Outstanding IPT hockey in sunny Potch

2008-05-05 00:00

THE final match on day two of the Men’s Interprovincial Tournament at the Absa NWU-Puk Hockey Stadium in a thankfully sunny Potchefstroom yesterday saw a fired-up Southern Gauteng beat an outstanding SA U21 side 4-3, while KZN Midlands outlasted EP Settlers 4-0.

Sunday’s teeming early-morning rain was nowhere to be found yesterday and the teams responded with exciting hockey.

And in what could be a precursor to Saturday’s 7 pm final, a polished Western Province were full value for their 5-3 victory, although Durban’s KZN Raiders came back to equalise at 3-3 with 15 minutes to go — a situation giving pause for thought that an upset was on the cards.

Defending champions WP led 3-1 at half-time. KZN Midlands banked on getting the better of EP Settlers without calling on the services of their SA players Darryn Gallagher and Tommy Hammond. The gamble paid off as Midlands earned a brace of goals in each half for their 4-0 win and saved their stars for another day. The national players are only allowed to play four matches out of seven, as SA coach Gregg Clark wants them to be fresh for the Four Nations tournament in Beijing just after IPT.

Kegan Walters and Rhys Blackbeard netted the field goals with PG Geldenhuys and Matt Coombes getting the penalty corners.

Against the Raiders, Western Province pulled away with a brace of goals in the last nine minutes. The 18-year-old Raiders goalkeeper Gowan Jones also made a series of top-class stick saves in a compelling encounter that saw WP win the penalty-corner count 11-5.

Captain Bruce Jacobs’s side scored once directly and twice indirectly from those 11 PCs and also netted two goals from Province’s 13 shots at Jones in field play.

Skipper Lloyd Clarke’s Raiders had a 40% success rate, through Gareth Carr and Wade Paton respectively from their direct PC drag flicks, while the impressive Paton made it a brace after netting from one of the Durban team’s six shots at Province keeper Rudi Huysamen in field play.

The tone was set for Province as early as the second minute when Craig Haley’s superb tackle turned over ball in the Raiders’ 22, and Jean-Pierre Voux was on hand to net the striker’s cross from the right.

For SA U21, captain for the day Dom Scott scored a goal he will remember forever, while his combination with former Hilton College team-mate Matt Fairweather was outstanding. The Southerns team, though, showed they are a better outfit than many previously thought.

DAY 2 RESULTS

Northern Gauteng 6 KZN Mynahs 1; EP 5 Peninsula 1; Western Province 5 KZN Raiders 3; KZN Midlands 4 EP Settlers 0; North West 9 Namibia 1; Southern Gauteng 4 SA U21 3.

DAY 3 FIXTURES

KZN Raiders vs Pens (9 am); Northerns vs EP Settlers (10.30 am); Southerns vs KZN Mynahs (1 pm); WP vs Namibia (2.30 pm); EP vs North West (4 pm); Midlands vs SA U21 (5.30 pm).

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