The sizeable, enthusiastic crowds of supporters at the venues had plenty to cheer about, as some of the hockey was outstanding. This was not across the board, as these players’ hockey careers are still in their infancy.
For many, the learning curve at a national tournament of this nature is steep, yet it was evident by the afternoon matches that a number of teams and players were fast adjusting to the higher level of play.
Reigning boys champions Western Province had a very good day. Coach Grant Peacock and manager Gloria Baartman have an exceptional group to work with. The teamwork as well as individual eliminations skills and finishing was out of the top drawer on the immaculate AB Jackson Greenfields Turf.
WP beat the competitive Eastern Province boys 3-1 in the morning before outplaying a competent North West 9-1 after lunch. The combination play was outstanding on a number of occasions.
Striker Caleb Oliphant got a brace of field goals in the first match and a hat-trick in the second. Mustapha Cassiem scored one - and then a hat-trick - for four strikes on the day, while the diminutive yet ever-present Viwe Mbata weighed in with two.
Undoubtedly the team to watch, the WP boys’ matches on Tuesday against Northerns at 10am and then host province KZN Inland at 3.30pm are sure to draw the neutral fans among the scores who have travelled from far and wide to enjoy this smorgasbord of primary schools hockey.
The only other unbeaten boys’ team after day one’s A Section action are KZN Coastal, who beat Southern Gauteng 2-0 before drawing 1-1 with Northerns.
Defending girls champions WP played to a 1-1 draw with KZN Coastal before beating Northerns 4-2. Eastern Province won both their matches – 2-1 and 1-0 - against Southern Free State and Amathole respectively, while KZN Coastal drew both their matches.
U13 IPT A SECTION RESULTS (Monday)
Boys – at AB Jackson: Western Province 3 Eastern Province 1; KZN Coastal 2 Southern Gauteng 0; Northerns 0 North West 0; Amathole (Border) 4 KZN Inland 0; KZN Coastal 1 Northerns 1; WP 9 NW 1; Southern Gauteng 3 KZN Inland 1; EP 3 Amathole 0.
Girls - at Maritzburg College: KZN Inland 0 Northerns 3; SG 2 Amathole 1; KZN Coastal 1 WP 1; Southern Free State 1 EP 2; SG 0 KZN Inland 3; WP 4 Northerns 2; Amathole 0 EP 1; SFS 1 KZN Coastal 0.
U13 IPT A SECTION FIXTURES (Tuesday)
Boys – at Maritzburg College: KZN Inland vs EP (8am); NW vs SG (9am); Northerns vs WP (10am); Amathole (Border) vs KZN Coastal (11am); SG vs Northerns (12.30pm); NW vs Amathole (1.30pm); EP vs KZN Coastal (2.30pm); KZN Inland vs WP (3.30pm).
Girls - at AB Jackson: EP vs KZN Coastal (8am); Northerns vs Amathole (9am); KZN Inland vs WP (10am); Southern Free State vs Southern Gauteng (11am); Amathole vs KZN Inland (12.30pm); Northerns vs SFS (1.30pm); KZN Coastal vs SG (2.30pm); EP vs WP (3.30pm).