KZN inland men come fourth at SACD ipt

2010-07-09 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Country Districts’ men’s hockey team, which covers the greater midlands area, came fourth at the SA Country Districts Interprovincial Tournament that ended at White River in Nelspruit.

Inland were beaten 2-0 by their neighbours down the N3, KZN Coastal, in the play-off for third and fourth place.

One of the lesser lights of South African hockey, Southern Cape, won the final when they comprehensively defeated one of the country’s giants in terms of player numbers, Southern Gauteng, 3-0 in the final.

KZN Coastal’s B side, KZN Mynahs, ended 11th in the 12-team competition when they beat Eastern Gauteng 3-0 in the 11th/12th place play-off.

Kyle Dickson of KZN Coastal was the joint winner of the player of the tournament award, while the goal of the tournament went to KZN Inland sharpshooter Garth Ratsey.

Dickson was named as the SA Country Districts’ captain and KZN Inland’s Keith Stainbank as his deputy for the National Men’s Interprovincial tournament in Port Elizabeth from August 24 to 28.

Last year’s successful SA Country Districts’ coach, Kevin Green of Southern Gauteng, retains his position.

The remaining positions saw Mpumalanga fifth, Northern Gauteng sixth, Western Province seventh, Eastern Province eighth, Northern Free State ninth and Limpopo 10th.

Other KZN Inland players to be included in the SA Country Districts’ team were goalkeeper Gary Carson, who also serves as the KZN Inland Hockey Association president.

Apart from Dickson, the other KZN Coastal players to be selected were former Maritzburg College captain Hedley Kok and Gareth Bishop.

Former Durban Tech Premier Division player Ross Riddle, a member of their SA Club Champion of Champions team in his time there, and Alister Franz were the two players from KZN Coastal who were named as non-travelling reserves.

And in a KZN Super League women’s match, Maritzburg Collegians drew 3-3 with Durban Collegians, having opened their account with a deflection goal from Linda Tarr. Inept defending allowed Durban two soft goals before Zimi Shange, the GHS and SA U18 goalkeeper, inspired the KZN capital girls with stunning play between the sticks; the sort of inspiration that led to PMB coming back in the last 10 minutes.

Morag McAllister running into the circle picked up an overhead by Lyndal Robertson and her slip pass saw Tarr convert.

The irrepressible Greytown girl netted her hat-trick and the winner two minutes from time with another top-notch deflection after good build-up play through the midfield.

Meanwhile, in what is delayed news due to miscommunication from China, the South African women’s team came back winless from their tour.

Scheduled as an intense training camp with 11 international matches in the midst of all the gruelling sessions, there was never any likelihood that captain Marsha Marescia’s side were going to seriously challenge the world’s third-ranked China, especially when considering the half-dozen newcomers to the team.

Bu what is the point of not measuring yourself against the best? Particularly when one considers that the Chinese were playing in their own backyard, as it were, in Beijing, and that they won the Olympic Games silver medal last time at the eight-ringed tournament.

New SA coach Giles Bonnet, who is the former national captain and is now professionally based in Europe in a full-time coaching role, had to get a feel of the players and their capabilities, work out strengths and weaknesses, look at the players’ mental strengths as individuals and in the team collective, and so on.

And believe me, the vastly experienced Bonnet knows his stuff.

SA last five Test results vs China: lost 0-3; 1-7; 0-4; 1-6; 0-5. Played 11 lost 11 goals for 8 goals against 65.

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