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Four sides stay unbeaten at men’s interprovincial

The third day of the BDO Men’s Interprovincial hockey tournament at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town on Tuesday saw four sides maintain 100% win records, reports Jon Cook.

Tuffy Western Province and Southern Gauteng in Pool A, and KZN Raiders and South Africa Under-21 in Pool B were all victorious.

In the early matches South Africa Under-21 recorded a 5-1 defeat of WP Peninsula after leading 3-0 at half-time, their goals going to Andrew Manson, Keenan Horne, Damian Kimfley, Grant Glutz and Ross Hetem. Pens scored through Vaughn Erasmus.

Head coach Darryn Gallagher’s lads are putting together a hatful of superbly constructed goals in this tournament, many of them being finished off in the nine-yard box. Kimfley’s was a magnificent finish, while at the other end goalkeeper Richard Curtis made an absolutely brilliant save that had class written all over it.

Reigning champs Southern Gauteng beat a committed North West 4-0 after leading 2-0 at half-time, the strikes courtesy of Owen Mvimbi (2), Clint Panther and Brandon Panther.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿KZN Inland were on the receiving end in the late game, Tuffy Western Province running out 8-0 winners after leading 3-0 at half-time.

With a small pool of players to choose from, Inland ÔÇô who suffered seven late withdrawals largely to injury but also to work and study commitments ÔÇô were only able to come to the tournament with 14 of a permitted 18 players and this meant WP’s rolling substitutes’ bench had seven players to Inland’s three.

It was a massive advantage and so there was no surprise that four of the WP goals came in the last 11 minutes.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿In the fifth minute a fine run by Robin Jones saw the Inland centre back a little aggrieved at a decision against him when he was in a good position. In the eighth minute, the Haley brothers, strikers Ian and Craig, had half-chances from close-in for Tuffy Western Province during a hectic goalmouth skirmish, at the end of which Craig Haley was sent to the sin-bin for a short spell.

In the 11th minute WP won a penalty corner, a decision that displeased an Inland defender to the point where Olympic Games umpire Gary Simmonds pulled out his sin-bin cards again, and the upshot was attempts at goal by WP’s Matt Anderson and Warren Grobler against 10-man Inland before Matt Botha made certain with the third attempt (1-0).

At the other end Inland’s Matt Coombes was body-checked in the 23-metre area by Grobler and a PC ensued, which WP did well to repel. In the 20th minute of a hotly-contested match, Lloyd Norris-Jones got in a shot that was rebuffed by Inland keeper Joel Barron but two minutes later WP skipper Andrew Cronje made no mistake on his way to a hat-trick with a powerful, low drag-flick penalty corner goal to Barron’s left that smashed into the backboard (2-0).

And Raaghib Fredericks nailed down WP’s claim on the match when he finished clinically in the 35th and last minute of the first half, this after Barron had made a good save hardly 30 seconds before.

Turning around 3-0 to the good, the in-form SA striker Norris-Jones added the fourth goal in the 44th minute and midway through the half WP keeper Jacques le Roux did well to save twice from an Inland penalty corner.

With 11 minutes left Cuan Burton-Moore made it 5-0 from field play and Cronje added two more in the 64th and 68th minutes. Norris-Jones got his second goal in the 69th for an 8-0 final score.

KZN Raiders outplayed Northern Blues of Pretoria 4-1 after leading 3-0 at half-time. The Raiders’ goalscorers were Geoff Abbott (sixth minute), Wade Paton (penalty stroke, 13th), Jarryd Jones (20th) and Taine Paton (44th) while Frankie Odendaal (penalty stroke, 47th) ┬ágot on the scoresheet for the Blues.

Moving the ball with pace and precision across the length and breadth of the pitch, the Raiders were able to carve out quality chances that were buried in the back of the net by the hungry goalscorers. But that is not to say Raiders’ goals were not put under pressure at times and keeper Gowan Jones was forced to make a number of good saves.

One of the tournament’s more unusual goals started down the right and eventually saw Raiders’ hardworking, classy forward Mondli Dlamini brought down by Blues goalkeeper Alex Petzer as he was about to shoot. Umpire Sean Rappaport immediately pointed to the penalty spot and banished Petzer to the sin-bin. Petzer duly went off, as well as another Blues player, who was substituted for Blues’ number two keeper Estiaan Kriek.

Up stepped the composed Wade Paton, the outstanding Raiders captain, who duly nailed the penalty stroke into the bottom-left corner past a helpless Kriek.

The Raiders, now with three wins from three starts, are certain to qualify for Friday’s semi-finals and the crunch match to see who finishes top of Pool B will be Wednesday’s clash with South Africa U21, who also have a 100% win record.

The key for Raiders has been to establish winning leads relatively early in the second halves of their matches, which has enabled coach Ryan Hack to rest some of his top players and give the less-experienced members of his team more game time in an unthreatening environment.

Free State beat Eastern Province 2-1 in a hard-fought affair after leading 1-0 at half-time. The Free State goals went to Desmond de Koker and Kurt Hensberg, while captain Lyall Meyer replied for EP.

The KZN Mynahs’ losing streak continued when they lost 4-1 to Witwatersrand, despite the Durban side’s Kyle Thompson opening the scoring after 19 minutes. Wits came back to lead 2-2 at half-time. Wits’ four goals went to a Matt Povall hat-trick┬á with Jaryd Povall getting the fourth.

In the lower-tier B Section tournament, defending champs SA Country Districts under head coach Craig West got their campaign under way when they beat Namibia 5-1 after leading 3-0 at half-time. Matthew Wills nailed two penalty corners while Sean Mackenzie, Trevor Gower and Jesse Gonsalves got CD’s other goals with Etienne de Villiers replying for Namibia early in the second half.

The result has left Wednesday’s fixture against the WP Disas ÔÇô who have two wins from two starts ÔÇô an intriguing prospect and one sure to test the tactical acumen of West and his rival mentor, Jamie Kroukamp.

WP Disas, the WP third side, beat EP Settlers 4-2.

TUESDAY RESULTS

A Section: SA U21 5 WP Pens 1; Wits 4 KZN Mynahs 1; Free State 2 Fain EP 1; South Gauteng 4 North West 0; KZN Raiders 4 Northern Blues 1, Tuffy WP 8 KZN Inland 0
B Section: WP Disas 4 EP Settlers 2; SA Country Districts 5 Namibia 1

WEDNESDAY FIXTURES

Stadium
A Section: Wits vs Pens (10 am); Southerns vs KZN Inland (12 pm); SA U21 vs KZN Raiders (2 pm); Northern Blues vs KZN Mynahs (4 pm); Tuffy WP vs Free State (6 pm)

Pitch B
A Section: EP vs North West (11 am)
B Section: SACD vs WP Disas (2 pm); Border vs Namibia (4 pm)


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