Coach: KZN Inland’s Gauteng tour ‘a fantastic success’

2009-08-12 00:00

KZN Inland’s pre-IPT tour to Gauteng was a “fantastic success”.

These were the words coach Jock Coombes used to describe a long weekend in which the young Inland team beat North West 5-1 and 6-0 and lost 3-2 to Southern Gauteng.

Coombes told The Witness the National Men’s Interprovincial Tournament at the AB Jackson Greenfields Turf and Maritzburg College’s Pape’s Astro from Monday next week will be the true test.

“The Inland team’s coaching and management is also a little different as a result of Maritzburg Varsity and Inland High Performance being run by player/coach Darryn Gallagher,” Coombes said.

Coombes said that in IPT build-up and during the tournament, he was in effect serving as a coaching manager, fulfilling a role of fine tuning structure, working with individuals and combinations and assessing the opposition to build on the excellent and professional job Beijing Olympian Gallagher is doing.

Team manager Reggie Smith is the third part of the management triumvirate with Mike Denton adding value as physio.

Inland’s coach said the tour was invaluable for working on key areas such as defence, fine-tuning of attack options and broader options for the higher level expected at IPT. The tour proved taxing due to certain injuries and non-availability of some players, but from a training, mental toughness and physical aspect, the 13 players couldn’t have asked for better preparation.

“Everything we hoped to achieve in fine tuning and preparing was achieved, collectively and individually,” Coombes said.

“It was also realised that hockey at the higher level is tougher, harder and requires a greater intensity of concentration, of decision-making for longer periods in order to be successful; but at the same time having fun and enjoying it,” Coombes said.

“Whether or not this tour will help Inland achieve the levels we aspire to remains to be seen, but the tour helped us understand and appreciate what, how and where we need to be, and helped [us] realise that Inland can perform at the top with the best and get results.

“With a little luck who knows what we can achieve at IPT … ”

IPT organiser Janet Edwards is looking for a piece on hockey by the late Peter Robinson which appeared in a 1980s Natal Witness.

“Peter’s hilarious hockey piece was set in the style of gladiators all trying to kill the ‘golkipa’ with curved weapons and using a single white orb,” Edwards said.

Edwards said that if anyone has kept the article, they should contact her via the Midland hockey office at 033 394 4612.

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