College hockey boys in tight, exciting encounter

2014-05-27 00:00

THERE was good news for Westville Boys’ High and Glenwood over the weekend and hard lines for Maritzburg College in some of the highlights of schools’ hockey action.

“Westville reached the top of the SA Schools’ rankings this week,” director of sport and first team coach Sharmin Naidoo told The Witness yesterday. “The team have done exceptionally well this year, only losing one game and since then winning 12 on the trot.”

And at the Three Schools’ Astro in Durban South it was Glenwood who prevailed 3-2 in a hotly contested, fast-paced physical encounter against Maritzburg College.

“This match was very exciting, as there was not much between the two teams, College not capitalising on their opportunities,” said director of hockey and first team coach Devon van der Merwe.

“We continued our run of good form; both teams have enjoyed recent successes and the game was expected to be a tight encounter,” said Glenwood director of sport Marc Labuschagne.

“A highlight was the style of hockey both teams played. Passion was never going to be short from either side but the added passing game and skill element elevated the contest to a far more competitive level,” he said.

College almost drew first blood when they caught the Glenwood defence sleeping to cross the ball into the strike zone but keeper Michael Labuschagne bravely came off his line and smothered the goalshot.

“Glenwood drew first blood after being awarded a controversial penalty corner from an overhead pass that was thrown from deep,” said Van der Merwe. Glenwood’s trump card Andile Phehlukwayo made no mistake with a drag-flick and the Durban lads went into the break 1-0 up.

Labuschagne said the boys in green continued to make incursions into the strike zone. After a ball down the left, the greens were rewarded when the nut struck a College foot on the goalline and Keegan Hezlett stepped forward to convert from the penalty spot to extend Glenwood’s lead 10 minutes into the half. Two minutes later College had a counter-attack down the right, resulting in a penalty corner converted by Amkelwa Letuka for 2-1.

Neither team gave an inch and the intensity continued to lift, play swaying back and forth until with 13 minutes left on the clock — and against the run of play — another aerial thrown by Glenwood saw who else but Phehlukwayo make a telling break before crossing to the far post for team-mate Okhule Cele to deflect home (3-1).

With five minutes left, College pulled back a second goal via Tyson Dlungwana off a penalty corner. “The drama continued when College attacked with 15 seconds left and forced a penalty, which was overturned by the opposite umpire,” said Van der Merwe, the score in a pulsating match finishing 3-2 in Glenwood’s favour.

Westville’s match at Northwood saw no goals in the first half.

“Northwood, coached by former national player and SA U21 Junior World Cup head coach Darryn Gallagher, were very organised and defended with a half-court press with the intention to catch Westville on the counter,” said Naidoo.

“Westville kept their shape and structure in the second half; the waves of pressure put on the defence eventually resulted in a miss-trap by a Northwood defender that lifted [into the strike zone] and Kyle White was first to latch on to the ball, smashing into the goals with five minutes left in the game.”

With two minutes to go, White picked up another ball at the top of the strike zone, beat his defender and hit a reverse-stick shot into the top-left corner, leaving the Northwood keeper with no chance, taking the final score to 2-0.

Against visiting Johannesburgers King Edward VII School (KES) on Saturday, Westville dominated possession and territory. The back four were again very composed and created many opportunities for the midfielders and forwards to exploit. The first goal came from a back post tap-in from starting forward Alastair Tyrell, who then scored his second with a great strike from the top of the strike zone into the bottom-right corner.

Westville added two more goals to go into half time with a 4-0 lead and the rout continued after the change­over, the home side’s goals in the match going to Brandon Watkins, Gareth Simmonds, James Cumming (3), Alex Whitelaw and Tyrell (2).

KES scored a very good consolation goal on the counter-attack for the final score to read 8-1 to Westville.


Boys: Northwood 7 DHS 2; Crawford La Lucia 0 Northwood 4; Kloof 1 Port Shepstone 0

Girls: Danville 2 Fatima 0; St Henry’s 5 Grosvenor 0; St Mary’s 5 Kloof 0; St Mary’s 8 Durban Girls’ High 0.

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