Fantastic contest between top hockey teams ends in draw

2014-06-24 00:00

THE top-ranked first teams in the country, according to www.saschoolsports.co.za, which is the only hockey ranking system in SA, are Westville and Maritzburg College — and what a fantastic contest they dished up in front of a sizeable crowd on Saturday. The final score was 1-1, but it could have been 5-5 or more had it not been for narrow misses and great goalkeeping.

Westville’s goal came in the 20th minute from a well-structured penalty corner finished off by Brandon Watkins. College increased their intensity, but went into the break a goal down.

“It was a very exciting second half with College creating much of the pressure and chances, but Westville soaked it up well,” said College coach Devon van der Merwe.

“The second half started at a blistering pace,” said Westville head coach Sharmin Naidoo.

College drew level 10 minutes into the half, with Westville goalkeeper Tristan Smith making a very good initial save, but College captain Tim Halle was on hand to drive the ball into the backboard.

“There was end-to-end attacking from both teams,” said Van der Merwe.

A number of attacking penalty corners yielded no return, while College centre striker Tevin Kok almost broke Westville hearts when he turned the ball over in Westville’s half, and through sheer pace and close control ran all the way to the Westville circle and had one last shot, which beat the ’keeper, but shaved the wrong side of the post.

“We held on to our number one ranking against a school that has up to now produced more national hockey players than any other hockey school in the country,” said Naidoo. “With this in mind and having the number one ranking to motivate our boys, they knew they were in for the fight of their lives.”

If this season is anything to go by, it is clear that Westville hockey is on the rise and gathering pace, which is great news for the sport.

Glenwood convincingly beat Kearsney College 4-1. “The opening 15 minutes saw us dominate play completely and race to a three-goal advantage,” said Glenwood director of sport Marc Labuschagne.

Keegan Hezlett set up the first goal for Nhlanhla Nyawo, before Kuhle Cele doubled the tally with a brilliant solo effort. Winning the ball in his own 23 m area, he ran the entire length of the pitch to clinically beat the Kearsney keeper.

Michael Labuschagne made sure of the two-goal lead with a number of excellent saves; the best being a stick save off the line from a penalty corner. A great one-two move involving Nyawo and James Dellis extended the boys in green’s lead to 3-0 at the break. The second half was tighter and Kearsney drew first blood from a well-executed PC before Glenwood netted their fourth through Cele shortly before the final whistle.

St Charles hosted Michaelhouse on their Old Boys’ Day for the return fixture of 2014. The previous encounter resulted in a 2-2 draw, so both teams fancied their chances.

Michaelhouse midfielder Jason Marshall smashed the ball into the back of the goals 10 minutes into the match when he latched on to a loose ball following a botched PC. End-to-end action provided opportunities for both sides and Michaelhouse striker Gareth Macaskill hit the crossbar while goalkeeper Justin Miller thwarted a one-on-one attacking opportunity for St Charles.

The teams went into half-time at 1-0 to the visitors and this is how it remained at full-time. St Charles probably had the better of the second half and will rue the fact they failed to convert any of their five penalty corners. The last was awarded on full-time and a good drag-flick from Marc Knoble was saved on the Michaelhouse goal line.

Other results:

Clifton 1 Hilton 7; Northwood 1 St Charles 1.

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