Hosts Southern Gauteng enjoyed a stellar second day in the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Tuesday as both their men’s and women’s teams claimed pole position in their pools after posting their second successive wins.
The Southern Gauteng women’s team, the defending champions, produced a top-class 7-0 demolition of Free State, Lisa-Mari Deetlefs and Bernie Coston both scoring twice, while the men emerged with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Northerns in a fractious game that ended a day that was interrupted for over an hour by a thunderstorm.
They had to come back from a 1-0 deficit after a short-corner goal by Matthew Guise-Brown, and Brad Venter produced an equaliser on the stroke of halftime before Southern Gauteng won a penalty stroke as Guise-Brown hacked Julian Hykes’s stick from behind in the circle, allowing Gareth Heyns to flick high into the net for an excellent winner.
Last year’s finalists may yet be caught at the top of their pool if their B side, Wits, can beat Northerns on Wednesday and Southern Gauteng fail to see off Eastern Province.
Eastern Province, who beat Northerns 4-3 on the opening day, went down 1-2 to Wits on Tuesday as Nic Gonsalves scored a brace, the first coming via a field goal in the 19th minute and the second from a brilliantly-worked short-corner option in the 22nd.
The deficit was cut by a Cody van Wyk field goal, but his Eastern Province side were unable to find a way through again.
Pool A in the men’s A Section is developing into an epic contest as Tuffy Western Province, the defending champions, slipped down into third place after losing to the SA U21s, while the KZN Raiders, who drew with the junior internationals on the first day, joined them at the top of the standings with a comfortable 6-1 win over Free State.
Free State provided some anxious times early on for the KZN Raiders, but it was only a moment of brevity as the KwaZulu-Natalians roared to victory.
Free State started strongly and so nearly claimed the first goal when Dylan Swanepoel rocketed a short-corner drag-flick off the post in the second minute. But gradually the competitiveness of the Free Staters waned and the KZN Raiders in the end put together a very good performance.
They opened the scoring in the eighth minute when a fine cross by Mohammed Mea was expertly met and deflected into goal by Travis Hardnick.
The rest of the first half went well for KZN as they added two more impressive goals. Stephen Wiggett showed the talents of an ace goal-poacher as he seemed to have so much time to rob the ball off a defender’s stick and slam it into the goal all in one stroke for the Raiders’ second goal, and Jethro Eustice, who did invaluable work in midfield, then flicked home well from a short-corner to make it 3-0 after 20 minutes.
Daniel Sibbald was inches away from scoring the goal of the tournament thus far when his reverse-sticks shot came off the post, the international having started the move just outside his own 25 with a superb run.
But the third quarter was a better one for Free State as they pulled a goal back through Darren Kamfer, before normal service was resumed in the final quarter and KZN Raiders scored three more goals.
Ross Hetem set up and finished the first with a fine overhead across the circle to Jarryd Jones, who cut back and then passed back to Hetem, who slotted home a good reverse-sticks finish.
Jones scored the last goal on the final hooter, with a slap high into the net after a short-corner, with Wiggett getting his second goal five minutes earlier with a well-struck angled shot.
The SA U21s had little respect for their heroes of yore in the Western Province side, denting their ambitions in a 3-2 victory.
Ryan Crowe handed SA U21 the lead with a field goal, before Western Province struck back thanks to an Austin Smith drag-flick from a penalty corner.
There was a break in play as thundershowers led to a waterlogged astroturf, pushing the remainder of the day’s games back, but play eventually resumed with the sides locked at 1-1.
Another field goal, this time by Khumo Mokale, helped SA U21 regain the lead, before a penalty stroke in the 40th minute from Kyle Lion-Cachet sealed the victory, although Western Province managed to close the gap with four minutes to play as Smith added another from a short corner.
The Tuffy Western Province women’s side provided more ill news for the Cape as they drew 1-1 with Northerns Blues.
The early exchanges were dominated by Northerns as they created a number of chances and pressured the Western Province defence. Had it not been for Nicole le Fleur they may have been down a goal early on with the goalkeeper keeping out a Jacinta Jubb effort from a penalty corner in the ninth minute.
But Jubb managed to break the deadlock two minutes before halftime with a powerful poke from a short corner hurtling into the backboard.
But the lead was short-lived as Western Province struck back through Anche Nortje, and while both sides fought hard for the lead in the third and fourth quarters, the goals never came. It was made worse by the fact that both sides were left to rue a number of missed short-corner opportunities.
The North-West women’s team showed that they will be coming hard at Southern Gauteng when they meet on Wednesday with a comfortable 4-1 win over the SA U21s, two of their goals coming from Lori Hyde.
Men’s A Section: KZN Raiders 6 (Travis Hardnick, Stephen Wiggett , Jethro Eustice, Ross Hetem, Jarryd Jones) Free State 1 (Darren Kamfer); Eastern Province 1 (Cody van Wyk) Wits 2 (Nicolas Gonsalves ); Tuffy Western Province 2 (Austin Smith ) SA U21 3 (Ryan Crowe, Khumo Mokale, Kyle Lion-Cachet); Southern Gauteng 2 (Brad Venter, Gareth Heyns) Northerns Blues 1 (Matthew Guise-Brown).
Women’s A Section: North-West 4 (Sulette Damons, Lori Hyde , Sinalo Jafta) SA U21 1 (Nomnikelo Veto); Southern Gauteng 7 (Lisa-Mari Deetlefs , Robyn Johnson, Bernadette Coston , Taryn Mallett, Lisa Hawker) Free State 0; Tuffy Western Province 1 (Anche Nortje) Northerns Blues 1 (Jacinta Jubb); Spar KZN Raiders 3 (Chiree Coetzee, Sarah Bingham, Kara-Lee Stella) Wits 0.
Men’s B Section: Northerns B 2 (Michael Hesse, Michael Seal) Eastern Gauteng 2 (Grant Robins, Brandon Crockett); SA Country Districts 2 (Henry Cock, Keith Stainbank) Zimbabwe 3 (Phillip Machaya, Tendayi Maredza, Luckson Sikisa); KZN Inland 0 KZN Mynahs 5 (Dale van der Merwe , Richard Pentecost, Tanner Bottomley); WP Peninsula 4 (Warren McEwan , Luthando Jonas, Cameron Ryan) North-West 3 (Gertjie Lambrecht, Wayne Jeffery, Essex Mbekeni).
Women’s B Section: WP Peninsula 8 ( Nicole Bartsch , Georgia Moir, Simone Strydom, Rosanne Lombard, Georgia Grobler, Aimee Pote, Robyn Pinder) SA Country Districts 1 (Robyn Morgan); Southern Gauteng Nuggets 0 Northerns B 3 (Anneke Avent, Janie Porteous, Chanel Dippenaar); Mpumalanga 1 (Shannia-Lee Swart) Zimbabwe 4 (Michelle Williams , Iman Johnson, Nicola Watson); KZN Mynahs 5 (Carla van Niekerk , Pamela Daniel , Jamie Chisholm) KZN Inland 2 (Silindile Mbhele, Tiffany Jones).