PMB hockey: Technical test and Baptism of fire await

2012-04-13 00:00

THE 2012 KwaZulu-Natal Men’s Super League flicks off today with PMB teams, Varsity and Collegians, in action.

Varsity plays a quality Pinetown side at 7.30 pm tonight at the Varsity Greenfields Turf in the Peter Booysen Sports Park off Golf Road and it will be interesting to see how they fare without Darryn Gallagher. This midfield kingpin — and the Beijing 2008 Olympian and former KZN Inland captain — took the campus’s first hockey team to the KZN Super League title in 2010 in a period during which the side was arguably the best club team in the country.

Now head of hockey at Northwood High School in Durban, Gallagher was player/coach of the PMB Varsity first team for a number of years and his departure leaves a huge hole.

The new Varsity coach, New Zealander Alan Chesney, won the gold medal with out-and-out underdogs the Black Sticks at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games, and his experience should prove invaluable to the campus-based side, as well as to the KZN Inland men’s squad, for whom it is anticipated he will serve as assistant to head coach Charlie Pereira.

Varsity are now in a rebuilding phase and captain Jethro Eustice told The Witness yesterday that much of the team’s pre-season training has been focused on fitness and core skills.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how we fare on the technical and tactical side against Pinetown,” said the KZN Inland centre back.

Traditionally, Pinetown are a competitive line-up who are always in the spot and rated amongst the better sides. They should give the campus-based side plenty to think about.

PMB Collegians, meanwhile, are once again under the watchful eye of player/coach and lethal KZN Inland striker Gavin Jelley, and they have a baptism of fire ahead of them at Queensmead Hockey Stadium in Durban today when they take on defending champions Durban Varsity at 7.30 pm.

Jelley is in fine fettle, and his example should inspire those team-mates around him who are a little short on the former Tuks and Northern Blues marksman’s skill and experience.

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