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The Premier Hockey League (PHL) is an exciting new hockey format, created to transform the sport in South Africa – from an interest, participation & performance perspective.

The 2017 under 21 Men’s and Ladies Inter Provincial Tournaments are underway in Potchefstroom where the best young talent in South Africa are taking each other on in a challenge for domination. There is added excitement around the youngsters after the U21 Men’s performance at the Junior Hockey World Cup last year, finishing in 10th place.

Starting with the ladies tournament the Northern Blues, winners in 2015, have shown their determination to win again this year with a massive statement of intent in triumphing 3-1 over Western Province inspired by a brace from skipper Natalie Esteves. They followed this up with a convincing display against Mpumalanga to remain an undefeated team in Group A. Western Province Pens are also undefeated so far but missed out on a 100% record when they were held 0-0 by the host province North West.

In Group B its Southern Gauteng, under the guidance of 2004 Olympian Tsoanelo Pholo, who have started the early charge thanks to emerging victorious from a bruising encounter against KZN Coastals. Lezaan Janse popped up with a goal on the stroke of half time that would be the only goal of the game. They too had an easier second game against EP but today find themselves facing the also unbeaten Free State. The Free State ladies were disappointed to draw with the Invitational side in a match with lots of tactical defence and very few goal opportunities.

The Men’s tournament features some very exciting up and coming players of South African hockey. Goals are also more prominent with the trio of Eastern Province, Western Province and Northern Blues combining for 40 goals at an average of 5 goals a game. Border were the unfortunate team to be on the receiving end of a rampant display by Luke Schooling and Max Pike both netting hat-tricks.

Incredibly in five consecutive games in the tournament, not a game was decided by more than a goal before WP beat their “B” side Pens 3-1. This just highlights how closely matched so many of our teams are and to win this tournament and impress SA U21 coach Garreth Ewing will not be a foregone conclusion.

The game of the tournament for me so far was the EP game against the KZN Coastals as the back and forth game was eventually sealed by a dramatic 58th minute field goal from Arno van Jaarsveld to the delight of Gerrard Noah and his coaching staff.

 

Ladies U21 IPT

A

Western Province

12-1

Mpumalanga

B

Eastern Province

3-2

Invitational

B

Southern Gauteng

1-0

KZN Coastals

A

North West

0-0

WP Pens

B

Free State

5-0

Eastern Province

A

WP Pens

5-0

Mpumalanga

B

KZN Coastals

1-1

Invitational

A

Northern Blues

3-1

Western Province

B

Southern Gauteng

9-0

Eastern Province

A

Northern Blues

6-0

Mpumalanga

B

Free State

0-0

Invitational

A

North West

0-1

Western Province

 

Men’s U21 IPT

B

Southern Gauteng

2-1

Free State

A

WP Pens

3-1

KZN Coastals

A

Western Province

10-0

Border

B

Northern Blues

10-1

Mpumalanga

A

Eastern Province

9-3

Border

B

Northern Blues

2-2

Free State

A

Western Province

2-2

KZN Coastals

B

North West

3-2

Mpumalanga

A

KZN Coastals

2-3

Eastern Province

B

Southern Gauteng

0-1

Northern Blues

A

Western Province

3-1

WP Pens

B

Free State

4-1

North West

You can follow the tournament on the Tournament Management Events site here https://saha.altiusrt.com/