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Tebogo strikes for semis

A last-minute goal by Tebogo Lerole in Thursday’s late game of the national men’s interprovincial hockey tournament in Randburg gave hosts Southern Gauteng the draw they needed to get into Friday’s semi-finals.

The 1-1 stalemate with KZN Inland, who had earlier scored a stunning goal by Damian Kimfley after a superb through-ball from the inspired Travis Hardnick, will now see Southerns up against unbeaten Pool B winners Western Province in the first semi-final, while Pool A winners, the unbeaten, two-time defending champion KZN Coastal Raiders, will meet the impressive Northern Gauteng Blues in the other last-four showdown.

The Raiders were in superb form in beating the impressive young Witwatersrand side 5-1 with the return of drag-flick king Gareth Carr and the inspiration of midfielders Taine Paton and Tim Drummond providing the catalyst for a five-star performance.

Raiders captain Lloyd Madsen, striker Marvin Harper and Carr are strong personalities and their experience at international level alongside fellow SA players Paton and Drummond is welding the Durban boys into a tight unit.

Drummond netted twice, with Paton, Carr and Harper also getting on the scoresheet as they used their tactical nous to draw excellent young Wits goalkeeper Michael Smith and his defence out of position with short, sharp passes in the scoring zone.

Northerns welcomed back another drag-flick wizard in Justin Reid-Ross and his considerable presence galvanized the Blues into their best performance to date, with Nick Gonsalves and Michael Sykes bagging a brace apiece to lead the scoring in the 7-0 drubbing of WP Peninsula.

Western Province are the team of the tournament to date and their structured, polished hockey with provincial captain Andrew Cronje and national captain Austin Smith showing the way, brought them a 4-1 win over a spirited Eastern Province.

The silky Smith netted a smoothly taken penalty corner, before a stunning Lloyd Norris-Jones action goal was followed by more from Matt Botha and Ian Haley. Perhaps it was EP’s shock match-opening goal from the stick of Satchi Reddy that galvanized WP into action. The Capetonians went into the match having already booked their birth in the semi-final as early as Wednesday.

The second-tier B Section doesn’t have semi-finals but takes the top team in Pool A and the winners of Pool B straight into Saturday’s final countdown and the chance of winning promotion to the elite A Section for next year’s IPT.

At this stage it looks to be Free State against North West, although KZN Mynahs are not out of the reckoning yet.

RESULTS

A Section: Northern Gauteng Blues 7 WP Peninsula 0; Western Province 4 Eastern Province 1; KZN Coastal Raiders 5 Witwatersrand 2; Southern Gauteng 1 KZN Inland 1
B Section: North West 10 Southern Gauteng Shumbas 3; Free State 5 Eastern Gauteng 1; KZN Mynahs 6 Southern Cape 0; Amathole (Border) 4 Southern Gauteng Nuggets 3.


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