Varsity beat Collegians in entertaining eight-goal hockey derby

2012-06-20 00:00

THE two KwaZulu-Natal Men’s Super League sides from the capital — Collegians and Varsity — served up an entertaining eight-goal spectacle in the derby at AB Jackson Greenfields Turf on Sunday.

While Varsity, with the bulk of KZN Inland’s provincial players, won 6-2 after leading 4-1 at half time, there was admiration for the spirited performance of underdogs Collegians who never threw in the towel. Chris Oldnall, Michael Craig and Grant Christie worked particularly hard.

The quality of hockey was good and possession went 60-40 to Varsity, despite the scoreline, and accordingly the campus team were able to create more goal shots.

In the first half Varsity had eight shots with five on target and four goals, while in the second session they had 14 chances with eight directed between the posts but just two goals.

Collegians had to make do with three shots in the first half, all on target for one goal, and four in the second half, all on target for the other.

The most accomplished player on the park was Varsity player/coach and former South Africa forward Craig Haley, whose stick skills, vision in making the early pass and ability to read play were a highlight.

Collegians goalkeeper Ian Griffiths and opposite number Joel Barron were called into action frequently, not just from goal shots, but also dangerous passes across the face of goal and scrambles in the six-yard box.

Varsity shaded the penalty corners 4-3 with a rocketing Jethro Eustice drag-flick from the first, leaving Griffiths with little chance.

That fourth Varsity goal was preceded in the first half by Matt Redmead’s 13th-minute finish of a Devon van der Merwe and Sihle Ntuli combination down the left, a top-class reverse-stick effort from captain Eustice midway through the first half after Robin Jones, Travis Hardnick and Van der Merwe had set it up along the left wing, and Damian Kimfley’s neat goal inside the six-yard area from the restart.

Trailing 3-0, Collegians scored a fine goal in classic fashion when Matt Coombes’s accurate long corner found Grant Christie, who smashed a pass into the strike zone that saw Guy Elliott’s delicate touch loop tantalisingly over Barron’s head.

After the change-over Griffiths stopped two PCs in succession with glove saves to his right from Eustice drag-flicks, but the second saw corner injector Haley nail the rebound into the backboard. With 12 minutes left it was 5-1 until a superb goal originating from the left wing culminated in Kimfley unselfishly laying off for the on-song Ntuli to do the honours.

Collegians tackle Rovers at the AB Jackson 7.30 pm on Friday, while Varsity face Durban Varsity same time at Queensmead.

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