College top-ranked first team in the country

2014-08-12 00:00

IN what was an eagerly anticipated match that lived up to the expectation and hype, home side Maritzburg College ultimately outplayed the highly regarded Glenwood team at a packed Pape’s Astro on Saturday to win 4-1 and in the process shoot to the treasured position of being the top-ranked first team in the country, displacing Westville.

It was a match chock-full of passion and excitement, in what was Glenwood’s final game of the season, leaving College with one more hurdle this weekend against Grey College in Bloemfontein.

On Saturday, College got a second bite at the cherry after losing 3-2 to Glenwood in the first-round encounter at Three Schools’ Turf in Durban earlier this season.

Glenwood coach Fabian Gregory, the school’s director of hockey as well as the SA national men’s team head coach, told The Witness yesterday that his side simply “didn’t play in the second half, which was disappointing”.

“Jarryd Cass and goalkeeper and captain Michael Labuschagne were the best players in my team while College’s SA U18 players Tevin Kok, Tyson Dlungwana and Peabo Lembethe were their best players,” said Gregory.

“Tevin was dangerous on and off the ball while Lembethe is such a busy player that you always notice him.”

Another player who stood out was College left-side defender Courtney Halle.

“College were good value for their win,” said Gregory.

The match started at the expected intensity and tempo with both teams going on all-out attack. College drew first blood with a well-executed penalty corner deflection from Amkelwa Letuka in the seventh minute. The match had end-to-end action, Labuschagne keeping his side in the game with a series of outstanding saves.

Glenwood drew level three minutes before half-time with a penalty corner drag flick from Keegan Hezlett.

With the teams going into the break deadlocked 1-1 they had it all to do in the second half, but with the high intensity of the first half one would have thought that the performance would drop as players would start fatiguing. However, this was not a factor in this game; in fact, the quality and intensity increased.

College right-side defender Onke Letuka broke the deadlock in the 39th minute. Glenwood had a few chances but did not capitalise. Perfectly positioned College captain and midfielder Tim Halle’s far-post tap-in increased their lead to 3-1. It was a world-class goal, his pass supplied by Amkelwa Letuka, who had linked up with Kok.

A well-taken fourth goal from David Small put the game beyond Glenwood with six minutes left on the clock.

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