Nail-biting action at IPT with SA U21 fighting to reach semi

2008-05-22 00:00

In a remarkable finale to the pool phase of the Spar Women’s Interprovincial Hockey tournament (IPT) at Queensmead in Durban yesterday, the outcome of Pool A went down to the last couple of minutes.

Although reigning champs Western Province were the outright Pool A winners, a huge battle unfolded on day five between SA U21 and KZN Raiders.

The host province had laid down the gauntlet with a 13-0 thrashing of a woeful Midlands in the KZN derby. It meant that the SA juniors had to beat Boland by 10 clear goals in the final IPT pool match — and at around 6.30 pm yesterday they were celebrating an 11-1 victory that assured their semi-final berth against Southern Gauteng.

It was heartbreaking for the brave Raiders. With log points and goal difference being equal, SA U21 go through to the last four with a better "goals for" tally of 23 to the 19 scored by the Raiders.

Earlier, Pool B winners Southern Gauteng beat runners-up North West 2-0 in a match where they were comfortably on top.

"It’s a new tournament now," said Southerns coach Lindsey Wright in reference to her side’s semi-final date with SA U21. "The SA juniors are a fit, well-drilled unit and I’m sure their coach Adrian Carolan has something up his sleeve for us."

Despite the defeat North West are comfortably in the semi-finals, where they meet twice-defending champions Western Province at 2.50 pm today. Their nearest rivals, Pretoria’s Northerns Blues, capped a disappointing IPT with a 3-1 loss to Western Province’s Peninsula.

Wright praised the special job done by Marie Joseph. "She’s our unsung hero. I asked Marie to mark key North West playmaker Lesley-Ann George and she did a superb job."

Southerns skipper and Spar SA leader Marsha Marescia, usually an attacking midfielder, played centre back and it worked well for Southerns, freeing up the star to dominate at the back without having the added burden of worrying about George.

"Playing WP is a David and Goliath situation for us," Revington said. "But in sport anything can happen. The North West girls were positive against Southerns and there is no reason why they won’t approach the WP challenge in the same manner."

WP captain Kate Hector and impressive coach Wayne Denne said their side, which contains 12 SA players, will not take North West lightly. Denne was emphatic in his semi-final thoughts. "I want the girls to approach it as a normal semi-final, as Revs has built a solid, fit young side. He has a reputation as a very good coach in the defensive aspects of the game and we respect his team and what they have achieved."

Hector said much the same: "There will be no complacency. Semi-finals don’t come along every day and you treat such an opportunity with respect."

WP striker Henna du Buisson was named player of the day for her five goals in the 14-1 rout of Wits.

Day 5 results

Mynahs (2) 7 (Tarryn Warman, Kerry Pearton, Jade Wilkinson, Nkosi Kulu 2, Kabu Shabangu, Linda Scott) Mpumalanga (1) 2 (Elana Lee, Christie Botha); Southern Gauteng (1) 2 (Lisa Deetlefs, Leeanne Neilson) North West 0; Peninsula (1) 3 (Samantha Solomons, Pamela Bowren, Natalie le Brun) Northerns (1) 1 (Kim Hubach); WP (12) 14 (Henna du Buisson 5, Alice de Waal 3, Tarryn Bright 3, Kate Hector, Robyn-Lee McLaren 2) Wits (0) 1 (Mel Kruse); KZN Raiders (5) 13 (Kerry Gaze 2, Portia Ntobela-Malimba 4, Cindy Botha 2, Catherine Morris 2, Jen Wilson, Michelle Cogle 2) KZN Midlands 0; SA U21 (5) 11 (Roxanne Turner 4, Kelly Madsen, Catherine McNulty, Sarah Harley 2, Nicole Kemp, Loreen Irvine, Sulette Damons) Boland (0) 1 (Lindi Prinsloo).

Final logs

Pool A: 1 WP (GD34) 15 pts; 2 SA U21 (GD17) 10 pts; 3 KZN Raiders (GD17) 10 pts; 4 KZN Midlands (GD-18) 6 pts; 5 Witwatersrand (GD-17) 3 pts; 6 Boland (GD-23) 0 pts.

Pool B: 1 Southerns (GD23) 15 pts; 2 North West (GD14) 10 pts; 3 Northerns (GD3) 7 pts; 4 Pens (GD7) 6 pts; 5 Mynahs (GD-6) 6 pts; 6 Mpumalanga (GD-41) 0 pts.

Today's cross-pool playoff's

Positions 9-12: Wits vs Mpumalanga (8.10 am); KZN Mynahs vs Boland (9.50 am).

Positions 5-8: KZN Raiders vs WP Peninsula (11.30 am); KZN Midlands vs Northerns Blues (1.10 pm).

Semi-final 1: Western Province vs North West (2.50 pm).

Semi-final 2: Southern Gauteng vs South Africa U21 (4.30 pm).

Tomorrow’s final: 3.30 pm.

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