A thrilling week of interprovincial hockey came to a stunning conclusion on Saturday night as the Northern Blues were victorious over the much-fancied Southern Gauteng Lions. The Lions had been the team to beat throughout the tournament, but the Blues were fired up to celebrate legendary Kim Hubach’s 20th IPT tournament.

The game started quietly with both teams looking for an early break. That break came for the Blues when Marguerite van Wyk took advantage of great work in the middle of the park to win the ball and finished past Mmatshepo Modipane.

Southerns thought they had equalised when they deflected in from a short corner. But their celebrations were cut short when the ball was ruled to have not left the D. Southern’ s, filled with nine players that won the African Hockey Road to Tokyo, surged forward but could not find a break despite putting immense pressure on the Blues backline.

With the penalty corner count growing in favour of Southern Gauteng there was a feeling of inevitability, but with each corner missed the pressure racketed up. Despite the heroics of the Northerns Blues defence and in particular Phumelela Mbande there was a moment that only sport can bring as goal scoring machine Sylvia van Jaarsveldt deflected home from a Lilian du Plessis cross. The goal came in the last minute of the game and sent the decider to shootouts, just like in 2018.

However unlike in 2018, Southern Gauteng were not victorious this time. Phumi Mbande was the star of the show pulling off four saves from four from national team mates Lilian du Plessis, Lisa Deetlefs, Kristen Paton and the Robyn Johnson. The Blues sealed a historic title through Izelle Verster and the superb van Wyk to give Warren Sangsters team the title!

The Individual Player awards for the tournament were as follows:

Goalkeeper of the tournament – Phumi Mbande (Northern Blues)
Top Goalscorer – Sylvia van Jaarsveldt (Southern Gauteng)
Young Player of the tournament – Edith Molikoe (SA U21)
Player of the tournament – Celia Evans (Northern Blues)

SA Women’s Hockey IPT 2019 – Final Placings

A Section

  1. Northern Blues
  2. Southern Gauteng
  3. Western Province
  4. Free State
  5. KZN Raiders
  6. Eastern Province
  7. SA U21
  8. North West

B Section

  1. SG Witsies
  2. WP Peninsula
  3. KZN Mynahs
  4. Mpumalanga
  5. SACD
  6. Northern Daisies
  7. North West B
  8. Free State B
  9. SG Nuggets
  10. Border

Another year of IPT action is coming to an end. After starting with 8 teams in the A Section we are down to just two who will fight it out live on Shoott SA for the title of South African Hockey Champions for 2019. The final is between the Northern Blues and Southern Gauteng. How did both teams progress this far.

Southern Gauteng

The Lions have been in imperious form throughout the tournament and showed a powerful display from day one. They opened their tournament with a swashbuckling 10-1 win against Eastern Province. Nompilo Thenjwayo got a hat-trick to her name while Lilian du Plessis and Sylvia van Jaarsveldt netted two. It was a much tighter affair in their second game as they came up against the defensively resolute Northern Blues but two very early strikes by Du Plessis and van Jaarsveldt proved enough for a 2-0 win.

The Southern Gauteng Lions then secured top spot with a professional 4-1 win over the SA U21. Sylvia van Jaarsveldt got another brace while the countries greatest celebrator Nomnikelo Veto got herself on the score sheet too.

In the quarter finals the Lions were too strong for the KZN Raiders running out 4-1 winners against the 2016 champions. Kristen Paton, two from Lisa Deetlefs and one from Veto made it 4-0 before the Raiders score a late consolation goal through Tegan Fourie.

It was a repeat of the 2018 final when Sandile Bosman’s team took on Western Province in the Semi-Final. That game was a tentative evenly matched affair that saw Southerns win on a shootout, but that was not repeated this year. Thenjwayo, van Jaarsveldt, Du Plessis and Deetlefs made it a comfortable 4-0 win and progress to the final secured.

Where they will be taking on…

Northern Blues

At the end of this tournament there will be one thing that is in no doubt, they will be the social media champions with a superbly constructed campaign and graphics. But of course, they would like to be champions on the field too.

They opened their tournament with a good 3-1 win over the SA U21 side. Kim Hubach, Celia Evans and the impressive Marguerite van Wyk the scorers for the Pretoria side. After the defeat to Southerns, Celia Evans was the star again with a brace while van Wyk added her own two in a 4-0 win over Eastern Province.

Having finished second the Blues faced a tough encounter with North West. It was an IPT classic that went all the way to a shootout after Nicole Walraven, in her debut for the Blues, scored first, but conceded through Elmien Marais. The Blues took the lead again through Megan Anderson, but Stephanie Baxter brought Shaun Hulley’s side level. In the shootout Phumi Mbande denied two North West strikers as her team took their place in the semi-final.

Where they took on the hosts Free State. A fast and dynamic team that had done incredibly well so far in the tournament. Celia Evans, obviously, got the first goal and the hosts were shell shocked when the Blues got a second with Maikemisetso Marokoane the scorer. Antonet Louw gave the home side hope but van Wyk extinguished that with her 51st minute goal and a place in the final for Warren Sangsters team.

The B Section final will be between Western Province Peninsula and Southern Gauteng Witsies.

After three days of action the tournament has completed its first stage in Bloemfontein, the group stages. With the format being used all teams are still in it with the Quarter Final stage taking place on Thursday. Here is what went down in the women’s A Section group stage.

GROUP A

Like their men’s side, the Southern Gauteng Lions dominated their group stage and launched their way to the top of the Group A. Sylvia van Jaarsveldt and Lilian du Plessis are in goal scoring form and were the stars in their perfect group stage. A 10-1 win against EP was followed by a 2-0 win against the Northern Blues and a 4-1 win against the SA U21 side.

The Northern Blues, who are winning the social media game, took ownership of second spot in the table with a thrilling 3-1 win against SA U21 inspired by skipper Celia Evans. They secured their spot with a comfortable victory against EP. SA U21 took third spot when they defeated they EP.

GROUP B

The hosts, Free State, surprised a few in stealing top spot in Group B. They earned their spot on the back of two wins against Western Province 3-2 before seeing off the KZN Raiders superbly on day 2. They were then beaten by North West but had done enough to secure a goal difference top spot.

Second spot in the group was Western Province who bounced back from their opening defeat to secure back to back victories against KZN Raiders and North West. While the Potchefstroom team secured third on goal difference even though they lost to the Raiders. Setting up some tasty Quarter Finals

QUARTER FINAL LINE UP

Southern Gauteng vs. KZN Raiders
Northern Blues vs. North West
SA U21 vs. Western Province
Free State vs. Eastern Province

All games are streamed live on Shoott SA Facebook page.

 

The highly anticipated fourth season of the CTM PHL took a step up in preparation tonight as the teams were finalised after the draft. The draft, which is based on the American sports draft system as seen in the likes of the NBA and NFL, sees the selected coaching teams battle for players to fill their squads. The draft is seen as a great curtain raiser to the tournament and such is its innovative nature that it was shortlisted for the Sports Industry Awards 2018 for “Cutting Edge Sport Award”.

Each squad consists of 20 players, made up of 7 marquee players as determined by SA Hockey’s High-Performance team, with a further 3 players into their 20 from the “new generation” pool featuring the country’s most exciting young talent. Coaches were forced to release between 4 and 8 players from the 2018 squads ahead of the draft.

In the men’s tournament the only change to the coaching staff was Neville Rothmann, who as head coach for the SA U21 Coach, will lead the Golden Gate Gladiators. Returning coaches are Mark Sanders (Cavemen), Ashlin Freddy (Gazelles), Cheslyn Gie (Elephants), Lungile Tsolekile (Mambas) and defending champion Sihle Ntuli (Dragons).

After the announcements of marquee and released players, the honour of the first pick for the 2019 Premier Hockey League, from the new generation player pool, went to Mustapha Cassiem, called on by the Mapungubwe Mambas, while the first draft for the defending champions Drakensberg Dragons first pick was Suubi Mugerwa-Seawabe.

Onto the main pool the Mambas had first pick once again and gave Greg Last his place in the history books as the first main pool pick of the 2019 CTM Premier Hockey League. Other notable picks from the main pool included Julian Hykes (Addo Elephants), Ignatius Malgraff (Dragons), Robin Jones (Mambas) and Spencer Botes (Cavemen).

In the Women’s tournament Tarrin Ramsden and Sandile Bosman made their debuts at the draft tables after being appointed as head coach at the St. Lucia Lakers and the Madikwe Rangers respectively. They are joined by defending champion Marcelle Keet (Blyde River Bunters), Shaun Hulley (Orange River Rafters) and Ryan Pillay (Wineland Wings).

Also starting with the “new generation” pool, the women’s honour of first pick went to the exciting Cailyn den Bakker for the Wineland Wings, much to the disappointment of the next five coaches in line. The defending champions, the Blyde River Bunters, made Gracious Mpe their opening pick for the 2019 CTM Premier Hockey League.  

As the coaches analysed their playbooks and sums that reminded you of William Smith on a Saturday morning, just without the smarties, the draft moved onto the main pool of players. In this round the drafts of Christine Seggie (Wings), Londeka Dlamini (Rangers) and Tasmin Preller (Lakers) attracted the most animated reactions when selected.

Marissa Langeni, CEO of South African Hockey, shared the following thoughts: “The CTM PHL is always an exciting event on the hockey calendar. I think the coaches have done some good hard work in planning their squads for 2019 and I think they will be happy with what they have done. We are delighted to continue our partnership with CTM as our headline sponsor of PHL for 2019. The CTM PHL has a fantastic legacy already of making sure we make top level hockey accessible to all players, and we look forward to growing this legacy again in 2019!”

The battle lines have now been drawn and the planning can begin. Who will topple the Drakensberg Dragons and the Blyde River Bunters in 2019? Will the Maropeng Cavemen win back their title? Will the Daisies and the Gladiators rock the Premier Hockey League boat. The answers to these questions and more will be revealed at the Randburg Astro when the fourth edition of the CTM PHL gets underway on July 18.

After a week of intense hockey action, the final day of the 2018 SA Women’s Hockey IPT, hosted by SPAR KZN Raiders, saw 9 games played across the two divisions to decide the final placing in for this year. Incredibly 6 of the 9 games were decided by showdowns, meaning the final day could very well rather have been called the IPT 2018 Showdownsᵀᴹ. There can be only one place to start however and that is in the final game of the day when Southern Gauteng took on Tuffy Western Province to determine the champion. Southern Gauteng took a lead in the first quarter through their inspirational captain Robyn Johnson but found themselves immediately level in the second quarter through Tarryn Glasby. After the glut of late goals earlier in the day (More about this later), both teams would have been on edge, but they held out to end the day with another showdown. The first three showdowns were converted by Kristen Paton and Robyn Johnson for Southerns, while Glasby finished with professionalism for Tuffy Western Province. From there on out it was the goalkeeper’s game and when Kelsey Bailey was denied by Marlise van Tonder, the Southern Gauteng ladies were jubilant at regaining a title last won in 2015.

In the B Section final the all-conquering Northern Daisies had met their match and with less than a minute on the clock remaining trailed to SACD A through Courtney Abraham’s early goal. But Monique Scheepers had other ideas and levelled the game through a fantastically taken field goal. Northern Daisies then won the showdowns 3-2 to secure promotion to the A Section in 2019.

There were also late goals in the Bronze medal match when Dirkie Chamberlain led North West to a 1-0 victory in the 53rd minute, in the 56th minute of the 5th place playoff when Bianca Wood levelled for SA Invitation Under 21 to take the game to showdowns and in the 55th and 59th minutes of the Relegation game as Mpumalanga took a late lead but were pegged back by Stacey Hiron for the KZN Mynahs to send another game to showdowns. At the end of the tournament, the individual award winners were sponsored by SPAR KZN Raiders (B Section Prizes), Grays Hockey (Top Goalscorer and Goalkeeper A Section) and Tsogo Sun (A Section Players of the Tournament). The winners are as follows:

A Section

Grays Goalkeeper of the Tournament - Phumelela Mbande (Northern Blues)
Grays Top Goalscorer - Dirkie Chamberlain (North West)
Tsogo Sun Junior Player of the Tournament - Simone Gouws (SA Invitational U21)
Tsogo Sun Players of the Tournament - Dirkie Chamberlain (North West) & Shelley Jones (SPAR KZN Raiders)

B Section

SPAR KZN Hockey Goalkeeper of the Tournament - Callen O'Brien (SG Nuggets)
SPAR KZN Hockey Top Goalscorer - Harriet du Toit (Northern Daisies)
SPAR KZN Hockey Junior Player of the Tournament - Francisca Darkoh (Border)
SPAR KZN Hockey Player of the Tournament - Chrizelle Andries (Northern Daisies)

SA Hockey would like to thank our sponsors for their continued and valuable support: Private Property, Tsogo Sun, Old Mutual, iWyze, Grays, Olympic International, SRSA, Virgin Active, Fox 40, Greenfields and Belgotex Sport.

We obviously have to start at the most obvious place this morning and that is with the two semi-finals in the A section. It was an incredible atmosphere at the Riverside Sports Club as the opening match between Southern Gauteng and North West got underway. North West could not have asked for a better start as National skipper Sulette Damons finished off a fourth-minute penalty corner to give the lead to Shaun Hulley’s side. Southerns also knew that should they push they would open themselves to the devastating counter of North West and the finishing ability of Dirkie Chamberlain was in wait. But as we have seen from Southern Gauteng over the years, they have probably the best BMT in the country and they know how to win semi-finals. They pulled level through their skipper Robyn Johnson just before half-time. And in the 49th minutes Lilian du Plessis, in front of the National selectors, reminded everyone how good a finisher she is. Southerns would see out the game and see themselves into another IPT final.

Tuffy Western Province then took on Northerns Blues and the odds must surely have been stacked against them. The Blues had not conceded a goal in winning five out of five, they had the best keeper in goals in Phumi Mbande and a defensive line led by the other co-national skipper Nicolene Terblanche. Tuffy Western Province has some big names themselves but had not really impressed in the group stages, squeezing through only on goal difference. But tournament hockey is much like a boxing match, you need to land the right punch at the right time. Tarryn Glasby seemed to do that by netting as early as the seventh minute to leave the Blues trailing for the first time in the tournament. Jade Mayne was marshalling her troops in a superb display of leadership and they managed to hold out until the dynamo that is Natalie Esteves scored to pull level. Despite chances at both ends, it would end that way and the game would be decided in Showdowns.

Izelle Verster & Natalie Esteves (Northerns Blues) and Tarryn Glasby (Tuffy WP) started the showdowns with three consecutive misses, or saves rather, before Quanita Bobbs breached Mbande’s goal. Nicolene Terblanche equalised immediately before Candice Manuel and Megan Anderson were both denied. Mayne then scored for Tuffy WP to make it 2-1 with one showdown left. Anel Luus had to score and she did. 2-2. Final shot. Up steps Kelsey Bailey. Facing Phumi Mbande. She sets off. She turns. She shoots. She scores! Tuffy Western Province are through to the final!

In the B Section Border steal a final spot but knew that victory for SG Nuggets would take the spot away. Instead, the Nuggets played out a heartbreaking 1-1 draw with the KZN Robins to miss out on the final, while SACD A then saw off SACD B to leapfrog Border on goal difference. They will now take their spot in the final against the unbeaten Northern Daisies. All results from the day are in the graphic below. It’s all set up for the final later today!

You can follow daily updates on SA Hockey or check out the Tournament Management site through https://saha.altiusrt.com/competitions/25#matches

SA Hockey would like to thank our sponsors for their continued and valuable support: Private Property, Tsogo Sun, Old Mutual, iWyze, Grays, Olympic International, SRSA, Virgin Active, Fox 40, Greenfields and Belgotex Sport.

The final spots in the top four were only decided in the final game of the group stage, which added to the excitement in front of a packed Riverside Sports crowd, one of the best ever seen for a Women’s IPT in South Africa. Earlier in the day, Free State put themselves in a great position for making the semi-finals when they demolished WP Pens 5-1, with who else but Cornelle Holtzhausen netting a brace. That result set up the following scenario, Tuffy Western Province would have to avoid defeat against Southern Gauteng to make the final four. It became evident very early in the Southerns vs. Province game that the crowd was backing Southerns in order to see Free State progress to the final four. It was a tactical masterclass by Tuffy Western Province as Jade Mayne marshalled the team incredibly well, never keeping quiet, and they limited Southerns to very few chances. Of course, when Southerns did get a chance, Nicole la Fleur was more than equipped to deal with it. The game ended 0-0 and that saw Free State slip into the 5-8 playoffs. In the other pool, it was North West who secured their place in the Semi-Finals with a workmanlike performance to defeat the SA Invitational under 21 side. Skipper Amore de Wet broke the deadlock, but North West was made to sweat for the victory before Sulette Damons and Dirkie Chamberlain, still, the finest striker in the country, made the game safe. The result means that SPAR KZN Raiders would have to beat the Northern Blues by 5 goals. The Blues had not conceded one yet. And that would remain the stat intact at the end of the game. The Blues ceded tons of possession to the hosts but they were unable to create too many opportunities, and they will be disappointed with their inability to make their penalty corners work. Anel Luus scored a fantastic individual goal before the superb Natalie Esteves made it 2-0 in the third quarter to leave the partisan crowd disappointed and to send the defending champions out of the final four. The other two results on the day saw Eastern Province dismiss the KZN Mynahs like swatting a fly away and Mpumalanga secured their first victory of the tournament beating the SG Witsies. In the B Section Border continued their fightback from an opening defeat to be contending for a place in the final. The Northern Daisies are already secured of their spot and will be joined by one of SG Nuggets, SACD A, Border and KZN Robins. You can follow daily updates on SA Hockey or check out the Tournament Management site through https://saha.altiusrt.com/competitions/25#matches SA Hockey would like to thank our sponsors for their continued and valuable support: Private Property, Tsogo Sun, Old Mutual, iWyze, Grays, Olympic International, SRSA, Virgin Active, Fox 40, Greenfields and Belgotex Sport.

Four days into the 2018 SA Hockey Women’s IPT and the semi-final line-up is close to being completed with just one day of action left to go. Southern Gauteng has now secured their place in the semi-finals after a superb tactical victory over Free State to start the day. Free State has been the impressive union so far of this year’s IPT with the result of the tournament being their victory over Tuffy Western Province. They headed into an early morning battle with Southern Gauteng to secure a top 4 spot. Although Free State had tons of possession, Southerns have a superb backline featuring Lisa Deetlefs and Kara Botes who thwarted attack after attack. Southern Gauteng was also more clinical and secured victory with a double from Lilian du Plessis and regular goal scorer Sylvia van Jaarsveldt. The 3-0 victory secured Southern Gauteng their spot in the top 4, but their joiners are not yet known. In Group A it could have been done and dusted after Northern Blues superb 7-0 win over Mpumalanga, who are running out of legs, meaning a victory for SPAR KZN Raiders over North West would secure semi-finals for both the Northern Blues and the hosts. Kelsey Minnaar was introduced into the game in the ninth minute and within 60 seconds had given the Potchefstroom team the lead. As the game opened up and the SPAR KZN Raiders tried to raise the tempo, they were caught with two goals before halftime. First Elmien Marais scored from a penalty corner before Dirkie Chamberlain, back from her short trip to UK, made it 3-0. Jacinta Jubb pulled one back for the hosts, but try as they might they could not break through the resolute defense of North West. In one of the earlier games, SA Invitational U21 team produced their best display of the tournament dismantling SG Witsies 6-1, Tegan Fourie and Stephanie Botha both netting braces, while arguably the game of the day was a 2-1 win for Eastern Province over WP Pens with Harriet Bisdee netting with the final hit of the game! Permutations – Group A Northern Blues play against SPAR KZN Raiders, while North West take on SA invitational under 21. The four teams all can still qualify and drop out of the top 4. For Northern Blues, a draw will secure progress, but depending on goal difference could still qualify regardless. For the other three teams, anything short of a win will probably see them miss out on the top 4. There is a massive pressure on they take on a team that has yet to concede a goal! Permutations – Group B Southern Gauteng has already qualified for the Semi-finals and they take on Western Province who will at least have the comfort of knowing what the result needed will be as Free State play before them. Free State themselves will look to get a win over WP Pens early in the day that will mean that WP will need a draw to qualify for the top 4! 3 massive matches to decide the top 4, it promises to be a day of superb hockey. You can follow daily updates on SA Hockey or check out the Tournament Management site through https://saha.altiusrt.com/competitions/25#matches SA Hockey would like to thank our sponsors for their continued and valuable support: Private Property, Tsogo Sun, Old Mutual, iWyze, Grays, Olympic International, SRSA, Virgin Active, Fox 40, Greenfields and Belgotex Sport.

The first two days of the 2018 IPT, fantastically organised by SPAR KZN Hockey, had really gone to script with Eastern Province securing a draw against Free State being the only result that blotted the coffee book so far. That would see a change in a remarkable opening game of the third day as Tuffy Western Province took on the Free State side.

Tuffy Western Province can call on an incredible five national players in their starting eleven and were always considered strong favourites against a side featuring only Nicole Walraven from the National squad. But under Luke Makaleni, the Free State girls have shown tremendous heart and combined with great skill look a fantastic unit.

Tuffy Western Province took the early lead with a goal by Aimee-Leigh Pote and a second from Quanita Bobbs making it 2-0 in the first quarter, a score that would remain to half-time. Some inspirational words must have been shared, or some hairdryers were thrown, as Free State emerged a different team and took the game to the Tuffy WP side. Cornelle Holtzhausen, fast becoming a name we will all remember, put home a penalty corner in the third quarter and levelled the game just four minutes later.

Both sides pushed for the winner in this classic match, which at times was reminiscent of a boxing match heading to the 12th round, counter punches were thrown and both teams were desperate to land one. In the 54th minute, it was Free State who did through Jo-Neike Swanepoel finishing a field goal to give Free State the biggest win of the tournament so far and put all the pressure on Tuffy Western province to try and make the top 4!

In the battle of the “B” Teams, it was the host province that triumphed as Amy Greaves, the skipper of the KZN Mynahs, slotted home a penalty corner to secure the victory for the Mynahs over WP Pens. Southern Gauteng managed another straightforward victory as they got another brace from Sylvia van Jaarsveldt and Lisa-Marie Deetlefs. The Johannesburg ladies are looking good ahead of their two crunch matches against Free State and Western Province.

The SA Invitational under 21 side came up against the inspired Charlize Swanepoel, but the weight of opportunities could not be denied. Hannah Pearce’s brace was supported by goals by Stephanie Botha, Sare Laubscher, and Teagan Fourie. Teagan took a blow to the head and was undergoing tests to evaluate her availability for the remainder of the tournament.

The clash of two unbeaten sides in Northern Blues and North West was the most anticipated game of the day and after a sluggish start, the game started to grow into its stature. After a few chances for North West, who were without Dirkie Chamberlain, it was the Northern Blues who got the game’s opening goal through Carmen Smith. They would never relinquish the lead, rather extending it through Anel Luus and Natalie Esteves. The game was shadowed by a knee injury to SA Hockey player of the year 2016, Celia Evans, with the entire South African supporter brace hoping for good news.

The final game of the night saw the hosts the SPAR KZN Raiders romp to an early 3-0 lead before taking their foot off the pedal and seeing out the game without too much stress. Jacinta Jubb once again popped up with two goals before Amy Etherington made it 3. The SG Witsies side did fight back and pulled one goal back at the end of the third quarter through Sissy Pieterse. They were unable to add to that though and it ended 3-1.

SPAR KZN Raiders and Northern Blues lead pool A with maximum points, with North West sitting in third place. Over in Pool B its Southern Gauteng with a full house being chased by Free State (7 pts.) and Western Province (6). Tomorrow morning Southern Gauteng take on Free State in the opening game while KZN Raiders will play North West later in the day.

In the B Section Border bounced back with a 3-1 win over the SG Nuggets, who themselves then also bounced back with a 1-0 win over SACD B. SACD A mauled the KZN Inland ladies 8-0 and the final game was a 1-0 win for the Northern Daisies against KZN Robins.

What it means is that Northern Daisies lead the table with 2 from 2 and are followed by SACD A and SG Nuggets, who have both played 3 games.

You can follow daily updates on SA Hockey or check out the Tournament Management site through https://saha.altiusrt.com/competitions/25#matches

SA Hockey would like to thank our sponsors for their continued and valuable support: Private Property, Tsogo Sun, Old Mutual, iWyze, Grays, Olympic International, SRSA, Virgin Active, Fox 40, Greenfields and Belgotex Sport.

 

Riverside Hockey club is the perfect venue and on the opening day, it witnessed some nearly perfect hockey at the SPAR AstroTurf. The first day of the 2018 SA Hockey Women’s IPT, saw only the A Section in action and four of the five games went the way you would expect.

To start off the day North West was inspired by National captain Sulette Damons, who netted a hat-trick in a 7-1 demolition of SG Witsies. Lerato Mahlangu also netted twice for Shaun Hulley’s side who also have Dirkie Chamberlain in the ranks. They are a team playing some good cohesive hockey and today was definitely an eye-opener for some of the other teams.

Free State was slightly favoured to get victory over Eastern Province, but the youthful line-up from Bloemfontein found themselves trailing 2-1 with only five minutes left. In the end, a late field goal by Cornelle Holtzhausen saved them a 2-2 draw.

Southern Gauteng made a convincing start to their attempts to win back the trophy. The extremely experienced line-up was matched by a display of superb heart from the KZN Mynahs team. The Johannesburg ladies managed to win 3-1 but it was far more work than they would have wanted after a truly spirited Mynahs display. Pietie Coetzee’s side scored early through Lilian du Plessis before being pegged back immediately by Stacey Hiron. It took until the final quarter before Sylvia van Jaarsveldt made the game safe.

In a game that can often produce a banana skin, Tuffy Western Province took on their “B” side WP Pens. At half-time, the lead was only 1-0 through Quanita Bobbs and nerves were rattled when Micaela Diedericks leveled in the 34th minute. But Bobbs put Tuffy Western Province back in front and they never looked back, eventually running away with a 5-1 win including two late strikes from National capped players Tarryn Glasby and Jade Mayne.

The SA Invitational U21 side is a mix of some of the Daisie's players from PHL and others who have been selected as the greater squad. The tournament is another opportunity for Robin van Ginkel to try combinations and see how the group progresses. Although they were defeated by a very strong Northern Blues side 2-0 they will be impressed with the early signs of the defensive side of the team. The Northern Blues will consider the goals by Carmen Smith and Marizen Marais to be a job well done.

The final match of the opening day saw the hosts SPAR KZN Raiders take on Mpumalanga. Brighty Mashaba knew that his charges would not be able to match the attack of Lennie Botha’s ladies and set up the bus to frustrate. It was a plan that requires your goalkeeper to be on form and that’s exactly what we saw from Charlize Swanepoel who thwarted attack after attack. In the end, the quality of the Raiders was enough as Jacinta Jubb and Jessica Lardant made sure of a 2-0 win.

An incredible first day, with a fantastic crowd, saw the foundations laid for an exciting weekend of outdoor hockey. You can follow daily updates on SA Hockey or check out the Tournament Management site through the link above.

SA Hockey would like to thank our sponsors for their continued and valuable support: Private Property, Tsogo Sun, Old Mutual, iWyze, Grays, Olympic International, SRSA, Virgin Active, Fox 40, Greenfields and Belgotex Sport.