Midfield does the Midlands trick

2008-05-20 00:00

KZN Midlands did their chances of playing for at least the middle four places a power of good when they downed Witwatersrand 4-2 in a tense dawn-patrol affair on day three of the Spar Women’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament at Queensmead in Durban yesterday.

Whoever lost was likely to face a bottom-four destiny come Friday and Saturday, so victory was vital and the intensity of the clash bore testimony.

Wits went 1-0 up and it took a beautifully executed reverse-stick shot by Midlands captain Lyndall Robertson to gain parity. It was a ding-dong struggle thereafter.

Winning coach Gareth Carr summed it up perfectly when he said it was the pace and skill of his right and left midfielders, Lauren Flint and EP import Tammy Boggenpoel, that created the quality circle entries, while the middle of the park was sewn up by old soldiers Robertson and Marie-Laure Rigg.

It is often unfair to single out individuals in team sports, though, and in this case it is true as the Midlands collective was so much greater than the sum of its parts.

They say you must always save the best till last, and that was true in the case of the South Africa U21 versus KZN Raiders clash that ended 0-0.

This match had everything. The goalmouths were places of frenetic activity as play swept to and fro, strikers’ sticks thrashing and defenders tackling in a flurry of action that saw the eye edging back to time left on the clock, willing the fare never to end.

Like Test match cricket, never was there a better example that goals alone don’t make a game, as the crowd was moved to ooh and aah at every narrow miss, post that was hit, shots that tested keepers to the limit, skilful defender met by skilful attacker; to the point that to call a winner would have been a travesty.

For SA U21 it was player of the day Loreen Irvine and skipper Roxanne Turner who welded the team’s disparate parts together, while Catherine Morris and Alana Richardson had blinders for the Durban girls.

Day 3 results

KZN Midlands (2) 4 (Lyndall Robertson, Lauren Flint 2, Marie-Laure Johnson) Witwatersrand (2) 2 (Mel Kruse, Sue-Anne Sutherland); North West (0) 4 (Chantelle Bekker 3, Alouise Joubert) KZN Mynahs 0; WP Peninsula (3) 9 (Lilani Kenny, Heather Luden 2, Robyn Pearson 2, Samantha Solomons, Tammy Kruger, Pamela Bowren, Linda Kotta) Mpumalanga 0; Western Province (5) 10 (Cindy Brown 3, Vida Ryan 2, Henna du Buisson, Farah Fredericks 2, Tarryn Bright, Alice de Waal) Boland 0; Southern Gauteng (1) 2 (Tsoanelo Pholo, Tanith Drake) Northerns Blues 0; KZN Raiders 0 SA U21 0.

Pool positions

Pool A: 1. WP (+19 goal difference) 9 pts; 2. Raiders (GD +6) 7 pts; 3. Midlands (GD+3) 6 pts; 4. SA U21 (GD-1) 4 pts; 5. Wits (GD-7) 0 pts; 6. Boland (GD -20) 0 pts. Pool B: 1.

Southerns (GD+19) 9 pts; 2. North West (GD+5) 7 pts; 3. Northerns (GD+3) 4 pts; 4. Pens (GD+7) 3 pts; 5. Mynahs (GD-9) 3 pts; 6. Mpumalanga (GD-25) 0 pts.

Day 4 fixtures

North West vs Mpumalanga (8.30); Midlands vs SA U21 (10.10); Southerns vs Pens (11.50); Northerns vs Mynahs (13.50); Boland vs Wits (15.30); WP vs KZN Raiders (17.10).

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