The 2018 SA Hockey Under 21 IPT got underway in Pretoria yesterday as the defending champions, the Western Province men and the Southern Gauteng ladies, both got opening day victories, while the hosts the Northern Blues were held to a 1-1 draw in the Gauteng derby in the Mens section.
Many of the team feature players that competed in the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League and these players were looking to be the driving force behind their team’s quest for the 2018 Under 21 title. We start with the Men’s section where the hosts the Northern Blues, led by full national player Tyson Dlungwana, led through a Steven Paulo goal early before the ever-dependable Courtney Halle levelled late for Colin Fielding’s side. These two teams both look like title challengers for this week.
Connor Beauchamp, who had an outstanding senior IPT for Western Province, has been tasked with leading the defending champions who are missing certain players for exam reasons. They started well with a 3-0 win over their “B” side Pens thanks to Beauchamp, Bulelani Ngqukuvana and Tim Alfeld. The KZN Raiders also got a big win on day 1 beating Free State 4-0. The superb Lungani Gabela got a brace while fellow PHL player Keegan Hezlett also got on the scoreboard, with the scoring rounded off by Awande Sikhosana.
In one of the games of the day Chiraz Koetjie gave North West a lead over Eastern Province only for Laython Coombs to score a last quarter equaliser. Instead of holding on for a point North West went back up the other end and took all three when Loanko Pieterse scored a late goal to confirm the win. The Northern Daisies were stretched but ultimately the extra legs they had was the difference in a 2-1 win over Mpumalanga thanks to Guy Terry and James Godfrey. Mpumlangas late goal was nothing more than a consolation through Connor Flowers. Reuben van Tonder scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for the SG Witsies over Border in the other game.
Mens Under 21 IPT Results – Day 1
Western Province 3-0 WP Pens
Eastern Province 1-2 North West
Mpumalanga 1-2 Northern Daisies
Northern Blues 1-1 Southern Gauteng
Free State 0-4 KZN Raiders
Border 0-1 SG Witsies
The opening game of the women’s tournament produced an outstanding game in a battle of the “B” teams. Southern Gauteng Witsies were looking to establish themselves as the best second team in the land while Pens were looking to repeat their historic run to the final last year.
Gracious Mpe fired first for Witsies but their lead lasted only 30 seconds when Rozanne Compion levelled from a field goal. Compion was at it again 10 minutes later scoring her second and giving last year’s runners up a 2-1 lead. Witsies fought back and Tayla Johnson, who played for the Daisies at the 2018 CTM PHL, brought matters level. Kiara Fitzhenry, who is just 17 years old then popped up to win it for Witsies with the final goal.
Ayenga Baleni is a veteran for the PHL and that experience was telling in the Northern Blues comfortable 2-0 win over Eastern Province. Her goal along with one from Matika Ras in the first quarter were enough to give the hosts 3 points from the opening day. The defending champions, Southern Gauteng, hardly raised a sweat in a good 4-1 win over Mpumalanga. Alex Kavanagh, Gabriella Terblanche and a brace from Nomnikelo Veto set them up for a confidence boosting start to their title defence.
Nikki Shange was the star for the KZN Raiders as her first half hat-trick inspired a 4-2 victory over Free State. Free State fought back valiantly in the third quarter to pull the score back to 3-2 thanks to Casey-Jean Botha and Anke Badenhorst, but the Raiders made sure of the result with a late Courtney Slaney goal.
IN the final game of Day 1, Nicole Koenig gave Western Province a first quarter lead with a fine field goal, but the hosts surged back with one goal in each of the remaining quarters to win their opener 3-1. It was Almay van der Linde in the second, Thati Segaole, a champion of CTM PHL 2018 with the Bunters, in the third and Mmamaogi Kungoane in the fourth.
Ladies Under 21 IPT Results – Day 1
Free State 2-4 KZN Raiders
Southern Gauteng 4-1 Mpumalanga
Western Province Pens 2-3 Southern Gauteng Witsies
Eastern Province 0-2 Northern Daisies
Northern Blues 3-1 Western Province