A bumper weekend of quality hockey

2013-07-12 00:00

THE inaugural Riverside Elite Club Challenge will take place tonight and tomorrow evening, as well as on Sunday morning at Riverside Sports Club in Durban North, in what will be a feast of top men’s club hockey.

KZN Coastal club champions Riverside will take on the Southern Gauteng champs Wanderers Chariots, as well as Northerns title holders UP-Tuks and Western Province champions WPCC Badgers at the weekend.

Among their stars, Riverside have recently-returned World League midfielders Wade and Taine Paton, as well as goalkeeper Gowan Jones, all members of the South Africa men’s hockey team just back from Johor Bahru in Malaysia. Big-name players in the Wanderers Chariots side are SA team-mates Miguel da Graca and former Maritzburg Varsity star and current SA centre back Jethro Eustice, as well as national central defender Ricky West.

Among a galaxy of stars, the WPCC Badgers boast the likes of double Olympian (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) attacking wing back Andrew Cronje, as well as Athens 2004 Olympian Steve Evans in their line-up.

The Riverside first team have not lost a match since early 2012 and club chairperson Wayne Phillips foresees a bumper weekend of quality hockey.

“It is significant that the three major South African hockey provinces can boast non-tertiary clubs as their champions,” said Phillips. “The vision of the event is to develop a parallel non-tertiary-based club structure to the current Varsity Cup and University Sport South Africa hockey events, which are on offer to the tertiary clubs.

“And because we want to sell this vision, perhaps in time culminating in an ultimate play-off between the non-tertiary SA club champions and the SA University champions to decide an overall winner — we have invited UP-Tuks to this event this year. The option also exists to expand the concept to include women’s clubs.”

Phillips said the event is the initiative of Riverside Sports Club under the guidance of general manager Roger Gardner. The International Hockey Federation’s (FIH) Sue Simmonds is the tournament director.


Friday: Riverside vs UP-Tuks (6.30 pm); WPCC vs Wanderers (8 pm). Saturday: Tuks vs Wanderers (6 pm); Riverside vs WPCC (7.30 pm). Sunday: WPCC vs Tuks (9 am); Riverside vs Wanderers (11 am).

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