Just like that the National under 21 IPT’s are nearing their conclusion with just one day left of action. Saturday will mark all the positional playoffs before all eyes turn to the finals of both the Men’s and Ladies tournaments.
The tournament structure is two groups of five teams, with teams playing a single round cross pool to determine positions. Ultimately every group game would count as only the top two would progress to the final.
Starting with the Men’s tournament the final will be contested between two of SA Hockey’s heavy weights in Western Province and Northern Blues. Western Province’s march to the final started fairly imperiously with a massive victory over Border before they were almost stunned by KZN Coastals, twice coming from behind to save a draw.
The goal scoring dried up slightly for WP but another titanic defensive display secured a 1-0 victory over EP and a 3-1 win over their "B" team secured their spot in the final by topping Group A. Group B was topped by Northern Blues in a very similar fashion winning 3 and drawing one. Their defining game was the match against Southern Gauteng when Michael Hesse popped up with a last minute winner to seal top spot after the surprise 2-2 draw with Free State put the Blues in a precocious position.
The final takes place this evening at 19:00 and can be followed here https://saha.altiusrt.com/
In the ladies tournament, Group B was cut and dried as South Gauteng were in dominant moods and smashed in 17 goals conceding only 1. The goals evenly spread amongst the team as their top scorers are Cheneal Raubenheimer and Nomnikelo Veto with three goals apiece.
Pool A offered up a more tantalising race to the final as North West, Northern Blues and both Western Province sides were in with a chance. The place in the final was ultimately decided in one game on Friday morning. The Northern Blues scored twice to lead WP Pens 2-0 through Natalie Esteves and Megan Anderson. But as they have done all tournament, Pens fought back and pulled one back through Miche Bennett before Rozanne Compion pulled the game level and put WP Pens into the final!
Incredibly the WP “A” side is playing for 7/8 while the “B” team will be playing for the title at 17:15 this afternoon. You can follow it here https://saha.altiusrt.com/