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Southerns take title

Coach Ryan Millela’s Southern Gauteng team won the SPAR Women’s Inter-provincial Hockey Tournament with a 2-1 victory over KZN Coastals Raiders at the Tshwane University of Technology Hockey Stadium in Pretoria Saturday.

“It’s fantastic to win IPT again, from the players who were in the last title-winning side in Pietermaritzburg four years ago to the players who have had their first taste of senior IPT success,” said Southerns and SA captain Marsha Marescia.

The Johannesburg-based Southerns team celebrated with joy on receiving the trophy from SPAR Sponsorship Manager Nonkosi Xaba.

Southerns coach Ryan Millela said the whole team put their hands up when needed.

Coastals coach Lennie Botha said a top four finish was their aim but they had gone one better in having “a real chance to win gold”.

Coastals Captain Crista Cullen echoed her coach’s thoughts, and said the Raiders needed to have put more pressure on Southerns goalkeeper Leandre Janse van Rensburg.

Southerns, who dominated the first 25 minutes with their high tempo brand of total hockey, went into half-time at 0-0 with a gutsy Raiders, and one wondered if they hadn’t squandered a gilt-edged opportunity to build a comfortable cushion at the changeover.

Perhaps this realisation sparked their storming second-half salvo and Tsoanelo Pholo opened the scoring inside a minute after the break. The outstanding Bernadette Coston earned a penalty corner and Pholo netted (1-0).

Hardly 60 seconds later Leeanne Neilson’s cross saw Pholo perfectly positioned to score her second (2-0). Pholo (nine goals) was the top IPT Top Goalscorer, while the consistent, skilled and cool Lisa Deetlefs was the deserved Player of the Tournament.

Raiders certainly had their chances but Southerns held the edge in this Trophy final. Raiders captain Crista Cullen’s girls were not finished yet, though, and their brave comeback was rewarded when my player of the match Jen Wilson netted a reverse-stick scorcher with 27 minutes left. But it was not enough as Southerns’ kept their heads till the final whistle had blown.

Coach Linda Bedford’s Eastern Province won the B Section President’s Cup final 5-1 against Border in the Eastern Cape derby.

EP captain Liesel Dorothy was in superb form and bagged a top-class hat-trick for the Nelson Mandela Bay girls with the rest coming from Cayleigh Immelman and Camilla Forbes, while Cally Marshall replied for the East Londoners.

“It was very frustrating, as we let in some soft goals but credit to EP, they were the better team on the day,” said Border captain Marcelle Keet.

“My team gave 100% and I couldn’t have asked for more from them,” said Border coach Greg Beling.


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