Local schools impress in tight hockey encounters

2014-06-03 00:00

ST JOHN’S travelled from Johannesburg to play Michaelhouse in their annual exchange and the hosts edged out the visitors 3-2, while on Maritzburg College’s Reunion Day the lads in red, black and white shaded Hilton College by the same margin.

There were also good victories for Westville and St Charles over St Stithians and DHS respectively, with Kearsney also beating the visiting St Stithians side.

Both Michaelhouse and St John’s are ranked similarly in the national standings so the match promised to be a tight affair. Michaelhouse were first to convert their opportunities with skipper Henri Strydom demonstrating some excellent individual skill to penetrate the D and a classy back-stick finish into the bottom corner saw Michaelhouse go 1-0 up after 14 minutes.

The visitors did not take long to respond as an unusual defensive lapse saw the St John’s centre mid neatly finish a straight one-on-one encounter with the Michaelhouse keeper to equalise. The scores remained level at half time but the match had more drama to offer.

The hosts took advantage of a counter-attack opportunity early in the second half and, through some inter-play with the forwards, the chance was converted through Michaelhouse striker Gareth Macaskill.

St John’s again levelled the score 14 minutes into the second half. Just minutes later, Michaelhouse reclaimed the lead through another reverse stick finish — this time from midfielder Jason Marshall. St John’s had two short corners after this to equalise, but failed to convert and the Michaelhouse defence held firm to earn a credible 3-2 win for the hosts.

The Maritzburg College versus Hilton College fixture was an eagerly awaited match for the College first XI, as it was their Reunion Day with lots of hype surrounding the game.

Hilton were out of the blocks quickly, scoring the first goal with a counter-attack down the right hand side. The ball was played across the circle and with a diving deflection, Hilton opened their account.

College then drew level with their opener coming from David Small with close action in the circle. The teams went into the break deadlocked at 1-1.

College scored immediately at the start of the second half with a penalty stroke conversion from captain Tim Halle. They continued to dominate possession and eventually scored a third to go 3-1 up.

Hilton managed a counter-attack after College committed too many numbers forward, and scored their second goal of the game for the 3-2 final scoreline in Maritzburg College’s favour.

Westville their extended their winning run with a 6-1 victory over St Stithians College, which keeps them at the top of the SA rankings for another week.

The teams went into the break at 0-0 and the second half started at a blistering pace with Westville launching attacks down the right flank. James Cumming eventually broke the deadlock with a flat strike into the bottom left corner giving Westville a 1-0 lead after three minutes.

The second Westville goal came soon after with a back post tap-in from Alastair Tyrell after a defensive scramble in the circle. St Stithians then turned over possession deep in their half and launched a quick counterattack that resulted in them winning a penalty corner. The corner was converted with a slider to the back post that was deflected into the goal. The score was now 2-1 with St Stithians on the attack.

This galvanised Westville into action, who lifted their the game to the next level and scored four more goals from Bruce Kerr, Jason Ward (penalty corner), Kyle White and captain Jacques Bleeker (penalty stroke).

Mike Reed, the St Charles coach, said the Saints first XI played at Riverside in Durban North against DHS and were very happy with a 3-0 win. “SCC took on DHS and dominated the early exchanges and created many goal opportunities in the first 20 minutes of the game, unfortunately not converting any.”

Then, through good build-up and team play, Bandile Zwane was on the receiving end of a hard pass into the circle and, with a deft little touch, put SCC 1-0 up just on half time.

“The second half was dominated by the SCC midfield, and once again, in a good build up from our own half, Zwane finished clinically on the back post to put SCC 2-0 up.”

With 15 minutes to go, Nicholas Church found himself in a one-on-one situation with the DHS keeper, kept his head and showed good skills to beat the keeper to put SCC 3-0 up for the final score.

It was a busy weekend for St Stithians who met Kearsney on Saturday and went down 3-0 in the annual derby between the two sides.

It was 0-0 at half time.

Enjoying more possession in the second half, Kearsney broke the shackles when skipper Ruben van Aswegen struck from an acute angle on the near post.

The hosts pushed forward and were kept at bay by a fine performance from the Saints keeper, but he was unable to stop Matthew Butler cleaning up a goal-line scramble after a Kearsney short corner.

Butler was in action soon after for his second strike after a great individual effort and despite Saints showing character and trying to make something of the game, Kearsney’s defence stood firm.

Earlier in the week, Kearsney beat Thomas More 7-0, goals coming from Butler (2), Ru Baker (2), Alex di Marco (2) and Lyle Hewitson.

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