Inland within grasp of crown

2010-08-23 00:00

THERE has never been a better time for KZN Inland to win the SA Men’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament than this week in Port Elizabeth.

Inland, a relatively new hockey province that broke away from the then Natal set-up that what is now KZN Coastals, have long been yearning to crown that brave decision by winning the most prestigious tournament in the country.

With a core of players who were then an inexperienced bunch of youngsters mixed with a smattering of more seasoned campaigners, Inland came within a hairline of annexing the trophy from the all-powerful Western Province line-up three years ago in East London.

But that bitter-sweet experience of getting so near yet so far all adds up to what is now a hardened side that is made up of the entire Maritzburg Varsity team that has just won the KZN Men’s Super League crown and is arguably the strongest set-up in the country at club level. Inland get the opportunity today to soak up the atmosphere at the interprovincial’s major venue, the KC March turf in Gelvandale, which was a PE township during the apartheid years.

Tomorrow sees the most vivid baptisms of fire as they tackle reigning champions KZN Coastals in their first match in Pool B.

On Wednesday, coach Charlie Pereira’s side tackle Border, while on Thursday they have their last Pool A match against Northerns before the playoffs begin.

The B Section sees KZN Inland’s second side playing most of their matches at Grey High School, but they have a bye today before facing Wits tomorrow.

Inland then meets SA Country Districts, EP Settlers and Southern Cape in a format that doesn’t include cross-pool playoffs before Saturday’s classification contests.

The Raiders B team, Mynahs, are in Pool A along with North West, Free State, Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.

 

FIXTURES

Mpumalanga vs KZN Mynahs,

Southern Cape vs Wits,

North West vs Free State,

EP Settlers vs SACD.

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