarked in the circle. The advantage was doubled as Keagan Robinson tapped in after brilliant passing between Raiders sticks.

 

Nine minutes later and a Greg Last penalty stroke, the captain just beating the keeper who got stick on it, ensuring his took a 3-0 lead into the break.

 

It was more of the same after the changeover as Jethro Eustice got on the scoresheet before Cameron Mackay added a goal of his own.

 

It wasn’t so much a fightback as a chance to restore some parity for Northerns as they added two late goals, one by Grant Glutz and another from Mark Halliday, to make it 5-2 but the reality was that they were comprehensively outplayed.

 

In other A-section results, the Witises men managed to fight back and force a three all draw against Free State and then winning the ensuing shootout to make sure they avoided the wooden spoon.

 

 

In the women’s draw, the South Africa Under-21 side ran Western Province off their feet, scoring twice in the first half before adding three more after the break for a 5-0 win to claim fifth spot.

The South African men’s U21 team are playing the final of the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals in Randburg on Saturday, showing that there is plenty of young talent coming through the ranks. But they are also thoroughly transformed with eight players of colour in the squad, including six Black Africans, showing that hockey is heading away from the representivity frustrations that have dogged them in the past.

And while “quotas” is a word bandied about by the older generation, it is not a hip word when it comes to hockey’s rising young talent.

“It hasn’t been difficult at all to find players of colour for the team because these guys have come through the age-groups, they’ve played together in the U16s and U18s, where there is a heck of a lot of good quality. The core of this side have played Tests together for the SA U18s and made the Junior Olympics semi-finals with the SA U17s, both under Neville Rothman, my assistant coach.

“So there are no quota (I hate that word) players in the team. They were all born after 1995 and have played in every national team together, so there is no baggage. They say it themselves in team meetings that the colour of your skin makes no difference. There’s a very positive feeling in this squad, there’s such a positive culture,” SA U21 coach Garreth Ewing said.

The players of colour in the current squad that is beating seasoned professionals at the senior IPT are composed midfielder Tyson Dlungwana, defender Nduduza Lembethe, Ryan Julius, an elusive runner with the ball, forward Khumo Mokale, the skilful Nqobile Ntuli, pacy Tevin Kok, solid Amkelwa Letuka and goalkeeper Siyavuya Nolutshungu, and they would comfortably be playing in this IPT for their provincial sides were they not on national duty.

“Obviously we do pay close attention to the players of colour, but a lot of them are our best players. Some of them are going to be superstars. They have a long way to go, but their ability and decision-making under pressure is already so good. I can’t wait to see where they all go, six of them already have full national caps,” Ewing said.

Ewing, who has considerable experience coaching both locally and internationally, clearly likes the emphasis on bringing through players of colour that has to be there if South African hockey are to get back to where they want to be – in the upper echelons of the world game.

“What is coming through underneath shows that there is so much potential. We’re not afraid of targets, we embrace them. Things don’t happen overnight, but we’re getting there. The guys play with such joy and style, their hockey is so attractive,” Ewing said.

Most encouragingly, Black coaches are also starting to come through. The losing semi-finalists, KZN Raiders and the Northerns Blues, are coached by Sihle Ntuli and Krinesan Moodley respectively. WP Peninsula are coached by Denzil Dolley and the team they played in the B Section final, KZN Mynahs, are mentored by Sharmin Naidoo

Patrick Tshutshani is Ewing’s counterpart with the junior women, Ryan Pillay coached the Western Province women’s team and even the Mpumalanga women’s team have a Black African coach in Brighty Mshaba.

Numerous other players of colour have shone with Jermaine Johnson and Julian Hykes both playing key roles in getting Southern Gauteng into the men’s final, while Pierre de Voux of Western Province and KZN’s Mohamed Mea are two newer players that are going to have the national selectors’ eyes on them.

Western Province Peninsula ensured that they will move back into the hockey IPT A Section should there be promotion as they clinched the men’s B Section title with a convincing 5-1 victory over KZN Mynahs in the final in Randburg on Saturday.

 

Peninsula went into a 2-0 lead at halftime through a penalty stroke by Reece Arendse and a field goal by Warren McEwan and, although Mynahs pulled a goal back through Kovin Moodley four minutes after the break, the WP B side made their move early in the final quarter as McEwan completed his hat-trick with two impressive field goals in two minutes.

 

Kyle Lottering added the finishing touches to an impressive week for Peninsula, who won the A IPT in 2014 in one of the most sensational results in SA hockey history, as he added the fifth goal three minutes from time.

 

North-West enjoyed a small consolation for their semifinal defeat in a shootout at the hands of the Mynahs as they won the bronze medal with a 6-3 win over Zimbabwe, dominating the second half with Francois Cilliers scoring a brace.

 

B Section results

Men’s B Section finalWP Peninsula 5 (Reece Arendse, Warren McEwan [3], Kyle Lottering) KZN Mynahs 1 (Kovin Moodley).

 

Women’s B Section finalWP Peninsula 2 (Kayde Miller, Robyn Pinder) KZN Mynahs 1 (Stacey Hiron).

 

Men’s B Section bronze medalNorth-West 6 (Francois Cilliers [2], Killian Ludick, Mitesh Makan, Neil van Onselen, Pierre Bothma) Zimbabwe 3 (Luckson Sikisa, Edwin Tholanah, Arnold Mpofu).

 

Women’s B Section bronze medalZimbabwe 4 (Michelle Williams [2], Michelle Mollins [2]) KZN Inland 0.

 

Men’s B Section: 5th-6th SA Country Districts 2 (Ryan Innes, Etienne Blatt) Northerns B 1 (Reece Mowatt); 7th-8th Eastern Gauteng 3 (Kyle Cameron, Darren Ellis, Bradley Nunn) KZN Inland 0.

 

Women’s B Section: 5th-6th Mpumalanga 2 (Jeanri Naude, Linze Liversage) Southern Gauteng Nuggets 1 (Jerri Dennyschen); 7th-8th SA Country Districts 5 (Robyn Morgan, Anel Beukes, Marelie Devereux  [2], Andri van Heerden) Northerns B 3 (Chanel Dippenaar, Hanlie Podd, Ane Luus).

 

Final placings

Men: 1 WP Peninsula; 2 KZN Mynahs; 3 North-West; 4 Zimbabwe; 5 SA Country Districts; 6 Northerns B; 7 Eastern Gauteng; 8 KZN Inland.

Women: 1 WP Peninsula; 2 KZN Mynahs; 3 Zimbabwe; 4 KZN Inland; 5 Mpumalanga; 6 Southern Gauteng Nuggets; 7 SA Country Districts; 8 Northerns B.

The South African Hockey Association is delighted to announce that hockey fans across South Africa, and indeed the world, will be able to watch the final two days of the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals via live online streaming.

 

The Interprovincial Nationals are currently underway at the Randburg Astro in Johannesburg and all Friday (April 29) and Saturday’s (April 30) matches, played on the A field, will be broadcast live via a special link on SAHA’s website.

 

This means that seven matches per day, including the both the Men’s and Ladies A section semifinals and Finals, can be watched live wherever you are. 

 

The first match of each day gets underway at 08h30 (SA Time), with the final match scheduled for a 19h00 (SA Time) start.  

 

 

Go to http://antcast.antfarm.co.za/sahockey/April_2016_01/ to view the very best South African Men’s and Ladies hockey players battle it out for the right to be crowned 2016 Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Champions. 

The plucky youngsters of the North-West team were unable to prevent an all-Gauteng Women’s A Section final in the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals on Friday as Northerns Blues triumphed 4-0 in their semifinal at the Randburg Hockey Stadium.

 

Northerns Blues will now go on to meet neighbours and defending champions Southern Gauteng in the final on Saturday.

Northerns struck first in the fifth minute as Jacinta Jubb added to her considerable tally this week with a crisp strike from the back left of the D, but North-West goalkeeper Anele van Deventer produced a couple of fine saves to prevent them from scoring a second in the first quarter.

 

Midway through the second chukka, Kim Hubach pushed a penalty stroke narrowly wide, but it did not cost Northerns as, just a couple of minutes later, Chane Hill stretched the lead to 2-0 with a fine deflection on the post from a meaty strike by Izelle Verster.

 

It stayed that way through to half-time, but Jubb completed a hat-trick with two goals in the final quarter as the Northerns short-corner team roared into life.

 

The talented North-West side created a few opportunities, but the solid defence of the Blues gave them little leeway and the team coached by Lindsay Wright, the former SA star, will now get a shot at the ultimate title as they take on the Southern Gauteng powerhouse.

 

Don’t forget that all the matches taking place on the main field at the Randburg Hockey Stadium are being streamed live Saturday and the action from Friday's games on the main field have also been archived on live streaming site which can be accessed by visiting http://antcast.antfarm.co.za/sahockey/April_2016_01/ 

Southern Gauteng lodged themselves firmly in the favourites’ seat as they continued their victorious run through the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals with a 3-1 win over KZN Raiders in their men’s A Section semi-final at Randburg Hockey Stadium on Friday.

 

After a goalless first half, Southern Gauteng broke the deadlock through a Brandon Panther field goal and they then scored twice in five minutes in the final quarter to break KZN hearts.

 

The result means Southern Gauteng will take on the SA U21s, who earned themselves a place in the final by beating Northerns in a shootout, in Saturday’s showpiece match.

 

Even though the first half-hour ended goalless, it was a top-class battle of wits between two sides who put a premium on patiently maintaining possession and using the full width of the field, with a strong defensive showing by KZN forcing Southern Gauteng to use a lot of long-ball.

 

Raiders had the better of the half with a couple of short-corner chances, as Daniel Sibbald and Jarryd Jones put in several penetrative runs. Unfortunately Sibbald suffered a knee injury when he collided with the goalpost and was unable to take the field again, depriving the KZN attack of a crucial weapon down the left.

 

Southern Gauteng returned from the halftime break with a steely focus and a clear resolve that they needed to up their game and they produced a compelling second half of precision hockey.

 

They won a trio of short-corners with Julian Hykes, Clinton and Brandon Panther consistently troubling the KZN defence with their sharp attacking skills.

The Panther brothers have been holding court throughout this tournament and they combined beautifully in the 40th minute for a field goal by Brandon, rounding the defence and then shooting home from an acute angle, to end the stalemate.

 

Jones struck back four minutes later though for Raiders with a superb individual goal, running to the baseline, drawing national goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse, who made a half-stop, before the KwaZulu-Natalian regained control of the ball, ducked inside towards the penalty spot and flicked it under Pieterse for a brilliant equaliser.

 

But it was a case of the calm before the storm as Southern Gauteng lifted their game another notch and killed the contest with further goals in the 47th and 52nd minutes.

 

Hykes went on a scything run and passed to Brandon Panther and, with the KZN defence desperately trying to closer him down, he was able to flip the ball back to the penalty spot, where Brynn Cleak was able to slot the ball into the net.

 

Five minutes later, the hosts won a short corner and, after goalkeeper Gowan Jones saved the initial drag-flick, Brad Venter, the pusher, was on hand to stick home the rebound, taking Southern Gauteng to a 3-1 lead.

 

They will advance to the final with their confidence at a high and the SA U21s are going to have to find a way to disrupt a team that believes in their structures, has immense composure, plenty of experience and no shortage of skill to get them through any trying times.

 

Don’t forget that all the matches taking place on the main field at the Randburg Hockey Stadium are being streamed live on Friday and Saturday. The action can be picked up via this link http://antcast.antfarm.co.za/sahockey/April_2016_01/

There was almost a case of deja vu for the Southern Gauteng women’s side but a goal nine minute from time earned them a berth in the final of the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals at Randburg Hockey Stadium on Friday.

 

The hosts were forced into a shootout in their quarterfinal earlier in the week and it looked as if their last four match-up against KZN Raiders was heading the same way before a goal, eight minutes from time, by Taryn Mallett handed them a 1-0 win.

 

But it should have been more, especially when you take into account just how much of the possession Southerns held and the number of short corner opportunities they were able to create as a result.

 

In the 52 minutes leading up to the game’s solitary goal, Southern Gauteng were able to make a number of circle entries and have shots on goal with Toni Marks in particular proving a handful to the Raiders defence.

 

But as good as Marks was at getting herself into space and firing shots at goal so to was Raiders shot-stopper Cherie Greyvenstein at deflecting danger away and her efforts.

 

Penalty corners third and fifth minute of the game didn’t go to plan and by the time Southerns earned their eighth shortie of the contest you felt that if they weren’t going to get that one right then they never would.

 

But a well-worked variation saw the ball set up nicely for Mallett and she struck home the advantage and Southerns ran down the clock to book their final berth.

 

Most of the game was spent inside the Raiders half and the Kwa-Zulu Natal outfit only managed to create two clear cut opportunities, once from a short corner, and the other in open play.

 

It seemed as if they’d hammered home the advantage in the third quarter, scoring from a penalty corner, but umpire Michelle Joubert ruled that there was obstructive running and Southerns were off the hook.

 

The only other Raiders chance came at the end of the third chukka as Kylie Oosthuizen got on the end of a brilliant feed into the circle by captain Kara-Lee Stella but her deflected effort sailed over the crossbar.

 

While the Southerns defence was miserly in providing the opposition with opportunities to break into their territory it was the reverse at the other end with the home side making a number of runs into the circle.

 

There was, however, a period where both sides were guilty of giving away possession too easily which detracted somewhat from the spectacle involving two of the best ladies sides in the tournament.

 

 

Don’t forget that all the matches taking place on the main field at the Randburg Hockey Stadium are being streamed live on Friday and Saturday via this link http://antcast.antfarm.co.za/sahockey/April_2016_01/