On Pitch 2, Malik Old Albanians were shaded 2-1 by Kearsney HC, who got their goals via the trusty blade of Cameron Mackay (27th minute) and a Davyn Keuter penalty corner (46th) and the Pretoria team featured on the scoresheet with Malcolm Ratz’s 45th minute equaliser.
The late game saw goalmouth action at both ends, Wanderers Jockeys’ winner coming from Mike Heyink’s field goal in the 52nd minute. In just some of the action-packed plays, the Jockeys of Johannesburg’s Ricky West pulled off a magnificent save on the goalline while the Jockeys’ Beijing 2008 Olympian Tommy Hammond went agonisingly close with an effort that slid past the wrong side of the post.
In the early match on Pitch 1, determined underdogs Old Eds matched the star-studded Badgers throughout the match and were justifiably gutted at the final result. On the final whistle, Cape Town’s Badgers won a soft penalty corner (PC) and their international strike-force earned a disputed shot from the penalty spot in the aftermath, which was coolly put away by Rhett Halkett.
London 2012 Olympian Halkett bagged a brace in this pulsating encounter, his first coming three minutes from the end of the third quarter. The 42nd minute goal was the product of a sublime “German” variation set up by the outstanding Wade Paton from fellow Olympian Chuck Norris Jones’ pinpoint corner injection, and Halkett showed the presence of mind borne of vast experience to hold the ball before picking his spot.
The 13th minute opening goal of this action-packed affair was monogrammed by the composed Badgers defence and dominant midfield. It came via the Cape Town side’s second PC and arch poacher Ryan Crowe got the tip-in following a neat dummy by the castle at the top of the strike zone.
Outmatched as a group in terms of player reputation and experience, Eds put up a brilliant performance and their initial equaliser came in the minute immediately after the Crowe goal, hugely talented Nic Gonsalves serving the deliverance.
Eds conjured up a stunning second equaliser eight minutes from the end, the 52nd minute strike finished in style by Malcolm Arguile. But with every point and every goal counting for much in this round-robin battle royal, the classy clan of Badgers had the final, decisive, say.|
If Friday night presented an indication, Saturday should be a winner. Free entry at the magnificent Riverside Sports Club makes for a hockey extravaganza that’s worth the trip.
GREENFIELDS ELITE CLUB CHALLENGE RESULTS AND FIXTURES
Friday - Turf 1 – WPCC 3 Old Edwardians 2. Turf 2 Malik Old Albanians 1 Kearsney HC 2. Turf 1 – Riverside HC 0 Wanderers Jockeys 1.
Saturday - 09h30 (turf 1) – Riverside HC v Malik Old Albanians; 09h30 (turf 2) – Kearsney HC v Old Edwardians; 11h30 (turf 1) – Wanderers Jockeys v WPCC Badgers; 16h30 (turf 1) – Malik Old Albanians v Old Edwardians; 18h00 (turf 1) – Kearsney HC v Wanderers Jockeys; 20h00 (turf 1) – Riverside HC v WPCC Badgers.
Sunday - 09h00 (turf 2) – 5th / 6th place playoff; 09h30 (turf 1) – 3rd / 4th place playoff; 11h15 (turf 1) – FINAL.