It was an incredible weekend of Premier League hockey. 10 games, 34 goals, 1 shoot out and tons of hockey memories. The hockey revolution has started off with a bang. Here at Sports 24 Seven we dont like to run match reports and press releases, that you can find anywhere else, here we like to give you original opinion and something you don’t find elsewhere. So in our first weekly update we will pick out a game of the weekend, team of the weekend, player of the week and goal of the week. We will round it off with some input from some of the players themselves.
Game of the Week (Men) – Mambas 3-2 Elephants
Hard not to look at the opening game of the inaugural tournament that produced some scintillating hockey and a fantastic viewer friendly game. It took just four minutes for the first ever goal in PHL history when Brandon Panther scored a delightful reverse stick drive. Ross Hetem would notch the second but the Addo Elephants fought back with a stunning team goal by Damian Kimfley. Arguably player of the match Ignatius Malgraff popped up to score the equaliser and leave the game destined for a shootout. But Hetem would notch up the winner in the final Chukka to cement history for the Mambas.
Game of the Week (Women) – Bunters 2-1 Rafters
When two of the biggest legends of SA Womens Hockey are the two coaches, the interest level will immediately rise. It was the Pietie Coetzee led Orange River Rafters that took the lead through a sensational individual goal by Simone Gouws. But current National skipper Nicolene Terblanche led her Blyde River Bunters back through a fantastic fightback and goals by Bianca Wood and Lauren Nina. A marker had been laid down by the Bunters!
Team of the Week (Men) – Golden Gate Gladiators
The SA U21 men, playing as the Golden Gate Gladiators, were simply outstanding and proved just how good they were in defense when you saw what the Gazelles did in their next match. They also kept their heads incredibly well in a very heated match. Coach Garreth Ewing will be happy with his team in the first week. With the likes of national goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse remarking that they look the favourites already!
Team of the Week (Women) – Blyde River Bunters
Lindsey Wright’s side first beat the much fancied Orange River Rafters in their opening match but faced a confident Wineland Wings in the second match. The Wings had emerged victorious by 4 goals thanks to some great attacking play in their opening game, but the Bunters thwarted every attack and will only be disappointed that they had to survive a shootout rather than winning it in regulation time. Still if you had offered Nicolene Terblanche six points at the end of the opening weekend, she would have grabbed your hand for it.
Goal of the Week (Men) – Nick Gonsalves (Mambas) vs. Dragons
There were some outstanding goals this week, particularly in the men’s tournament, with Cameron Mackay finishing after a run from Clinton Panther that was so good few would believe your description. Clinton’s brother Brandon scored a cracker in the opening game and of course the team goal by Damian Kimfley will live long in the memory. But the goal by Nick Gonsalves for the Mambas on day 2 against the Dragons was my personal favourite. There is something beautiful about a top corner, reverse stick shot.
Goal of the Week (Women) – Simone Gouws (Rafters) vs. Bunters
Just watch the highlights video of the Rafters vs. the Bunters up top. Its the opening goal. Class.
Player of the Week (Men) – Ryan Julius (Golden Gate Gladiators)
Ryan’s meteoric rise will continue after yet another display on the major stage where he stood up. His rise to the Indoor and outdoor national sides to earn caps is well marked and on the day he was once again fantastic, taking his opportunity exceedingly well. I really do believe that Ryan will have an outstanding career in SA Hockey. Special mention also to Clinton Panther who once again showed just how good he is for the Maropeng Caveman.
Player of the Week (Women) – Lisa-Marie Deetlefs (Madikwe Rangers)
Ryan may just be a novice in terms of national hockey, but Lisa-Marie showed that experience is often a differentiator in tight games. Lisa was firstly exceptional in her leadership role for her team and capped off a fantastic weekend for with two great goals including the match winner! Special mention to Tarryn Glasby too who was fantastic in a losing cause!
A view from the Players
“It was a great opening ceremony in the morning and it was really exciting to see the support the government has given the sport. Its also great to have the five year deal with Supersport and to get more hockey on tv. In terms of the hockey on the weekend, the Addo Elephants showed they will not sit back and have great combinations with Julian Hykes, Ignatius Malgraff and Richard Pautz. The Mambas dangerman and man to watch is Brandon Panther, he will be fantastic up front. The Gazelles may have lost against the Gladiators but they look extremely dangerous, especially the front three of Lloyd Norris Jones, Keenan Horne and JP de Voux. They showed in their second game they are a lethal team when on song. The Gladiators will probably be the favourites and they are fantastically consistent. The Dragons, who we played, have a dangerous shorty and are a force up front with Grant Glutz and Tim Drummond. We were happy with our performance on the weekend, the Dragons looked really tough on paper. We were lucky that Clinton was fit after losing Miguel da Graca to a broken toe and scored some good goals through Cameron Mackay and Lance Louw from the flick. I think a lot of video analysis will be going on this week and you can expect that the level of hockey will be even better next week. Although I think the Gladiators might be the favourite, anyone can win this!”
“Having come into the weekend without much game time between us, it was always going to be tough playing the Gladiators as they have some valuable connection time over the past 18 months. We did play really well against them and we missed a couple of good opportunities, but in the second game against the Elephants we were brilliant in our composure in the D and made sure a few guys got their goalscoring confidence going! We are looking forward to the next weeks fixtures and continuing to grow and develop as a team!”
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