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.