An enthralling round of semi-final action saw the finalists decided in both the Men’s and Women’s Under 21 IPT’s in Pretoria. Starting with the ladies’ section the opening semi-final saw the KZN Raiders take on Western Province.
In an ill-disciplined match it was Western Province who took the lead through Lenta Cullinan striking in the third minute. Raiders continued to fight back but were unable to test Maboloke Serage with regular occurrence in the Province goal. Their discipline cost them in the final quarter as they looked to restore parity but received three yellow cards robbing them of 15 minutes’ worth of players. Rebecca Kaps then popped up with the goal that settled the match and put Province into the final.
The second semi-final between the hosts the Northern Blues and North West was an absolute classic. Jean-Leigh du Toit fired home a penalty corner to give the Pretoria side a lead just before half-time but Sulette Damons side fired back immediately with Anneke Beukman scoring to keep it level at 1-1 at the interval.
The third quarter belonged to the hosts though as the St. Lucia Lakers striker Megan Anderson regained the lead for the Blues who extended it with the final play of the quarter through Hanrie Louw. North West refused to be defeated and surged forward looking for a way back in and found it through the in-form Candice Silent pulling a goal back in the 48th minute. They continued to try and find a gap and with 100 seconds left on the clock Silent popped up again to silence the home faithful. The goal sent the game to the shootout. Silent of course scored in the first round for North West but that was the only goal until the final round of the shootouts as Melicia van Loggerenberg and Caitlin Grant denied all strikers.
In the final round the Blues pulled level when Megan Anderson beat Grant brilliantly, but all eyes were on Anneke Beukman who had the chance to put North West into the final. And. She. Did. It. The captain sent van Loggerenberg the wrong way and her own team into jubilation!
Ladies Under 21 IPT Results – Day 6 – Semi-Final Day
Mpumalanga 2-1 Eastern Province
Southern Gauteng 2-0 WP Pens
Free State 1-2 SG Witsies
Western Province 2-0 KZN Raiders
North West (2) *3-3 (1) Northern Blues
Ladies Under 21 IPT Final
North West vs. Western Province
In the Men’s semi-finals the two favourites secured their spot in what will be a mouth-watering final. Southern Gauteng were too good for the Northern Daisies winning 5-0. Brendon Spence was the star of the show scoring a hat-trick with a goal in the first, second and third quarters. Rayner York, who was so good for the Maropeng Cavemen at the CTM Premier Hockey League, continued his fine form with the fourth and another form player Delpiarro Langford made it 5. Coach Miguel da Graca was delighted at an opportunity to change his IPT and PHL silvers into a gold!
The defending champions Western Province were always going to be in a tough battle against the star studded Northern Blues. Steven Paulo and Brad Sherwood both scored in the opening quarter and then the defensive class of Sizwe Mtembu in goals ahead of a superb backline marshalled by Tyson Dlugnwana kept the Province strikers at bay and secured a final spot for Guy Elliots men.
Men’s Under 21 IPT Results – Day 6 – Semi-Final Day
Mpumalanga 0-2 Free State
Eastern Province 5-0 Border
WP Pens 4-2 SG Witsies
North West 4-1 KZN Raiders
Northern Daisies 0-5 Southern Gauteng
Western Province 0-2 Northern Blues
Men’s Under 21 IPT Final
Southern Gauteng vs. Northern Blues