THE Joy Watt Provincial Girls hockey tournament has been taking place at the AB Jackson Greenfields Turf and the Pape’s Astro at Maritzburg College.
The close proximity of the two synthetic turf hockey pitches has afforded easy access for the considerable number of supporters to watch the different age-group district competitions taking place. And this is a big tournament — 40 district teams from all over KwaZulu-Natal in the hunt for top honours.
Breaking it down, the tournament consists of 10 teams from throughout KZN in each of the age groups — U14, U16, U18 and U19.
More than 850 players are involved and the KZN Education Department’s co-curricular support services have played a major role in financing the event.
This is the first time teams were selected in districts and the tournament is being used to select the KZN teams that will be representing the KZN Inland and KZN Coastals hockey provinces in the national IPTs in a few weeks time.
Very exciting matches have taken place in both the U16 and U19 age groups between Pinetown and Umgungundlovu Districts in particular. And this contest in the U18 age group is likely to be the best match of the tournament.
Some of the terrific matches so far include the following:
U19 — Umgungundlovu 3 Pinetown 2
A foul on the goal line by Umgungundlovu gave Pinetown’s Kate Koenig an opportunity to score from a penalty flick. Umgungundlovu came out firing after half-time and scored two goals in quick succession through striker Julia Hudson and captain Pippa Stone. But Pinetown had no intention of lying down and applied a great deal of pressure, forcing the Umgungundlovu defence into making errors, and Amy Gibbons made no mistake in making the opposition pay when she netted.
With five minutes from the end Teagan Mill found the net after a well-worked short corner. Spectators were on the end of their seats when Pinetown played with such determination to try to equalise.
U16 — Umgungundlovu 2 Pinetown 1
Going into the game, the Umgungundlovu girls had a superior goal difference of 11, and only needed a draw to make it through to the finals.
It was Pinetown who scored first when Toni van Niekerk found some space in the circle. Umgungundlovu equalised when Vicky Jonker struck the ball and it deflected off a Pinetown defender’s stick into the goals.
Tori Sylvester, who has had an excellent tournament, scored after a great passage of play by the Umgungundlovu team. Umgungundlovu applied immense pressure on the Pinetown team, which saw two of their players being temporarily suspended. With only nine players on the field the Pinetown girls showed a lot of guts and tried their best to level the score, but the Umgungundlovu team kept their composure and did not allow their opposition to get another scoring opportunity.
The finals and the KZN Inland teams for IPT’s all over the country will be in next week’s report.
Meanwhile, the remaining matches in the Parklane SuperSpar A League saw two close contests.
St John’s 1 The Wykeham
This was an evenly contested match with the play being spread on both sides of the field for most of the game.
St John’s put on some pressure and managed to score from a corner in the first half. TWC came back strongly in the second half and had their chances, including a corner as the final whistle went, but were unlucky not to convert. There was some very good play from individuals on both sides and the final score was 1-0 to St John’s.
Carter 0 Howick 0
“This was a fairly evenly matched game,” said Carter coach Marie-Laure Johnson. “Howick had the better of the chances, though, including a penalty stroke, and were relatively unlucky not to win.”
Johnson said the Carter girls didn’t play with the same intensity seen in their last few games, which was a little disappointing. They improved in the second half but couldn’t break down a determined Howick side to leave the final score 0-0.