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Ken Borland



Picture looks rosy for Northerns women’s hockey 0

Posted on May 04, 2016 by Ken

 

The picture looks rosy for Northerns women’s hockey as their young side triumphed in the Senior Interprovincial Nationals at the weekend, showing impressive self-belief as they beat a star-studded, more experienced Southern Gauteng team in a shootout at the Randburg Hockey Stadium.

“We were definitely underdogs if you looked at the names on paper, Southern Gauteng are a powerhouse who have won many IPTs. But we took each game as it comes and we played very good hockey to get through the semi-finals. To beat North-West 4-0 was a very good performance and I was a bit concerned that we wouldn’t be able to reach that peak again.

“We were very nervous in the first half of the final, we showed our inexperience, but I knew if we could just keep them out then we could claw our way back. The players began to believe in themselves and put more pressure on. It was actually a blessing that we went 1-0 down because I told them ‘now we have to chase the game’.

“You can’t do all that work to get to the final and then just not play, so we began to pass the ball, be positive, and it felt like we shifted the momentum. We were winning more 50/50s, winning those one-on-one battles and we had more shots at goal,” coach Lindsay Wright told The Citizen.

“It’s very exciting and I believe it was some of the best hockey Northerns have ever played, the girls really stood up, which was wonderful. Northerns have tended to not play good hockey in the right moments, they tended to not get through semi-finals, although they were always recognised for their doggedness, their never-say-die attitude.

“We’re basically a university-based team, 90% of our players come through Tuks, so they’re all inexperienced and youthful and we rely heavily on the more experienced players. Tuks will attract more players and we have good schools, but we need to produce more locally-based players and keep them in the province, and then we will potentially build a powerhouse team,” Wright added.

Northerns are likely to lose KZN product Jacinta Jubb, their leading goalscorer, but it is certainly not doom and gloom for them. Player of the Tournament Celia Evans, in particular, is a phenomenal talent.

“Celia is one of the best players in the country right now and she is a real all-rounder, not just in terms of her hockey talent but in terms of what she gives to the team and her fellow players. She’s like Nicolene Terblanche and Kim Hubach, who have been there and done that and who constantly give to those who have less experience, which is the true sign of a very talented player,” Wright said.

Any champion side learns from their mistakes and Wright admitted that their failure to defend their title last year, when Southern Gauteng won the IPT, had been taken on board and thoroughly analysed.

Northens hockey is on the rise and the traditional powerhouses have been warned.

“The girls never gave up and their energy was fantastic. We took the lessons from last year and changed things round,” Wright said.

Ruthless Southern Gauteng claim title in emphatic fashion 0

Posted on May 04, 2016 by Ken

 

Southern Gauteng claimed the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals men’s title in the most emphatic manner with a ruthlessly efficient 5-1 victory over the SA U21s in the final at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

 

The greater experience of the Southern Gauteng team was shown by their tremendous composure in defence, the SA U21s certainly threatening more than the scoreline would suggest. Up front, the home team were clinical, with Stuart Spooner and Julian Hykes taking full advantage of what were no more than half-chances for their goals.

 

Both teams took a while to settle down in a nervy first quarter, that finished goalless, with just one short-corner to Southern Gauteng.

Spooner opened the scoring in the 21st minute with an impressive reverse-sticks shot from an angle, but there is such talent in this SA U21 side that it was not much of a surprise when they equalised moments later, the hard-working Matthew de Sousa setting up a short-corner and then managing to get the ball past the daunting frame of national goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse with a clever deflection.

But Southern Gauteng were extremely dangerous on the break and less than a minute had passed when they were back in front, Clinton Panther rounding the defence and flipping the ball back for Brad Venter to pop it into goal.

 

When Hykes was gifted the ball at the top of the SA U21 circle by a foolish mistake but blasted his shot over the goal, it went down as a potentially crucial moment as Southern Gauteng went into halftime 2-1 up.

 

But the mark of a champion team has often been described as the ability to lift their performance by a notch under pressure and Southern Gauteng did just that as they came out for the third quarter and blew the SA U21s away with three goals.

A strong run by Brandon Panther set up a short-corner, from which Gareth Heyns gave a perfect example of a drag-flick into the top right of the net.

 

Southern Gauteng then gave a masterclass in exerting pressure as they squeezed the SA U21s into the left corner, eventually forcing the defence to gift possession away. Clinton Panther pounced, found Hykes, who crossed for Brynn Cleak to slot the fourth goal.

 

A pinpoint, perfectly-struck reverse-sticks shot by Hykes in the 42nd minute brought the fifth and final goal.

Southern Gauteng, patient and composed, structurally aware and able to read the game so well, were the worthiest of champions.

http://www.sahockey.co.za/tournaments/233-ruthless-southern-gauteng-claim-title-in-emphatic-fashion

WP Peninsula ready for the move back to A Section 0

Posted on May 03, 2016 by Ken

 

Western Province Peninsula ensured that they will move back into the hockey IPT A Section should there be promotion as they clinched the men’s B Section title in the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals with a convincing 5-1 victory over KZN Mynahs in the final in Randburg on Saturday.

Peninsula went into a 2-0 lead at halftime through a penalty stroke by Reece Arendse and a field goal by Warren McEwan and, although Mynahs pulled a goal back through Kovin Moodley four minutes after the break, the WP B side made their move early in the final quarter as McEwan completed his hat-trick with two impressive field goals in two minutes.

Kyle Lottering added the finishing touches to an impressive week for Peninsula, who won the A IPT in 2014 in one of the most sensational results in SA hockey history, as he added the fifth goal three minutes from time.

North-West enjoyed a small consolation for their semifinal defeat in a shootout at the hands of the Mynahs as they won the bronze medal with a 6-3 win over Zimbabwe, dominating the second half with Francois Cilliers scoring a brace.

B Section results

Men’s B Section final: WP Peninsula 5 (Reece Arendse, Warren McEwan [3], Kyle Lottering) KZN Mynahs 1 (Kovin Moodley).

Women’s B Section final: WP Peninsula 2 (Kayde Miller, Robyn Pinder) KZN Mynahs 1 (Stacey Hiron).

Men’s B Section bronze medal: North-West 6 (Francois Cilliers [2], Killian Ludick, Mitesh Makan, Neil van Onselen, Pierre Bothma) Zimbabwe 3 (Luckson Sikisa, Edwin Tholanah, Arnold Mpofu).

Women’s B Section bronze medal: Zimbabwe 4 (Michelle Williams [2], Michelle Mollins [2]) KZN Inland 0.

Men’s B Section: 5th-6th SA Country Districts 2 (Ryan Innes, Etienne Blatt) Northerns B 1 (Reece Mowatt); 7th-8th Eastern Gauteng 3 (Kyle Cameron, Darren Ellis, Bradley Nunn) KZN Inland 0.

Women’s B Section: 5th-6th Mpumalanga 2 (Jeanri Naude, Linze Liversage) Southern Gauteng Nuggets 1 (Jerri Dennyschen); 7th-8th SA Country Districts 5 (Robyn Morgan, Anel Beukes, Marelie Devereux  [2], Andri van Heerden) Northerns B 3 (Chanel Dippenaar, Hanlie Podd, Ane Luus).

Final placings

Men: 1 WP Peninsula; 2 KZN Mynahs; 3 North-West; 4 Zimbabwe; 5 SA Country Districts; 6 Northerns B; 7 Eastern Gauteng; 8 KZN Inland.

Women: 1 WP Peninsula; 2 KZN Mynahs; 3 Zimbabwe; 4 KZN Inland; 5 Mpumalanga; 6 Southern Gauteng Nuggets; 7 SA Country Districts; 8 Northerns B.

http://www.sahockey.co.za/tournaments/229-wp-peninsula-men-claim-b-section-crown

Hockey’s junior stars are talented & transformed 0

Posted on May 03, 2016 by Ken

 

The South African men’s U21 team played in the final of the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals in Randburg on Saturday, showing that there is plenty of young talent coming through the ranks. But they are also thoroughly transformed with eight players of colour in the squad, including six Black Africans, showing that hockey is heading away from the representivity frustrations that have dogged them in the past.

And while “quotas” is a word bandied about by the older generation, it is not a hip word when it comes to hockey’s rising young talent.

“It hasn’t been difficult at all to find players of colour for the team because these guys have come through the age-groups, they’ve played together in the U16s and U18s, where there is a heck of a lot of good quality. The core of this side have played Tests together for the SA U18s and made the Junior Olympics semi-finals with the SA U17s, both under Neville Rothman, my assistant coach.

“So there are no quota – I hate that word – players in the team. They were all born after 1995 and have played in every national team together, so there is no baggage. They say it themselves in team meetings that the colour of your skin makes no difference. There’s a very positive feeling in this squad, there’s such a positive culture,” SA U21 coach Garreth Ewing said.

The players of colour in the current squad that is beating seasoned professionals at the senior IPT are composed midfielder Tyson Dlungwana, defender Nduduza Lembethe, Ryan Julius, an elusive runner with the ball, forward Khumo Mokale, the skilful Nqobile Ntuli, pacy Tevin Kok, solid Amkelwa Letuka and goalkeeper Siyavuya Nolutshungu, and they would comfortably be playing in this IPT for their provincial sides were they not on national duty.

“Obviously we do pay close attention to the players of colour, but a lot of them are our best players. Some of them are going to be superstars. They have a long way to go, but their ability and decision-making under pressure is already so good. I can’t wait to see where they all go, six of them already have full national caps,” Ewing said.

Ewing, who has considerable experience coaching both locally and internationally, clearly likes the emphasis on bringing through players of colour that has to be there if South African hockey are to get back to where they want to be – in the upper echelons of the world game.

“What is coming through underneath shows that there is so much potential. We’re not afraid of targets, we embrace them. Things don’t happen overnight, but we’re getting there. The guys play with such joy and style, their hockey is so attractive,” Ewing said.

Most encouragingly, Black coaches are also starting to come through. The losing semi-finalists, KZN Raiders and the Northerns Blues, are coached by Sihle Ntuli and Krinesan Moodley respectively. WP Peninsula are coached by Denzil Dolley and the team they played in the B Section final, KZN Mynahs, are mentored by Sharmin Naidoo

Patrick Tshutshani is Ewing’s counterpart with the junior women, Ryan Pillay coached the Western Province women’s team and even the Mpumalanga women’s team have a Black African coach in Brighty Mshaba.

Numerous other players of colour have shone with Jermaine Johnson and Julian Hykes both playing key roles in getting Southern Gauteng into the men’s final, while Pierre de Voux of Western Province and KZN’s Mohamed Mea are two newer players that are going to have the national selectors’ eyes on them.

The story is the same in the women’s section: Southern Gauteng are going to take on Northerns Blues in the final with Sanani Mangisa their stalwart in goal and Toni Marks and Lisa Hawker two of their man threats up front.

Northerns have Mmatshepo Modipane in goal.

But there is a challenge that SA Hockey will need outside help to overcome and, as ever, it is a financial one.

“The financial challenges for the previously disadvantaged players is huge. Consider the cost of going to our world cup – and the players have to pay! My biggest fear is having to leave someone behind because they can’t afford it,” Ewing says sombrely.



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