Men’s interprovincial hockey kicks off at AB Jackson

2009-08-17 00:00

THE National Men’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament (IPT) starts at the AB Jackson (ABJ) Greenfields Turf in Pietermaritzburg today with four B Section matches. The separate Top Eight Shield competition, or A Section, begins tomorrow at the ABJ.

Western Province are the two-time defending champions; KZN Coastal won in Durban in 2006 by beating WP; KZN Inland were the finalists in East London in 2007, losing 2-1 to WP; Southern Gauteng were the finalists in Potchefstroom last year, losing 3-1 to Province.

Although WP are again the favourites, there appears not much to choose from between them, KZN Coastal Raiders, Southern Gauteng, Northern Gauteng Blues and host province KZN Inland, while on their day the unpredictable Eastern Province and dark horses North West are quite capable of wrecking anyone’s title aspirations.

The Top Eight are divided into two pools of four, with the “Group of Death” Pool B including Southerns, KZN Raiders, Inland and EP. Pool A is the “easier” ride with WP up against Northerns Blues, North West and Peninsula.

In an admirable gesture to encourage the growth and improvement in the game among neighbouring countries, the SA Hockey Association have included Namibia in the B Section.

Once the A Section gets under way tomorrow, most of the B Section matches will move to Maritzburg College’s Pape’s Astro.

At the ABJ today, the KZN Coastal B side, Mynahs, tackle Northern Cape at 8.30 am and Mpumalanga take on an SA Country Districts side that includes half a dozen KZN-based players at 11.50 am. Also at the ABJ today, Border face Free State in a potentially explosive clash at 10.10 am, while Namibia meet Witwatersrand (Southerns’ B team) at 1.30 pm.

FIXTURES (First two days)

Today: KZN Mynahs vs N. Cape (8.30 am); Border vs F.S. (10.10 am); Mpumalanga vs SA Country Districts (11.50 am); Namibia vs Witwatersrand (1.30 pm).

Tomorrow (ABJ): S. Gauteng vs EP (8.30 am); Northerns Blues vs N. West (10.10 am); WP vs Peninsula (11.50 am); KZN Inland B vs Northern Cape (1.30 pm); KZN Inland vs KZN Coastals (3.10 pm).

(Maritzburg College): Namibia vs SA Country Districts (9.30 am); Witwatersrand vs EP Settlers (11.10 am); Free State vs KZN Mynahs (1 pm).

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