St John’s, TWC lock horns in tight battle

2014-05-06 00:00

THE Wykeham Collegiate were hosted by St John’s on their Founder’s Day on Saturday and it was to prove a tight contest, both schools’ first teams match-hardened having recently returned from a successful St Mary’s Waverley Festival in Johannesburg.

TWC coach Binks Robertson told The Witness that in the first half, TWC gave a solid display of defensive team work, denying a highly spirited St John’s team many circle entries.

“It was an epic battle of the midfield between SA Junior player Natalie Esteves from St John’s and provincial player Nicola Deenik of TWC. Both players anticipated well and closed down a number of attacking movements.”

A burst of speed and a close attempt by SJS left striker Jenna Bam was quickly closed down by TWC’s defenders Meagan Deenik and Sarah Harries in the first half. TWC striker Sarah Dixon threatened the St John’s keeper but the chance went just wide of the goalbox.

“We scored through Derryn Muirhead at the team’s second short corner, a variation back to the corner injector,” said SJS coach Kyle Nipper.

The score at half time was 1-0 to the home team.

A confident TWC took to the field in the second half and were more aggressive on attack. SJS defenders Andrea Davies and Jess de Wet soaked up the pressure. TWC midfielders Sarah Lennon and Nicola Deenik showed great flair and were instrumental in winning short corners for TWC in the last 10 minutes of play.

“We failed to convert two short corners; however, they managed to win a short corner just before the sounding of the final whistle. It was this fourth short corner attempt where Nicola Deenik poked the equaliser into the back of the box,” said Robertson.

Nipper said St John’s had the full school supporting the match, complete with drummers and a war cry leader — “probably a little intimidating for schoolgirls to play in front of”, the KZN and Dolphins cricketer chuckled.

Nipper singled out TWC’s Nicola Deenik, saying “she controlled and dominated in midfield, with good distribution and defensive skills”.

Meanwhile, St Anne’s were full value for their 4-0 win over Treverton after the score was 1-0 at half-time. Goalscorers were Hannah Moxham (penalty corner), Beth-Ann Brady (field goal), Teeghan Lambert (FG) and Meg Macdonald (FG).

“A beautiful and hot autumn day dawned, setting the scene for a great start to the league for 2014,” said St Anne’s coach Charlie Pereira, recently the SA men’s head coach and a top international player in his heyday.

St Anne’s took the lead within five minutes, from the first penalty corner of the match, a neatly struck shot by Moxham beating the keeper on the inside post.

The first half then became something of a war of attrition with neither side gaining much advantage, St Anne’s shading possession.

Some tough words at half time galvanised the home team, St Anne’s, into action; more phases and better structure resulted in a determined circle entry and committed rebound attack by Beth-Ann Brady, which saw her succeed with a goal 10 minutes into the second half. “Midway through the half, Teeghan Lambert burst through from the 23 metre line on the right and a great shot saw her chalk up a goal for herself, bringing the score to a healthy 3-0 in favour of the hosts,” said Pereira.

Shortly before the final whistle, Megan Macdonald scored from the left side after some well-placed circle passes with Sophie Macdonald.

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