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Goals galore at mens hockey interprovincial

Monday’s second day of the BDO Men’s Interprovincial hockey tournament in Cape Town brought a galaxy of goals and some most exciting matches.

Top-tier A Section action saw six matches: KZN Inland beat North West 6-1, KZN Raiders beat Western Province Peninsula 3-1, Southern Gauteng beat Free State 4-2; the South Africa Under-21 men’s side demolished KZN Mynahs 15-0; Northern Blues drew 2-2 with Witwatersrand and Tuffy Western Province beat Fain Eastern Province 3-1.

On the first day of B Section action, Border edged EP Settlers 2-1 and Western Province Disas beat a willing Namibia 5-2. While the day was punctuated by some big winning margins, there were also a number of close-run results and one of those matches was that between defending champions Southern Gauteng and rank underdogs Free State.

Southerns, with a dozen players boasting national selection past and present, only led for the last five minutes of the match as a Free State side possessing massive self-belief and refusing to go with the sway of accepted wisdom, first established a 2-0 lead inside the first 17 minutes and then clung on tenaciously to that advantage until the last 10 minutes.

This Free State team under the leadership of coach and Atlanta ’96 Olympian Allistar Fredericks and underrated defender and captain Jaco Fourie got on the scoresheet in the fifth minute when Fourie converted a penalty corner. Nazo Mlakalaka made it 2-0 in the 17th minute when he followed up his initial shot and buried the rebound off SA goalkeeper and Southerns captain Rassie Pieterse’s pads.

Make no mistake, Southerns dominated this match and won 16 penalty corners to Free State’s two from their multiple advances into the strike zone, but keeper Xander van Biljon was inspirational in the Bloemfontein-based side’s goalmouth, while his defenders were also heroic.

The sheer volume of Southerns’ goalscoring opportunities from field play and set-pieces had to count for something in the end ÔÇô and so it proved against a brave but played-out opponent, the Johannesburg lads bagging four goals in the last 15 minutes through Brandon Panther, Dean Symons, Ricky West and Miguel da Graca.

South African Under-21, in the tournament under special dispensation in order to prepare for the Junior World cup in Delhi, India in December, had drag-flick wizard James Drummond in irresistible form against hapless KZN Mynahs, the hugely talented Capetonian nailing two penalty corners and the same number of field goals inside 13 minutes of first-half mayhem before adding a fifth after the changeover.

The SA juniors played sublime one-touch hockey at times and one of the beneficiaries, with four goals, was Ignatius Malgraff. Patchy at times, the juniors put it together with effect six more times through a brace apiece by Grant Glutz and Matt Brown, and one apiece from Damien Kimfley and Chad Cairncross.

In the late game, Tuffy Western Province withstood some early pressure from Fain Eastern Province before SA striker Lloyd Norris-Jones broke free in the 12th minute to set up national team-mate Pierre de Voux’s first-timer that flew high into the net. EP hit back through former SA forward Geowynne Gamiet before WP captain and double Olympian Andrew Cronje’s penalty stroke a minute before half-time gave the home crowd much to cheer about.

Turning around 2-1 to the good against a highly competitive EP, the WP lads under national assistant coach Pierre le Roux scored one more goal for the deserved 3-1 final score when the red-hot Norris-Jones netted in the 53rd minute.

KZN Inland deserved their 6-1 victory over North West, their goals going to Gavin Jelley (3), Zamo Cele, captain Justin Domleo and Satchi Reddy, while North West’s goal came from Jardus Smith. KZN Coastal led 1-0 at half-time against WP Peninsula via a stunning penalty corner drag-flick from Greg Last. On-song Raiders captain Wade Paton bagged a brace in the second half while Vaughn Erasmus got on the scoresheet for Pens.

Raiders coach Ryan Hack is managing his players well in what will be a marathon seven matches in seven days, taking key players off once he is sure the result is safe.

The Northern Blues match against neighbours Witwatersrand was a hard-fought 2-2 draw, the goals going to Stephen Cant and Emile Odendaal for the Blues while Aiden Lotz scored a magnificent goal for Wits with team-mate Matthew Poval netting the equaliser from the penalty spot two minutes from the end.

The semi-finals and cross-pool play-offs are on Friday with the gold medal and classification matches on Saturday.

MONDAY RESULTS

A Section: KZN Raiders 3 Western Province Peninsula 1; KZN Inland 6 North West 1; Southern Gauteng 4 Free State 2; South Africa U21 15 KZN Mynahs 0; Northern Blues 2 Witwatersrand 2; Tuffy Western Province 3 Fain Eastern Province 1
B Section: Border 2 EP Settlers 1; Western Province Disas 5 Namibia 2

TUESDAY FIXTURES

Hartleyvale Stadium
A Section: SA U21 vs WP Pens (10am); Fain EP vs Free State (12pm); South Gauteng vs North West (2pm); Northern Blues vs KZN Raiders (4pm); Tuffy WP vs KZN Inland (6pm).

Pitch B
A Section: Wits vs Mynahs (11am)
B Section: EP Settlers vs WP Disas (2pm); SA Country Districts vs Namibia (4pm)


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