Bumper hockey Test in New Year

2007-11-24 00:00

THE hockey public in KZN can look forward to a bumper programme of six Test matches on six consecutive days in the New Year.

The South African men’s side will be playing against Great Britain (selected on the same basis as the British and Irish Lions rugby team) and Pan American champions Canada at Durban’s Queensmead Hockey Stadium from January 11 to 16.

To kick off the series of Tests, the SA team will meet Canada — shock winners of the Pan Am Games over hot favourites Argentina — on Friday, January 11 at 6 pm, followed by Great Britain at 4 pm on the Saturday.

The two overseas teams have chosen Durban as a great way to get acclimatised and aware of the conditions they can expect to face during next year’s Beijing Olympic Games in China, which takes place in August.

For their part, the SA selectors, including coach Gregg Clark, will be keen to get a good look at the players they have in mind for the Five Nations tournament in Potchefstroom at the end of January. To this end, there will also be a simultaneous training camp in Durban for players not in the match squad to face Great Britain and Canada, but very much in the mix for the Five Nations and possible Beijing selection.

The Five Nations tournament in Potchefstroom from January 20 to 27 is a lip-smacking prospect with the home country tackling the top four sides in the world — Germany, Australia, Spain and Holland.

With all five teams going to the Olympics in Beijing, the fight for a place in the gold medal match at the University of Potchefstroom’s hockey stadium on January 27 is likely to be fierce.

Meanwhile, the Spar SA women’s squad are currently on a two-week training camp in Holland, where coach Jenny King and the team are benefiting from the expertise of some of the world’s top coaches.

They were met in Holland by 2007 SA Women’s Player of the Year, Tarryn Bright, who received the country’s top accolade alongside SA Men’s Player of the Year, Tommy Hammond, the outstanding SA midfielder from Maritzburg Varsity and KZN Midlands. Bright, the Maties and Western Province star, has been refining her considerable skills in the Dutch club league, the toughest in the world.

DURBAN FIXTURES

Fri, Jan 11: SA vs Canada (6 pm).

Sat, Jan 12: SA vs Great Britain (4 pm).

Sun, Jan 13: GB vs Canada (4 pm).

Mon, Jan 14: SA vs Canada (6 pm).

Tues, Jan 15: SA vs Great Britain (6 pm).

Wed, Jan 16: Britain vs Canada (6 pm).

SA TEAM

Chris Hibbert, Darryn Kimfley (EP), Ben Mbana, Kyle Rhodes, Ian Symons (Northerns), Eric Rose-Innes, Bruce Jacobs, Marvin Bam, Ian Haley (WP), Ken Forbes, Lloyd Madsen, Shanyl Balwanth, Wade Paton, Marvin Harper (KZN Coastal), Justin Reid Ross (North West), Darryn Gallagher (KZN Midlands), Reece Basson (Border), Migual da Graca (Southern Gauteng).

Training camp additions: Rassie Pieterse, Thornton McDade (Southerns), Paul Blake, Andrew Cronje, Austin Smith (WP), Gareth Carr, Clyde Abrahams (EP), Tommy Hammond, Geoff Abbott (KZN Midlands), Emile Smith, Lungile Tsolekile (Northerns).

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