Women’s provincial hockey sees champs Western Province knocked out

2009-08-28 00:00

THERE will be a new champion at the Spar Women’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament this year.

Reigning three-time champions Western Province were knocked out of the title reckoning when they drew 1-1 with KZN Coastal Raiders, who were already through to the semi-finals with a round of pool matches to spare. And Wednesday’s giant-killers, Northern Gauteng Blues, who had handed WP their first loss in 23 matches — they had won all 22, not even one draw — benefited mightily.

All they had to do was draw with strugglers Witwatersrand and they duly did the business by winning 4-0.

Yesterday’s late match between strugglers in Pool B, Western Province Peninsula and KZN Inland, saw the score 0-0 at half-time, with neither side dominating. The Western Province second stringers opened the scoring in the second half through Candice Botha off a penalty corner that beat goalkeeper Patricia Marsh, before Inland replied just three minutes later with another penalty corner goal. Outstanding Inland captain Robyn Pearson, who has led the side with courage and by example, was the player who drilled in that PC equaliser for the match to end 1-1. Pearson is a great asset to her new province and played for Peninsula up until last year while studying in the Western Cape.

Inland just avoided the wooden spoon in Pool B and play Wits today in the round that decides who will finish in positions five to eight at the end of tomorrow’s matches.

It was a day for the historians. The last time Western Province were not in the final was 10 years ago — no one knows when last they were not in the semis.

The Raiders’ stats are even more mind boggling. They last won IPT 22 years ago; they were finalists last in 2001.

Earlier, Southern Gauteng had beaten fellow Pool B contenders North West 4-3 in an exciting encounter to finish top of Pool B, with the Potch girls second.

Today sees Southerns meet Northerns in a Gauteng derby semi-final at 3.40 pm, with Raiders tackling captain Lesley-Ann George’s North West combination at 5.20 pm in the second semi.

In the B Section President’s Shield, the outstanding Eastern Province line-up — with Athens 2004 Olympic Games player Liesel Dorothy leading from the front and doyenne of EP women’s hockey coaching Linda Bedford providing the tactical know-how — are already through to the final.

Also through to the final with a round of pool matches to spare are Border and the prospect of a B Section Eastern Cape derby final on Saturday is one to savour.

SA Country Districts, which contains a majority of players from KZN Inland and KZN Coastal — just like the men’s a sign that CD hockey is very strong in KwaZulu-Natal — are in the running to finish second in B Section Pool B behind EP. Their match against Northerns B today will decide who gets to play off for third and fourth place tomorrow.

RESULTS

A Section: S. Gauteng 4 North West 3; Coastal 1 WP 1; Northerns 4 Wits 0; Inland 1 WP Peninsula 1.

B Section: Border 3 Mpumalanga 2; Namibia 4 N. Cape 2; EP 5 Southern Cape 2; Northerns B 7 Boland 0.

FIXTURES

A Section: WP vs WP Peninsula (12.20 pm); Wits vs Inland (2 pm); Northerns Blues vs Southern Gauteng (3.40 pm); KZN Coastal Raiders vs North West (5.20 pm).

B Section: Mpumalanga vs Namibia (9 am); Boland vs EP (Tuks 9 am); Free State vs Border (10.40 am); SA Country Districts vs Northerns B (Tuks 10.40 am).

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