PHL 2017 | Previewing the Ladies Tournament

The 2017 Premier Hockey League is upon us after its initial delay earlier this year. We gave the men their moment earlier this week and today is the turn of the Ladies. Can anyone stop the 2016 champions the Blyde River Bunters?

Wineland Wings

The Wings were incredible last year in that they only lost one game in regulation play (and that was to bottom team OR Rafters). What was more incredible was that in their four draws they lost all four showdowns. The recruitment to the team of the brilliant Tarryn Glasby will be a massive coup for the team while the fantastic Marcelle Manson is the new assistant coach, bringing a PHL winners medal with her. The team is not full of the most renown names in SA Hockey but I think the ladies will do quite well as they have a fantastic core to build around.

Sports 24 Seven Prediction – Semi-Finalists

St. Lucia Lakers

I really like this squad although I still feel they will struggle with goals. Shelley Jones and Quanita Bobbs will be integral to their chances of success and Inky Zondi is a very impressive coach. They are arguably lacking the star quality in goal that some other teams possess and this could be a big swing factor for them. I hope they prove me wrong but I see them as missing out on the final four.

Sports 24 Seven Prediction – Missing Semi-Finals

Blyde River Bunters

They managed to hang on to Lindsey Wright as head coach and have South Africa’s best goalkeeper in Phumi Mbande. In front of her will be superstar Celia Evans and national skipper Nicolene Terblanche, last years player of the tournament. Incredibly they only conceded 4 goals in 7 games last year and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same. Throw in some exciting young talent and this remains the team to beat, but I think there is one team that could do it…

Sports 24 Seven Prediction – Runner-Up

Orange River Rafters

On paper last year this was a side that looked good, they failed to live up to that. Shaun Hulley has now taken over the reigns and been given a fantastic squad. Sulette Damons and Dirkie Chamberlain are capable of scoring goals at will, while Jessica de Bruyn-Smith is an incredibly underrated defender. I think they have enough about them to challenge this year in a better way, but will be just short at the end.

Sports 24 Seven Prediction – Semi-Finalists

Madikwe Rangers

Last year they were led by Robin van Ginkel to the final and inspired by Lisa Deeltifs. This year “Pam” has moved to the SA U21 squad, but its a loss that will not be heavily felt as the superb Tsoanelo Pholo will captain the ship. Pholo is someone who will fight with Pam and Lindsey for the role as the National coach when Sheldon Rostron stops one day and this is an early chance to show who is the boss. Bernadette Coston, Mmatshepo Modipane, and Lilian du Plessis make this a special team, who have also coaxed Anel van Deventer out of “Retirement”. Londeka Dlamini and Robyn Pinder are extremely exciting and I back these ladies to lift the trophy on the 12th.

Sports 24 Seven Prediction – Winners

Namaqualand Daisies

Now Robin van Ginkel has a different challenge on his hands. The 42 player SA U21 squad was cut to 20 for PHL and Pam has a few special players in the midst. Simone Gouws made our team of the tournament last year, Kristen Paton and Ongeziwe Mali impressed for the Junior WC squad, while Tegan Fourie is someone we are big fans of here at S42Seven. The challenge for the Daisies is they are from all over the country and this is their first time together. I expect them to have a tough opening weekend against two good sides and they might be a little too far back by the time everything clicks into place. I’m going with narrowly missing out on semi-finals but maybe only by alphabetical order.

Sports 24 Seven Prediction – Missing Semi-finals

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