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Raiders roar on in IPT

Two-time defending champions KZN Coastal Raiders and Witwatersrand earned valuable victories in Pool A of the SA Men’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament at Kaspersky Park in Randburg Wednesday.

The same could be said of Pool B frontrunners Western Province and neighbours Western Province Peninsula.

The results left Southern Gauteng on the outside of the race for a top two semi-final berth from Pool A while Pool B sees WP, with two wins from two starts, already through to Friday’s semi-finals and Northern Gauteng Blues needing a win against Peninsula on Thursday to edge ahead into second place in order to qualify for a last-four spot.

The Raiders took their chances against Southerns to win 3-1 with superb midfielder Taine Paton, striker Teigan Mulholland and in-form central defender and captain Lloyd Madsen finding the net. The real Raiders hero, though, was goalkeeper Gowan Jones, whose breathtaking saves denied Southerns time and time again.

He was only beaten once when a fine stick save from Ricky West’s penalty corner dribbled over the line.

WP shaded Northerns and had a sublime performance from national captain Austin Smith to thank for their two goals, which the midfielder netted from penalty corners. Mark Holliday pulled one back for Northerns in the last minute but WP had already done enough.

Eastern Province, who did so well to draw 0-0 with Northerns on Tuesday, were disappointing against Peninsula in going down 3-0, the Western Cape side’s goals going to Jacques-John Doubell, Matthew Hampson and Cullum Buchanan.

Wits, an exciting young side, were inspired by a brilliant display from SA U21 keeper Michael Smith in beating a disappointing KZN Inland 2-1, their goals coming from Lloyd Nicholson and Marc le Sueur, while Sinalo Sidinana got on the scoresheet for Inland.

In the B Section, rank outsiders Eastern Gauteng caused a massive upset in beating the fancied Border side 2-1, while Free State and North West staked strong claims for a berth in Saturday’s second-tier final and with it a chance of promotion to the 2012 A Section tournament.

Results

A Section: Western Province 2 Northern Gauteng Blues 1; Western Province Peninsula 3 Eastern Province 1; Witwatersrand 2 KZN Inland 1; KZN Coastal Raiders 3 Southern Gauteng 1

B Section: Eastern Gauteng 2 Amathole (Border) 1; North West 7 KZN Inland B 0; Free State 11 SA Country Districts 0; KZN Mynahs 7 Southern Gauteng Shumbas 1


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