KZN derby honours shared in thrilling 2-2 draw

2009-08-19 00:00

THERE was standing room only at the AB Jackson Greenfields Turf yesterday afternoon as the keenly anticipated KZN derby delivered all that it had promised.

Indeed, the National Men’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament came alive — as it should do with the first outing of the country’s top eight provincial hockey teams.

After 70 minutes of pulsating hockey, honours were shared in the derby as 1-1 at half-time became 2-2 at the final whistle.

Inland, endowed with one current SA international in Tommy Hammond and a recent national player in fellow Beijing Olympian and provincial captain Darryn Gallagher compared to Coastal’s half-dozen (and a few more on the cusp), came away happiest of the two Men’s Shield contenders.

Coastal’s coach, Brendon Carolan, not an easy mentor to please, was less than satisfied with his team’s performance and is already looking ahead to their remaining two matches in the “Pool of Death”.

“We need to tighten up for Eastern Province and Southern Gauteng [today and tomorrow at 11.50 am] as our structure was not as it should be and we gave away far too many turnovers,” he said.

Carolan agreed that SA central defenders Gareth Carr and Lloyd Madsen were Coastal’s best players, “but the side will know that they underperformed, and with the calibre of players we have, need to rectify matters quickly”.

In contrast, Inland coach Jock Coombes was more upbeat. “It was very quick, such a fast-paced game I got tired just watching,” he joked.

“Both sides gave away so many turnovers it meant that with counter-attacks so prevalent it becomes exhausting,” Coombes said.

“Before the match, if you had given us a draw we would probably have taken it, but at the same time there is disappointment among the guys knowing we were so close to actually winning the game.

“Leading 2-1 with eight minutes left, we let ourselves down, giving the best drag-flicker in the country three chances to get even.”

And it was Africa Cup of Nations player of the tournament Gareth Carr who did the damage. Two minutes after taking the lead, Inland turned ball over by trying to run out of trouble in their own half and three penalty corners ensued. In the 64th it was fluffed before Carr could flick; in the 66th minute Carr was over the crossbar; but with three minutes left, he stepped up one last time to flick imperiously past the in-form Rohn Barron in goal.

Carr had opened the scoring with a PC flick on the quarter hour before Karl Oftebro equalised in identical fashion a few minutes later.

Inland meet Southern Gauteng at 3.10 pm today in another clash that should prove to be just as enthralling, with EP their remaining Pool B fixture at the same time tomorrow.

RESULTS

A Section Shield: Southern Gauteng (1) 5 (Lloyd Norris-Jones, Miguel da Graca 2, Tebogo Lerole, Thornton McDade) EP (0) 1 (John Paul); Northerns Blues (3) 6 (Mark Holliday 3, Brendan van Zyl, Emile Smith, Keagan Robinson) North West (1) 1 (Sihle Grootboom); Western Province (2) 5 (Adam Wilson, John McInroy, Craig Haley 2, Eric Rose-Innes) Peninsula (1) 2 (Kevin Haigh, Cuan Burton-Moore); KZN Inland (1) 2 (Karl Oftebro, Devon van der Merwe) KZN Coastal (1) 2 (Gareth Carr 2).

B Section: SA Country Districts (1) 6 (Hedley Kok, Ross Mommsen 2, Patrick Owgan 2, Brad Gilmour) Namibia (0) 1 (Siyabonga Martins); Wits (4) 9 (Dean Symons 4, Ryan Fensham 2, Gareth Hughes, Reza Rosenberg, Ryan Roberts) EP Settlers (0) 2 (Nathan Sanan, William Ryan); KZN Mynahs (2) 3 (David Zwemke 2, Steve Wiggett) Free State (0) 2 (Renaldo Ogle, Enzo Iannone); Northern Cape (3) 4 (Mark Arthur, Justin du Plooy, Lyndon Fredericks, Lucian Benjamin) KZN Inland B (0) 2 (Murray Turner 2).

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

(Maritzburg College) 09:30 Northern Cape vs Free State; 11:10 EP Settlers vs Mpumalanga; 13:00 Witwatersrand vs SA Country Districts.

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