Underwater hockey: PMB men’s team competing in East London

2008-11-27 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg underwater hockey team are in East London for the annual inter-club tournament that includes sides from all over the country.

The tournament started yesterday and ends tomorrow. The PMB men’s side will compete in the B Section, a jump from their usual C Section slot.

The 10 players from the PMB Underwater Hockey Club in East London are Dave Coetzee, Greg Bisset, Bill Freeman-Smith, Craig Burmeister, Jarid Sherwood, Paul Ferguson, Jimmy Neil, Pete Shoerie, Stefan Kruger and Wickus Malherbe.

The team have been training at Maritzburg Varsity every Thursday and players also travel to King’s Park in Durban, which is KZN’s main arena for the sport.

In summer, clubs in Pietermaritzburg and the North and South coast are very active. There is a provincial tournament held annually around the country and every second year there is a World’s Tournament generally held overseas.

This year, the World’s Tournament was held in Durban, with the SA women’s elite team coming second and the SA men’s elite side third.

Fitness is key, with the current trend featuring players having short bursts on the bottom of the pool, going up for one breath and back to the bottom to maximise playing time.

Underwater hockey is played at the bottom of the pool at a depth of two metres. The playing area is 25 m in length and 12 m wide.

At 10 players per side, only six are in the water at one time. Like waterpolo, there are rolling substitutions. Players don fins, a mask, waterpolo cap, snorkel, glove to protect the playing hand and a short curved stick.

The object is to move/flick/pass the puc (like an ice hockey puc) between team-mates across the pool in search of a goal. Top players flick the puc about two metres. Each side wears a white or blue cap and the corresponding colour stick. The goals are two metres in length and similar to a metal trough. As soon as the puc passes over or into the metal trough, a goal is scored.

Underwater hockey resumes in PMB in January. Those interested in playing must contact the PMB Underwater Hockey Club’s representative at 083 378 4968.

PMB TEAM:

Dave Coetzee, Greg Bisset, Bill Freeman-Smith, Craig Burmeister, Jarid Sherwood, Paul Ferguson, Jimmy Neil, Pete Shoerie, Stefan Kruger, Wickus Malherbe.

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