Free State give Southern Gauteng a fright

2010-04-29 00:00

THERE was some exciting hockey on day three of the SA U21 Women’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament yesterday, although poor execution and defence at penalty corners continued to plague virtually all the 12 teams.

At the AB Jackson Greenfields Turf, coach Elsie Coetzer’s impressive Free State squad under in-form captain Cherie Smith gave SA hockey heavyweights Southern Gauteng a true test in arguably the match of IPT so far. But a Southerns side with good structure under coach Ricky West and players of quality and experience at higher level in Bernadette Coston, captain Louise Coertzen and Camille Jasson kept their heads to eventually come out 2-1 winners.

SA U18 were given a torrid time by underdogs Eastern Province but prevailed 2-1 in a tempestuous match in which tempers boiled over on and off the bench.

KZN Inland battled to contain player of the match Tarryn Moses and lost 4-2 to Northerns — Julia Hudson and Andrea Houston’s late goals making the score line more respectable.

On Maritzburg College’s Pape’s Astro, North West beat Witwatersrand 6-0 on the back of a brilliant hat-trick from former GHS schoolgirl Celia Evans and a brace via the prolific Sulette Damons’s stick.

In Pool A, unbeaten Western Pro­vince’s 6-0 win over their second string, Peninsula, puts them in pole position to reach Saturday’s final. Free State, KZN Coastal and Southern Gauteng are still in the mix. Today and tomorrow’s results for these three are vital. In Pool B, North West and SA U18 are both unbeaten, with three wins from three. Their clash at 1 pm tomorrow could decide the winner.

At the men’s U21 IPT in Potchefstroom, SA U18 manager Brandon Swart said the juniors won their third match on the trot. “It was a tight game against Pens; we came back from a goal down to win 2-1 with Maritzburg College captain Andrew Manson getting the winner — a great chip over the keeper.”

Swart said SA U18 lie joint top of Pool A with a full-house nine points but Free State lead with a better goal difference of three. SA U18 meet Free State in a crucial clash today. In Pool B, WP and Southerns also have three wins from three outings, but the Capetonians have a goal difference that’s 10 better. Their match tomorrow could be key to who reaches Saturday’s final.

Concerns at both IPTs are primarily threefold. Firstly, the folly of no cross-pool play-offs: The lack of semi-finals in particular means the lopsided nature of Pool A gives the team finishing second no chance of qualifying for the final, while they might well have the capability of beating the Pool B winners.

Secondly, last year SA U19 played: This year it’s SA U18, another identity and side altogether. Therefore, the previous year’s final placings, which determine this year’s pool allocation, mean nothing in this case. The juniors should fill in wherever they might make a pool more even.

Thirdly, these IPTs are far too early in the season. Some provincial premier league club seasons have hardly got under way, so players are short of match practice and fitness. A later slot could have been found to accommodate more team and player preparation, while catering for player study commitments and the other factors, such as the football World Cup, that come into the mix.

Meanwhile, Allan Jamieson, the former president of southern Transvaal men’s hockey association and first executive director of the SA men’s hockey association, died recently at the age of 69 after a short illness.

RESULTS

Women: Northerns 4 KZN Inland 2; Southern Gauteng 2 Free State 1; SA U18 2 EP 1; North West 6 Wits 0; KZN Coastal 3 Namibia 0; WP 4 WP Peninsula 1.

Men: Southerns 6 Border 1; Free State 6 KZN Inland 2; SA U18 2 Pens 1; EP 1 Wits 1; WP 4 KZN Coastal 2; Northerns 5 North West 0.

FIXTURES

Women (ABJ unless stated): 9 am North West vs EP (MC); 9 am Southerns vs Pens; 11 am SA U18 vs KZN Inland (MC); 11 am KZN Coastal vs Free State; 1 pm WP vs Namibia; 3 pm Northerns vs Wits.

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