In today’s headline game the defending champions Kwazulu Natal Raiders took on the 2016 champions Southern Gauteng in a battle for supremacy in Group A. Southerns were playing on the back of their victory against Tuffy Western Province and knew that a draw would likely be enough to secure their spot in the final four, while the Raiders were keen to get the win to relieve the pressure on a final day meeting with Tuffy Western Province.
The match was always expected to be a tight affair featuring two of South Africa’s best goalkeepers in Gowan Jones and Rassie Pieterse, while the defences boasted a collection of International players. The game played out in the expected way with the cagey affair not producing any goals in the first half. Eventually though it was Southerns who broke the deadlock as Nic Spooner when he punished the Raiders with a penalty stroke. Southerns would further enforce the advantage when Julian Hykes, who has more than 100 caps for South Africa, made it 2-0 on the whistle of the third quarter.
Try as they might the Raiders could not break through the defensive wall in the fourth quarter until the 58th minute when another international veteran Jonty Robinson pounced to set up a nervy end. The result remained, and it sets up a “Quarter-Final tomorrow when Tuffy Western Province play the KZN Raiders for a place in final four of the A Section.
Northern Blues secured their place in the final four with a workman-like 4-1 victory over Free State with Tevin Kok scoring the pick of the bunch, while Witsies had a tough encounter with Eastern Province that they emerged victorious from securing a 2-1 win and a place in the final four when Kingsley Botes scored the decider in the 58th minute.
In the B Section the SA Country Districts cemented their place as favourites when they convincingly beat Northern Cape B 8-4. It was an impressive attacking display as SACD netted at least one goal in each quarter to set themselves clear at the top. It was also an impressive day for KZN Inland who defeated Northern Cape A convincingly to reignite their campaign in the B Section.
Day 4 Results – A Section
SA Invitaitonal U21 3-2 North West
SG Witsies 2-1 Eastern Province
Tuffy Western Province 11-2 SG Nuggets
Northerns Blues 4-1 Free State
WP Peninsula 3-1 KZN Mynahs
KZN Raiders 1-2 Southern Gauteng
Day 4 Results – B Section
KZN Inland 7-1 Northern Cape A
Northern Blues 3-0 Mpumalanga
SA Country Districts 8-4 Northern Cape B