Hockey openers see St Charles beat St Andrews

2015-03-17 00:00

WITH cricket bats and pads packed away for a few months and the rugby lads kicking off at the weekend, those not too keen on the crash and bash of the oval ball took up their hockey sticks for some entertaining clashes.

St Charles were in Bloemfontein ­taking on St Andrew’s College, ­Kearsney hosted Glenwood, Hilton travelled to Westville and Clifton ­College hit the road to Balgowan to meet Michaelhouse.

St Charles 3 St Andrew’s 1

With an impressive pre-season schedule behind them, St Charles arrived in Bloemfontein full of intensity, energy and commitment.

Applying early pressure with slick, quick passing, St Charles soon opened the scoring when Zac Koutsouris hit the mark.

With captain Bradley Lambooy marshalling the troops well, St Charles kept their shape and confidence in check, dominating offensive play.

After 15 minutes they had doubled their lead when Tindy Huyberechts found a way past the keeper but, with a more composed defence, the home side managed to keep St Charles at bay and no further goals were added before the break.

Koutsouris scored his second goal early on in the second period and with tired legs beginning to have a say, St Andrew’s seized the opportunity to pull one back on the counterattack.

Mitchell Currie kept the St Charles defence organised and his team ran out the winners, a good away win and start to the season.

Kearsney 3 Glenwood 0

Glenwood came out firing in a match that started at a frenetic pace, with Kearsney under pressure for 10 minutes in defending a few penalty corners.

Once they had settled, Kearsney grew stronger as Glenwood’s start ­began to tire them out. Before the break, Kearsney’s Alex di Marco took a self-pass free hit, drove into the circle and unleashed a low shot which had the better of the keeper.

The advantage allowed Kearsney to move the ball around more in the ­second half, upping the tempo and dominating physically, with Ru Baker, captain Simon Nortje and Matthew Butler in the thick of things.

The game opened up and Kearsney scored two great field goals in the final 15 minutes, courtesy of Matt Lees and Lyle Hewitson, to seal a strong win.

Unsung hero for Kearsney was the man between the sticks, Gareth Phillips, who kept his side in the game with some telling saves and decision ­making, good enough to earn him the man of the match accolade.

Westville 1 Hilton 2

Both sides played at a high rate, both attacking but losing possession at vital moments. This saw both defences ­unable to be breached, with Westville coming closest in the first half to breaking the deadlock when a goal was saved on the line.

Hilton started the second half with more intent, putting Westville under pressure, which paid dividends when a midfield error saw Hilton pounce and open the scoring.

Soon after, the lead was doubled when possession was again turned over and although Luke Bowman pulled one back for the home side, Hilton held out to keep Westville at bay and the ­honours.

Michaelhouse 1 Clifton 1

A typical season opener which was nonetheless entertaining, with both teams creating chances but failing to make them count.

A draw was a fair result, with Lethu Mthembu hitting home for Michaelhouse and Chad Scott doing the ­business for Clifton.

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