Hope for KZN sides

2014-08-16 00:00

THE hockey gaze of all will turn to the KZN capital this coming week when the South African Interprovincial women’s tournament plays out in the city, with the headquarters at AB Jackson Greenfields Turf opposite Harry Gwala Stadium in Princess Margaret Drive.

KZN fields three teams — KZN Coastal Raiders in the elite A Section competition, which starts on Tuesday, while KZN Inland and KZN Mynahs are taking part in the promotion division, the B Section, which starts ­tomorrow.

KZN Inland meet SA Country Districts in tomorrow’s 4 pm match at the AB Jackson and KZN Mynahs tackle East Gauteng at noon, while KZN Raiders and the rest of the A Section sides begin their campaign on Tuesday.

Inland have experienced players in the likes of Tracey Bestall and Amy Greaves, and will be determine to right the wrongs of last year when they lost out to Witwatersrand for promotion to the A Section in a gripping match in Port Elizabeth.

KZN Coastal Raiders have Investec South Africa women’s hockey team defender Lenise Marais as their pivot and she will add much experience to the side, alongside forward and national team-mate Kelly Madsen.

Defending titlelists Southern Gauteng are obvious favourites but last year’s finalists, Western Province, will be pressing strongly to go one better this time round.

It will also be a homecoming for many Pietermaritzburg-schooled players who learnt their formative hockey in the KZN capital.

One such is former Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School captain Celia Evans, who will be playing in her familiar, post-school North West colours, while Voortrekker product Amoré de Wet captains the Potchefstroom-based side.

With PMB battling to retain players after matric studies are over, the question remains as to how at least some of the talent can be persuaded to stay in this wonderful hockey nursery once the school uniform has been packed away for good.

SA assistant coach Kurt Cerfontyne and company will be casting a keen eye over the talent that comes to the fore, and the experience of players outside the national loop playing alongside established world-level stars will be fascinating to observe.

All the fixtures and Pools can be found at www.sahockey.co.za

Tomorrow’s Fixtures:

(All at the AB Jackson)

B Section - SA Country Districts B vs Zimbabwe (10am); KZN Mynahs vs East Gauteng (noon); Free State vs WP Peninsula (2 pm); KZN Inland vs SA Country Districts A (4 pm).

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