Feast of indoor hockey comes to town

2010-03-04 00:00

THE South African inter-provincial indoor hockey tournament (IPT) kicks off tomorrow at the YMCA and Girls’ High School indoor sports centres in Pietermaritzburg, and the three days of non-stop action promise to provide much in the way of thrills and spills for players and spectator alike.

The 18 teams — featuring squads from strong hockey provinces Southern Gauteng, Western Province, North West, KZN Coastal and KZN Inland — include lesser lights Eastern Gauteng plus a foreign interest in the form of guest teams the Namibia men’s and women’s line-ups as well as Matabeleland from Zimbabwe.

The KZN Inland men’s indoor teams have arguably been the best in the country in recent years, but this hasn’t been validated by virtue of their winning an official IPT. Rather, Inland have won inter-provincial invitation tournaments, which obviously don’t carry the same weight.

This time round it’s the real deal, with invitions having been extended to all provincial unions as well as the two neighbouring countries, and carrying with them the official stamp of approval of the South African Hockey Association — the national governing body of both the indoor and outdoor formats of the game.

Inland men’s first team coach Sean Jackson has a formidable line-up, with Stuart Gower-Jackson plus the highly experienced Ayden Shrives, 2008 Beijing Olympian Darryn Gallagher, Simon Johnson, Craig Haley and goalkeeper Sean Gray — all members of the outstanding Inland side that beat Western Province in a thrilling final at the last official IPT in KZN a few years ago.

The Inland women’s team were runners-up to KZN Coastal at the last official IPT in Durban, but they will have their work cut out repeating the feat against tough competition.

At first glance, it appears that the Durban girls plus Southern Gauteng and North West are the teams to beat this year.

The action starts at 11 am tomorrow, with the final whistle sounding at about 9 pm.

 

POOLS

Men - Pool A: KZN Inland I; KZN Inland II; Eastern Gauteng; Southern Gauteng; Matabeleland.

Pool B: KZN Coastal Raiders; North West; Western Province; KZN Coastal Mynahs; Namibia.

Women – Pool A: North West; KZN Inland I; Eastern Gauteng; KZN Coastal Mynahs

Pool B: KZN Coastal Raiders; Southern Gauteng; KZN Inland II; Namibia.

THURSDAY FIXTURES

YMCA: 11:00-MA-KZN Inland I vs KZN Inland II; 12:00-LA-North West vs KZN Coastals Mynahs; 13:00-MB-North West vs KZN Coastals Raiders; 14:00-LB-KZN Coastals Raiders vs Namibia; 15:00-MA-KZN Inland I vs Matabeleland; 16:00-MB-KZN Coastals Raiders vs Namibia; 17:00-LA-Eastern Gauteng vs KZN Inland A; 18:00-MB-North West vs Western Province; 19:00-MA-Southern Gauteng vs Matabeleland; 20:00-MB-KZN Coastals Mynahs vs Namibia.

GHS: 13:00-MA-Eastern Gauteng vs Southern Gauteng; 14:00-MB-Western Province vs KZN Coastals Mynahs; 15:00-LB-Southern Gauteng vs KZN Inland B; 16:00-MA-KZN Inland II vs Eastern Gauteng.

 

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