Inland look set to keep SA National Men’s Indoor Hockey title

2010-12-02 00:00

THE Maritzburg Varsity first team won the three-day KZN Invitation Indoor Hockey Tournament by a country mile at the St John’s and GHS indoor sports centres in Pietermaritzburg at the weekend.

An innovative but complicated points system was used to determine the final placings, but irrespective of the departure from the norm, a conventional “three points for a win” system would have seen outstanding captain-coach Darryn Gallagher’s side win by an even greater margin.

And the opposition weren’t exactly pushovers. The second-placed Jeppe club from Johannesburg boasted players of the calibre of two-time Indoor World Cup player Stuart Gower-Jackson — formerly of PMB Collegians and KZN Inland.

The Kaspersky Southern Gauteng-University of Johannesburg combination had SA indoor players such as Shaun Davenhill in their line-up as well as the likes of probably South Africa’s most exciting young player, Clinton Panther, and seasoned provincial stars in Miguel da Graca and Dylan Coombes.

However, this PMB Varsity squad gave an early indication that the SA National Men’s Indoor Hockey title is almost certain to stay in the KZN Inland province’s hands come the interprovincial tournament at Durban Varsity in March.

The PMB lads boast a stellar squad that includes national indoor and/or outdoor players in Gallagher, Tommy Hammond and Geoff Abbott, as well as seasoned provincial players such as Ayden Shrives, plus a host of youngsters knocking loudly on the SA selection panel’s door. And in Gavin Jelley the students have a remarkable striker whose inimitable style and deadly finishing is the perfect foil to the silky skills of his team-mates.

The determined PMB Collegians men’s side under skipper Leo Quayle surprised many with their fighting spirit, while the 12-team women’s division was comfortably won by Riverside Hockey Club of Durban North, who outplayed the Western Cape’s fancied Somerset West team in the final.

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