After three days of action the tournament has completed its first stage in Bloemfontein, the group stages. With the format being used all teams are still in it with the Quarter Final stage taking place on Thursday. Here is what went down in the men’s A Section group stage.
Northern Blues offered the most value for money for viewers across their three matches. After opening with a thrilling come from behind 3-2 victory against Western Province, they then defeated the defending champions KZN Raiders 2-1 to put their hand up for top spot. They ended up then being stunned 4-3 by Western Province Pens having led 2-1. The defeat proved to not be costly for the Pretoria boys as a draw between WP and Raiders meant that Northern’s sealed top spot in the pool.
With the door having opened for a march on top spot the Raiders and Province played out an exciting 2-2 draw. Taine Paton and Jonty Robinson each scored to level for the defending champions after goals from Keenan Horne and Connor Beauchamp. That result meant the Raiders finished second by virtue of a one goal superior difference over Western Province.
Southern Gauteng underlined why they are favourites for the tournament with a perfect three from three in the group stages. They beat EP 7-4 having led 6-0 at a stage, while they followed that up with a 4-2 win against their “B” side Wits. They completed a perfect group stage in a tough 1-0 win over the SA U21 side thanks to the solitary goal by Chad Futcher.
Second place in the group went to Eastern Province who bounced back from that defeat with two thrilling 3-2 wins. Against SA U21 they trailed 1-0 and 2-1 before Dayne Samboer netted a winner to the delight of the EP community. Having drawn the group game 1-1 with Wits, SA U21 secured third spot in the group and the “easier” quarter final.
QUARTER FINAL LINE UP
Southern Gauteng vs. WP Peninsula
Eastern Province vs. Western Province
SA U21 vs. KZN Raiders
SG Witsies vs. Northern Blues