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Champions WP go down

Home province Northerns “Blues” dug deep to unseat champions Western Province 1-0 at the SPAR Women’s Inter-provincial Hockey Tournament at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria Wednesday.

A penalty corner by Captain Kim Hubach handed Northerns the win and a chance to make the semi-finals after their 3-0 loss to KZN Coastals on Tuesday.

Northerns played simple hockey, uncomplicated by their opponents’ team, which is littered with SPAR National players.

SA defender Hubach was inspirational as the Pretoria girls never gave an inch to their more illustrious opponents.

Southerns and North West, after 10-0 and 8-2 wins over WP Peninsula and KZN Inland respectively, and are already through to the semi-finals from Pool B and their final pool match Thursday will determine who tops the pool.

KZN Coastals beat Wits 7-0, and their match against WP Thursday will play a big role in determining how many goals Northerns need to score against Wits to end in the top two teams in Pool A. Should WP win, both they and Raiders will have two wins from three pool matches, so Northerns will know how many goals to beat Wits by, to go through ahead of either of their Pool rivals.

In the B Section President’s Cup, a revitalised Eastern Province under
Captain and former SPAR SA player Liesel Dorothy and coach Linda Bedford look strong favourites to win promotion to the SPAR A Section.

EP, a stronghold of SA hockey for decades, went through a bad patch over the last two years but Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University coach Bedford has moulded together an exciting team that plays structured hockey and has the ideal mix between young and older players.

Border, with legendary hockey personality from East London Pat Smith playing a key role in managing the side from the side of the field, are another province that has had a long culture in the game – and their resurgence is also vital to the health of the country’s hockey strength.

For KZN Inland, the future is worrying. Unlike fellow strugglers Pens and Wits, Inland are a provincial first team, and should they go down it might spell the end of their reign in A Section SPAR hockey.

Coach Kegan Walters and Captain Robyn Pearson, new to the province after coming to Pietermaritzburg as a teacher at one of the top private schools in the KZN midlands, is from Maties in Stellenbosch, and her stint in the WP league as opened her eyes to the lack of strength that prevails in her new province’s hockey league.

The question of Country Districts players putting the SA Country Districts side ahead of their first obligation, KZN Midlands, also hurts and is clearly a sore point with Pearson and coach Walters.

RESULTS
A Section SPAR Trophy:
KZN Inland 2 North West 8; Witwatersrand 0 KZN Coastals Raiders 7; Southern Gauteng 10 WP Peninsula 0; Northerns “Blues” 1 Western Province 0.

B Section President’s Cup:
Free State 0 Northern Cape 3; SA Country Districts 2 Southern Cape 0; Border 4 Namibia 1; Northerns B 2 Eastern Province 5


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