JONATHAN COOK

A bumper December lies in wait for South Africa’s sports lovers as no less than 17 indoor hockey Test and international matches will be played in Durban and Pietermaritzburg.



The matches coincide with the ninth edition of the hugely popular Nolands Pro Series indoor (PSi) Nationals, which features age-group teams from franchises across the country and Namibia battling it out for title honours.

The flagship SA men’s and women’s national indoor hockey teams will be in action.

First up, the SA women’s team will take on Namibia in a five-Test series during which the first three Test matches will take place on December 10, and 11 (double header)in Pietermaritzburg, to coincide with the PSi Nationals U14 competition in the KZN capital.

The fourth and fifth Tests (another double header) are at Danville Park Girls School (in the morning) and the UKZN Westville campus (in the evening).

Thereafter, the girls in green and gold cross swords with Australia, the USA and Namibia in the SPAR Four Nations, all eight Test matches at the UKZN Westville campus in Durban.

These matches coincide with the PSi U16 and U18 Nationals in Durban, as does the four-match Denbeys Indoor Series between South Africa and the star-studded PSi International All Stars. The men’s series will include three matches at UKZN Westville campus and one in Pietermaritzburg.

The U11 and U12 PSi Nationals took place in early July and if the standard of play was anything to go by, the crowds are guaranteed great entertainment next month in KwaZulu-Natal when the U13, U14, U16 and U18 boys and girls teams take on the best that their peers across the country have to offer.

Aside from the senior players, those set to benefit the most from watching the men’s and women’s internationals in action will be the boys and girls taking part in PSI Nationals.

Pro Series indoor brand manager Bruce Jacobs said Wednesday that the senior series will bring the sport of indoor hockey into the spotlight in South Africa.

“PSi feels that this senior series will really leverage not only the SA players’ profile but the indoor hockey sports code in our country.

“We want to show our PSi kids that there are role models in indoor hockey to look up to,” said Jacobs, who captained South Africa’s men’s outdoor team at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

“PSi anticipates that watching these fine players will give them something to aspire to, such as representing their country at the likes of an Indoor Hockey World Cup.”

There is no entry fee for the SA/Namibia women’s series. The ticket price for the Spar Four Nations women’s tournament is R20 for the general public, as is the men’s series between SA and the International All Stars.

FIXTURES

Women

South Africa vs Namibia five-Test series
1st Test: Thurs, 10 Dec (6pm, St Anne’s DSG)
2nd Test: Fri, 11 Dec (10am, St Anne’s)
3rd Test: Fri, 11 Dec (7pm, St Anne’s)
4th Test: Sat, 12 Dec (10am, Danville Park Girls School)
5th Test: Sat, 12 Dec (8.15pm, UKZN Westville campus)

SPAR Four Nations
(SA, Australia, USA, Namibia; all at UKZN Westville)
Tues, 15 Dec: Australia vs Namibia (7pm); SA vs USA (8.25pm)
Wed, 16 Dec: USA vs Namibia (7pm); SA vs Australia (8.15pm)
Thurs, 17 Dec: Australia vs USA (7pm); SA vs Namibia (8.15pm)
Fri, 18 Dec - 3rd/4th Playoff (8.15am); Final (9.30am)
* Food and beverages, prize giveaways, Fan Zone.

Men

Denbeys Indoor Series
(SA men vs Denbeys International All Stars)
Thurs, 10 Dec (7pm, UKZN Westville)
Fri, 11 Dec (7pm UKZN Westville
Sat, 12 Dec (7pm, St Anne’s DSG)
Sun, 13 Dec (7pm, UKZN Westville)