Inland get surprise thrashing by the Southerns

2009-08-20 00:00

THE hopes that KZN Inland had of reaching the semi-finals of the National Men’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament were left in tatters by a superb Southern Gauteng performance in the late game at the AB Jackson Greenfields Turf yesterday.

However, the final score of an astonishing 7-1 to Southerns doesn’t do Inland justice as they could so easily have gone one or two goals up in the first quarter hour.

Southerns were caught off guard by a superb Inland start and four penalty corners were earned inside 15 minutes, but the Johannesburgers kept their heads in defence at the set piece while Inland lost their way.

Gradually the tide began to turn and Southerns’ SA strike trio of Lloyd Norris-Jones, Thornton McDade and Miguel da Graca began to weave their magic up front. Served with quick, quality ball by their workman-like midfield and having the ability to elude their markers, the Southerns front men made life a misery for Inland goalkeeper Andrew Watson. Although kitted up, fellow goalkeeper Rohn Barron, who had such a good game against KZN Coastals the day before, stayed on the Inland bench.

Midway through the first half, the intelligent running of Da Graca saw him getting behind the Inland defenders to link up with outstanding captain Chris Bowen for Lance Louw to grab the opener.

Southerns’ ability to take their chances when the flow was theirs, was exemplified when Dylan Coombes combined with McDade for Norris-Jones to complete with a stunning finish three minutes from the half-time whistle.

“I was relieved as 2-0 was not a fair reflection of how well Inland had played,” was Southern Gauteng coach Garreth Ewing’s accurate summation of the first half’s fast-paced action.

Southerns, who last won the title nine years ago, began to reap the rewards for their defence’s composure under pressure and the tightened midfield — and this is when the strike force took over to shake the life out of Inland.

Rick West scored his first off Southerns’ opening PC just three minutes into the second half, while Karl Oftebro replied in similar fashion off Inland’s fifth. Down 3-1 with 19 minutes left, Inland were still in with a shout. But the Southerns target men created the penalty corners for West to eventually bag two goals; and at times the ball passed between three, four and even five players before the final shot at goal; with the last four in the final 15 minutes.

Southerns are already through to Friday’s semi-finals and meet an on-song KZN Coastals Thursday. Inland tackle an under-performing EP in the late game. If Coastals lose, the homeboys will know how big their winning margin has to be in order to reach the semi-finals.

Western Province and Northerns Blues are also through to the semis, and they play each other to determine who wins Pool A.

There was a minute’s silence before the Northerns/Pens match in the honour of former SA defender Brian Kelly, who died recently.

RESULTS

A Section Shield: Northerns Blues (0) 3 (Emile Smith, Mark Holliday, Grant Hosken) WP Peninsula (1) 1 (Vaughn Erasmus); Western Province (4) 5 (John McInroy 2, Ian Haley 2, Pierre de Voux) North West 0; KZN Coastal (3) 8 (Gareth Carr 2, Matt Botha 2, Mondli Dlamini, Wade Paton, Michael Botha, Tim Drummond) Eastern Province (0) 1 (Geoffrey Howarth); Southern Gauteng (2) 7 (Lance Louw, Thornton McDade 2, Ricky West 2, Lloyd Norris-Jones 2) KZN Inland (0) 1 (Karl Oftebro).

B Section: Free State (3) 7 (Luke Sannan 2, Enzo Iannone 3, Sinalo Sindinana, Papa Mokoena) Northern Cape (1) 2 (Keenan du Toit, Claudio Kistoo); EP Settlers (0) 1 (Krineshan Moodley) Mpumalanga (0) 1 (Leon du Toit); SA Country Districts (2) 5 (Brad Gilmour 3, Andrew Moolman, Brendan Visser) Witwatersrand (1) 3 (Dean Symons, Ryan Fensham, Ryan Roberts); Border (4) 4 (Reece Basson 3, Wade Young) KZN Inland B (0) 2 (Derrin Smith 2).

FIXTURES

(AB Jackson): 08:30 North West vs Peninsula; 10:10 Western Province vs Northerns Blues; 11:50 Southern Gauteng vs KZN Coastals; 13:30 KZN Inland B vs Free State; 15:10 KZN Inland A vs Eastern Province.

(Maritzburg College): 09:30 KZN Mynahs vs Border; 11:10 Namibia vs EP Settlers; 13:00 Mpumalanga vs Witwatersrand.

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