WP outplay defending champs Southern Gauteng

2014-08-23 00:00

LAST year’s finalists Western Province shaded defending champions Southern Gauteng 1-0 in a thrilling second semi-final after the scores were locked 0-0 at half-time in the SA Women’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament at Greenfields Turf in Pietermaritzburg last night.

The winner came in the 64th minute when WP’s outstanding double Olympian Tarryn Bright won a turnover inside Southerns’ half and her lay-off was converted by busy Province striker Bronwyn Kretzman.

It was a great pity there had to be a loser as both teams did everything possible to win this one but only one space was reserved for the final and it was the Capetonians’ night.

WP have set up a 4.30 pm date in today’s gold medal match with Northern Blues in what will be the Pretorians’ first ever final. Blues beat North West 3-0 in the first semi-final after the teams were locked 0-0 at the break, Northerns’ goals coming from Amoné Mouton a minute after half-time (36th min) and a brace from goalscoring machine Jacinta Jubb in the 45th and 59th minutes, while the Potchefstroom-based side will rue a number of missed chances.

The WP/Southerns first half was played at a very high pace with both sides having numerous opportunities. Amid the frenetic action there were patches of exceptionally skilled play and one that stood out saw in-form Investec SA striker Lilian du Plessis combine with national team-mate Bernie Coston down the left wing, which resulted in Sammy Prost almost breaking the deadlock but WP keeper Hanli Hattingh raced off her goalline to narrow the angle.

Southerns had two good chances early in the second half and while both teams were committed to all-out attack, some of the defensive play was out of the top drawer.

In the early semi-final, both Northern Blues and North West tested the waters before the biggest play in the first 10 minutes came when NW forward Sinalo Jafta made inroads into the strike zone but was denied by the alert Blues defence, led by captain and Investec South Africa women’s hockey team star Nicolene Terblanche.

Blues had a couple of sorties but both teams were wary of being caught on the counter-attack, a department that each semi-finalist was very good at exploiting. One consequence is that neither side was, for the most part, prepared to play a full-frontal, fast-paced game in the first half, always making sure there was sufficient cover.

Goalshots were fired at the keepers but an indication of the cagey nature of the game was that the first penalty corner only came in the 31st minute and Jubb’s piledriver was blocked superbly by first-wave defender Damons and sailed well over the crossbar.

North West had two shots at the other end but Blues goalkeeper Phume Mbande and her helpers were up for the challenge and the sides turned around all-square at 0-0. The busy Caitlin du Preez was again in good form for Blues with her sniping runs but Lauren Nina and the NW defenders had held her in check for the most part.

The game broke wide open one minute (36th) after the changeover when Amy Erthington crossed accurately from the right and Amoné Mouton picked her spot. (1-0). Damons broke clear from the re-start but SA-capped keeper Mbande timed her advance off the goalline to perfection to block the shot. And in the 45th Blues’ prolific goalscorer, Jubb, took the ball right at a PC before smashing it into the backboard (2-0).

NW had their chances but in the 59th minute the Blues made the game safe when Mia Smuts showed great determination in chasing a long ball down the left before flipping the white nut across to the expectant Jubb for the simple tap-in (3-0).

In the B Section final, host province KZN Inland will face Free State at 2.30pm on Greenfields Turf for promotion to the 2015 elite A Section IPT.

RESULTS

A Section (5th to 8th cross-pool playoffs): KZN Coastal Raiders 10 Eastern Province 1; Border 2 Southern Gauteng Witsies 1. Semi-finals: Northern Blues 3 North West 0; Western Province 1 Southern Gauteng 0.

B Section: (9/10 round 1): Mpumalanga 2 SA Country Districts B 1. (5th to 8th cross-pool play-offs): WP Peninsula 5 EP Settlers 0; SA Country Districts A 3 Eastern Gauteng 1. Semi-finals: KZN Inland 3 KZN Mynahs 2; Free State 5 Zimbabwe 1.

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