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Northern Blues start title defence with 11-0 win over Border

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The opening game in the elite A Section of the SA Women’s Interprovincial hockey tournament in Pothefstroom on Tuesday saw Western Province beat Spar KZN Raiders 4-2 after the Capetonians led 2-0 at half-time.
The second match on day one of A Section action featured defending champions Northern Blues against Border, reports Jon Cook.
The outcome was a crushing 11-0 win for Blues, who led 3-0 at half-time, the Pretoria girls’ goals coming from Marguerite van Wyk, Dirkie Chamberlain (4) who is on 192 Test caps for South Africa, Jacinta Jubb, Sammy Prost, Anneke Beukman, a sizzling Kim Hubach penalty corner drag-flick, Anel Luus and a cracking shot from the edge of the strike zone by Northerns and SA captain Nicolene Terblanche (pictured above).
In a hard-fought derby, Southern Gauteng withstood a determined SG Wits and their outstanding defender Luche Klaasen to win 3-0 after leading 1-0 at half-time, Lilian du Plessis bagging a brace from penalty corners with a field goal going to double Olympian Shelley Russell.
The best A Section match of the day was in the late game, the much cooler conditions and vociferous home crowd spurring hosts North West to a 2-1 half-time lead against Free State before the match ended 2-2.
North West’s goals came through a brilliant brace by Lori Hyde while Free State scored through Tanya Britz and Line Malan.
In the opening match, WP enjoyed an excellent first quarter, Megan Robertson’s neat deflection in the third minute affording last year’s finalists a 1-0 lead.
KZN Raiders had the odd ray of sunshine in the 15-minute first stanza but WP dominated territory and possession. The Durban girls did well in the second quarter, improved patience and assurance in their ball movement deserving reward.
Yet WP scored a somewhat soft goal in the 26th when WP striker Taryn Glasby finished clinically for the 2-0 lead at half-time.
The third quarter saw four goals scored in eight minutes of goalmouth mayhem.
Two minutes into the second half (32nd) WP carved acres of space for double Olympian Taryn Bright to surge unchecked into the strike zone before drilling the ball into the backboard (3-0).
WP’s fourth goal came just two minutes later (34th) when Illse Davids’ cross from the left was deftly flicked in by Farah Fredericks (4-0).
The two-goal double blow inside three minutes that took WP four goals clear was the signal for Raiders – led by the fine example of captain Kelly Madsen – to fight back.
Raiders reduced the deficit in the 37th when a variation to the left off a penalty corner – after Kara Stella’s dummy-hit – resulted in Cardeaux Nel slapping the ball firmly into the WP goals (4-1).
Two minutes later (the 39th) the crowd pondered a remarkable turnaround when it was Nel once again who made the strike to narrow the margin further (4-2).
Raiders were gaining in confidence all the time but the rest of the third quarter, as well as a fiercely contested final quarter, yielded no change to the scoreline.
In an entertaining B Section clash on Pitch 2, KZN Inland beat Eastern Province 4-2 after leading 3-1 at half-time.
It was Inland’s Tiffany Jones who stood out amongst a number of in-form players, the striker netting a hat-trick. Her first two goals, superbly taken in the eighth and 12th minutes, resulted in the Pietermaritzburg girls establishing what a match-winning 2-0 lead.
Jones combined with Amy Greaves for her opening strike while right-side defender Jade Macphail set up the second.
Outstanding Inland midfielder Greaves made it 3-0 in the 22nd minute via another field goal before the hardworking Yasmeen Jogie pulled one back two minutes from half-time (28th).
The second half saw play continue to swing from end to end and Jones re-established Inland’s three-goal cushion when she nailed her hat-trick goal with another well-taken strike 12 minutes from full-time (38th).
EP closed the gap three minutes from the end (57th) when captain Nicole Kemp banged in a penalty corner but it was Inland who emerged with the three log points while the Port Elizabeth girls had nothing tangible to show despite a high-energy performance.
The 4-1 scoreline did not reflect the true nature of this hotly contested match.
In the round robin B Section, where there are no playoffs, Namibia and Western Province Peninsula both have a 100% win record after three matches.

RESULTS
A Section (Day 1): WP 4 Spar KZN Raiders 2; Northern Blues 11 Border 0; Southern Gauteng 3 SG Wits 0; North West 2 Free State 2.
B Section (Days 1 to 3):
Day 3: Namibia 4 South Gauteng Nuggets 2; KZN Inland 4 SA Country Districts B 1; KZN Mynahs 5 Mpumalanga 0; WP Peninsula 4 SA Country Districts A 1; KZN Inland 4 Eastern Province 2
Day 2: EP 4 Mpumalanga 1; KZN Inland 6 SG Nuggets 0; WP Pens 7 SACD B 1; Namibia 4 KZN Mynahs 1; SACD A 2 Mpumalanga 1.
Day 1: Mpumalanga 2 SG Nuggets 1; KZN Mynahs 3 SACD A 0; Namibia 5 KZN Inland 2; EP 3 SACD B 0; WP Pens 5 KZN Mynahs 0.

WEDNESDAY FIXTURES
A Section: Border vs Free State (12h00); Spar KZN Raiders vs SG Wits (14h00); WP vs Southern Gauteng (16h00); Northern Blues vs North West (18h00).
B Section: SACD B v Namibia (9h00); EP vs SACD A (10h45); KZN Inland vs Mpumalanga (12h30); KZN Mynahs vs SG Nuggets (14h15); WP Pens vs Namibia (16h00).


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