Pens create history by beating Southern Gauteng

2014-09-01 00:00

WESTERN Province Peninsula (Pens) made history when they beat hockey heavyweights Fedex Southern Gauteng 2-1 in the final of the Greenfields Men’s Inter-provincial at Queensmead in Durban on Saturday.

They became the first provincial “B” team to win the premier domestic trophy in South African hockey.

Player/coach Steve Evans scored in the 15th minute and Dave Agar added his side’s second in the 48th while Nic Spooner got on the scoresheet for Southerns in the 57th.

Pens had already caused the biggest upset in years when they beat their senior side and defending champs Western Province in a magnificent semi-final display. They had never qualified for the semi-finals before and then became the first B team to reach the final since South Gauteng Wits in 1996. Pens have now secured their own, unique place in SA hockey history.

WP’s second stringers started well and opened the scoring following their third penalty corner when Evans, the Athens 2004 Olympian, shovelled the ball over the goalline.

Earlier, Gregg Drake had brought a save from Rassie Pieterse at a PC while Southerns, with 14 SA-capped players, also had their moments in the opening half, notably from striker Julian Hykes.

There was some neat interplay on the part of both sides and Pens could have gone 2-0 and then 3-0 up in the 26th and 30th minutes respectively when Ryan Julius did everything but score.

Miguel da Graca got in a shot at the other end that was saved by Mark Turner and on the half-time hooter, the ’keeper was again on-song to stop Southerns first PC.

Southerns started well in the second half and Turner was forced to make another save, this time from Brandon Panther, but Evans was a steadying influence for the rank underdogs.

Spooner had a good opportunity soon after, but pulled his shot wide and in the 48th, young Pens striker Keenan Horne, won a PC which former Durbanite Dave Agar rifled into the backboard to stretch the Capetonians’ lead. An exquisite piece of skill by Pens’ Robert Edwards might have brought more reward, but in the 57th Hykes crossed from the left and Spooner finished clinically to bring Southerns back into the game with 13 minutes left.

Southerns surged forward, but Pens held firm, Drake making a crucial clearance. With two minutes left Southerns won a PC and it was Turner who repelled the threat with seconds left.

The final also bade farewell to one of South Africa’s most celebrated umpires, Gary Simmonds of Durban, in a career that included Olympic Games and World Cups.

Last year’s champions Tuffy Western Province won the bronze medal with a 3-0 win over Northern Blues, goals coming from Lloyd Norris-Jones, Matt Botha and Craig Haley.

KZN Inland, who finished eighth and last in the A Section, have been relegated to next year’s B section event.

In the B Section, KZN Coastal Mynahs beat Free State 3-1.

Results

A Section

(7/8) Eastern Province 2 KZN Inland 0; (5/6) KZN Coastal Raiders 8 South Gauteng Wits 2; (3/4) Western Province 3 Northern Blues 0; (1/2) Western Province Peninsula 2 Southern Gauteng 1

B Section

(7/8) EP Settlers 2 Namibia 1; (5/6) Border 4 SA Country Districts 3; (3/4) KZN Coastal Robins 1 North West 1 - Robins won penalty shootout 4-3;

(1/2) KZN Coastal Mynahs 3 Free State 1

SA Men’s Squad

Goalkeepers: Rassie Pieterse, Jason Briggs (S Gauteng), Gowan Jones, Richard Curtis (KZN Coastal Raiders), Jacques le Roux (WP), Chad Durrheim (NW).

Defenders: Jethro Eustice, Gareth Heyns, Lance Louw (S Gauteng); Mohamed Mea, Leneal Jackson (KZN Coastal Raiders); Daniel Bell, Rhett Halkett (WP); Matt Guise-Brown (N Blues).

Midfielders: Tim Drummond, Dan Sibbald, Ross Hetem (KZN Coastal Raiders); Chad Cairncross (EP); Clint Panther, Taylor Dart (S Gauteng); Wade Paton (WP); Marc Fourie (Pens).

Forwards: Natius Malgraff (EP); Pierre de Voux, Matt Botha (WP); Taine Paton, Damian Kimfley (KZN Coastal Raiders); Keenan Horne (Pens); Mondli Dlamini, Cam Mackay (KZN Coastal Mynahs); Richard Pautz (N Blues); Brandon Panther (S Gauteng).

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