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Ken Borland


Maties & Wits busy trying to catch top sides

Posted on May 12, 2016 by Ken

 

The University of Pretoria Tuks and the hosts, the University of Johannesburg, were at the top of the log after activities ceased in the first leg of Varsity Hockey’s men’s competition with the two Gauteng universities having won all four of their games, earning 12 points.

Tuks are in first place, having been more active in terms of scoring goals, with 15 being netted by the Pretoria students, who conceded just five for a goal-difference of +10.

UJ, after starting with a bang in a 5-3 win over Maties, were embroiled in three tough games thereafter, finishing with 13 goals but conceding eight for a goal-difference of +5.

Maties and Wits will be busy trying to catch Tuks and UJ when the second and final leg of the tournament gets underway in Stellenbosch on Friday, having both won three of their four matches.

Wits are fourth with a goal-difference of +9, while Maties have far and away the best goal-difference with +18. They recovered superbly from their defeat at the hands of UJ on the opening day by shutting out Kovsies 4-0 and NMMU 8-0, before producing an outstanding 9-1 hammering of Pukke to complete their Johannesburg fixtures.

Given their performances in their last three games and the fact that they will be playing at home, Maties could well be the side to beat.

UCT and NMMU, both with three points after one win, have an outside chance of making the semi-finals, with both playing the sides below them in the standings – Kovsies and Pukke – on the first two days in Stellenbosch.

It’s going to take quite a collapse though by Wits, who were impressive through their first three games at UJ before suffering a shock defeat at the hands of UCT on the final day.

The Stellenbosch leg starts on Friday at 1.30pm and it’s a massive clash between the two Johannesburg neighbours, UJ and Wits, that gets things started.

It will have a major impact on the log with UJ either going clear at the top or Wits joining them and Tuks on 12 points.

With wonderful players such as Taylor Dart, Gareth Heyns and Brynn Cleak – all members of the Southern Gauteng team who won the senior IPT  a fortnight ago, as well as Courtney Halle, Kyle Lion-Cachet, Tyson Dlungwana, Ryan Crowe and Amkelwa Letuka, who all played for the SA U21 team that lost in the final, UJ have plenty of scope for improvement.

Maties are also a powerful outfit, however, with goalkeeper Rob McKinley, Charles Bowren, Matt de Sousa and Alex Stewart from the SA U21 team and Western Province players in Dylan Swanepoel, Shannon Boucher, James Drummond, Keenan Horne and Daniel Bell. Former SA Schools player Reece Arendse is also a penetrative forward.

The Southern Gauteng B side, Wits, missed out on a semi-final place in the men’s IPT in a shootout against the SA U21s and they have several players in the Wits University side – Joshua Casaleiro, Kamal Ramburuth-Hurt, Rusten Abrahams, Brandon James, Chad Futcher, Stuart Philip and Thabang Modise – making them a dangerous unit.

Tuks have full internationals in Richard Pautz and Grant Glutz providing them with bite up front, while SA U21 caps Nduduzo Lembethe, Khumo Mokale and Tevin Kok also shone at UJ. Michael Marki is a former junior international and was the rock of their defence.

Tuks take on Maties in a massive game on the opening day and the local favourites will then meet Wits on Saturday, before ending the round-robin stage with a local derby against UCT.

Log (goal-difference in brackets): 1 Tuks 12pts (+10); 2 UJ 12pts (+5); 3 Maties 9pts (+18); 4 Wits 9pts (+9); 5 UCT 3pts (-1); 6 NMMU 3pts (-13); 7 Kovsies 0pts (-10); 8 Pukke 0pts (-18).

http://varsitysportssa.com/maties-wits-trying-catch-top-sides-heading-stellenbosch-leg-varsity-hockey/

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