Whenever KZN Raiders and Tuffy Western Province clash it’s always going to be a hotly contested encounter and their meeting on day three of the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals was no different at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Wednesday.
After 60 minutes of high-quality hockey the sides could not be separated as they ended in a 1-1 stalemate, the result having something of an impact on the final standings with South Africa’s Under-21 side moving to the top of Pool A as a result after their win over Free State earlier in the afternoon.
It was Raiders who managed to open the scoring, doing so as early as the second minute, as Andrew Manson made the most of a defensive blunder by the Province defence to slot home to make it 1-0.
Province had a chance to draw level in the eighth minute but Austin Smith pushed his flick wide although the did manage to equalise three minutes from halftime as captain Daniel Bell found the back of the net with a powerful drag-flick.
The score would remain locked at 1-1, although not from a lack of effort from both sides, with both Gowan Jones - in goal for Raiders - and Province shotstopper Mark Turner proving immense in goal with a number of brilliant saves.
The outcome of this contest means that Province, who suffered a 3-2 loss to SA Under-21 on day two of the tournament, ended third in Pool A with Raiders dropping from first to second.
The South Africa Under-21 men’s side continued their brilliant form at the tournament with a comfortable 5-0 win over Free State to cement their place at the top of Pool A.
Nduduza Lembethe managed to score inside two minutes with a field goal but then the junior national side couldn’t find a way through right up until the halftime hooter. But the floodgates opened after the changeover and a second from Lembethe, Alex Stewart, Nqobile Ntuli and Khumo extended their lead to 4-0 in the space of eight minutes.
The rout was completed when Khumo Mokale scored in the 40th minute
There was disappointment for the Tuffy Western province women’s side as they fell to a 3-2 defeat against Spar Raiders and as a result, ended up like their male counterparts in finishing third in their pool.
Raiders dominated the early exchanges and netted twice through Donna Small before Province pulled one back after being awarded a penalty stroke with Heather McEwan stepping forward and slotting one low and left to peg back the deficit.
But a well-worked short-corner extended Raiders’ lead although a brilliant bit of hockey by Province saw Candice Manuel slap in on the back post two minutes from time and although they rallied late, the Cape side were unable to draw level.