Pulsating SA Varsity hockey finals in PMB

2011-07-15 00:00

THE finals of the University Sport South Africa (USSA) hockey competition were nail-biting clashes that had fans enthralled at Maritzburg Varsity’s Greenfields Turf.

In the men’s final, the only unbeaten side, University of Pretoria (Tuks) beat University of Johannesburg 4-1 in a penalty shootout after the scores were 1-1 at the final whistle. Tuks were 1-0 up through former Maritzburg College head prefect Matthew Guise-Brown’s penalty corner to which UJ replied with a field goal from captain Miguel da Graca at the death.

The women’s final was equally tense as reigning champs University of Stellenbosch (Maties) and University of North West (Pukke) were level 1-1 at the final whistle. Pukke won the penalty shootout 3-2. Former PMB Girls’ High School player Celia Evans scored for Pukke.

For the University of KwaZulu-Natal it was happiness for the women, who were promoted to the A Section, but frustration for the men, who finished fifth, although there was an accolade for Old Hiltonian Karl Oftebro, who was joint top goalscorer with Guise-Brown.

The PMB Varsity men and Durban Varsity lads are combined for USSA, as the university will only foot the bill for one team. And while the team is packed with stars, trying to gel when they play as separate teams in KZN Super League means they are at a decided disadvantage against the likes of Stellenbosch (Maties), Johannesburg (UJ), Pretoria (Tuks) and Cape Town (UCT) who play in their respective club leagues throughout the season.

In Pool A, the UKZN men drew 3-3 with UCT, beat Wits 4-0 and, crucially, lost 2-1 to Maties, which cost them a semi-final berth. In the playoffs they trounced Pukke 9-1 and edged Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Metro 3-2.

Meanwhile, the unbeaten PMB Varsity men under player/coach Darryn Gallagher are on course to retain their KZN Super League title, but second-placed Durban Varsity are fighting tooth and nail to stop their them and the only thing that separates the sides is a goal difference of one.

Riverside lie third, two points behind the universities and the second round matches between the sides will be critical. PMB Collegians are seventh and while they are four points ahead of bottom-placed Riverside II, there is a long road ahead. Collegians have one game in hand.

KZN Women’s Super League sees the unbeaten Rovers, coached by KZN Coastal Raiders mentor Lennie Botha, with a four-point lead over Durban Varsity, but the campus girls have a game in hand. Riverside are also in the title race and the second-round matches between the top three will be crucial.

PMB Varsity are fourth, one point behind Riverside and three ahead of Durban Collegians, but the coastal sides have a game in hand. The Durban Collegians/Riverside clash is Sunday’s focus match. PMB Collegians lie sixth. Again, the matches between the bottom three will be key.

FIXTURES

Sunday – Men: Rov I vs Pinetown (Queensmead 8 am); P Coll vs R’side I (Q 9.30 am); R’side II vs D Var I (R’side 9.30 am); D Var II vs P Var (to be confirmed). Women: D Coll II vs R’side (Q 11 am); Rov II vs Rov I (Q 12.30 pm); P Coll vs D Coll I (Q 2 pm); D Var vs P Var (tbc).

LOGS

Men (played, goal difference, pts): 1. P Var P6, GD20, 15pts; 2. D Var P6, GD21, 15pts; 3. R’side P6, GD18, 13pts; 4. Ptn P7, GD-2, 9pts; 5. D Var II P6, GD-8, 7pts; 6. Rov P6, GD-5, 5pts; 7. P Coll P5 GD-18, 4pts; 8. R’side II P6, GD-26, 0pts.

Women: 1. Rov P7, GD26, 19pts; 2. D Var P6, GD11, 15pts; 3. R’side P6, GD20, 13 pts; 4. P Var P7, GD-3, 12pts; 5. D Coll P6, GD8, 9pts; 6. P Coll P6, GD-12, 3pts; 7. Rov II P6, GD-16, 3pts; 8. D Coll II P6, GD-35, 0pts.

SA VARSITY STANDINGS

Men: 1 Tuks, 2 UJ, 3 UCT, 4 Maties, 5 UKZN, 6 NMMU, 7 Pukke, 8 Wits (relegated, University of Free State promoted). Women: 1 Pukke, 2 Maties, 3 UJ, 4 NMMU. 5 UFS, 6 Tuks, 7 Wits, 8 UCT (relegated, UKZN promoted).

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