If we thought week 1 was great, week 2 of the inaugural Premier Hockey League pulled out all the stops and produced goals, glamour, sensational hockey and a promise for the future of SA Hockey. Once again we look to recap both the men’s and women’s game from a fantastic week of quality hockey.
Game of the Week (Men) – Caveman 3-2 Gladiators
This could easily have gone to the Caveman vs. Gazelles game that was filled with controversy and drama, but ultimately I had to pick their remarkable fight back against the SA U21 side in their guise of the Golden Gate Gladiators. The Gladiators played an outstanding first half of hockey that underlined their status as favourites and deservingly led through Nqobile Ntuli and Khumo Mokale, the second of which was fantastic. The Caveman fought back through Cameron McKay and then there was a bit of controversy in Jarryd Jones equaliser. However with the score level Jacques Bleeker popped up to score the match winner and remain unbeaten!
Game of the Week (Women) – Bunters 1 (3)-(2) 1 Rangers
The Madikwe Rangers are a formidable team and look under the great Lise Deetlifs leadership, but they came up against a team superbly marshaled by Nicolene Terblanche. Having come up against what many thought was their equal in the impressive and similarly undefeated Madikwe Rangers, they displayed for all to see that they are a team which never knows when it is beaten.
First they had to come from a goal down to level matters at one-all at fulltime in what was a tense encounter between two well-organised sides desperate to hold on to their 100% winning records. The Rangers’ Lisa Deetlefs had put them ahead with a sweetly struck short corner, only for the Bunters’ equally reliable source of goals, Lauren Nina, to equalise late in the game. This meant the Bunters were in for their second shootout of the tournament, having won their first. It wasn’t long into the shootout before they were 2-0 down to Deetlefs and Bernadette Costons’s goals.
Yet Nicolene Terblanche and Anel Luus brought it back to two-all before Terblanche got the winner with the 12 shot taken in the shootout. The result is a pristine record reading 13 points from four wins in the same amount of games.
Team of the Week (Men) – Maropeng Caveman
Its hard to look elsewhere, and even though they were on the right side of the interpretation of the law, the Caveman faced arguably the two best sides in the tournament in the Gladiators and the Gazelles. In the one game they had to fight back from behind, in the other they had to fight back after losing a 2 goal lead. The Maropeng Caveman have quickly emerged as the team to beat.
Team of the Week (Women) – Blyde River Bunters
Really you cant look elsewhere than Lindsey Wrights side, they are unbeaten and deserving to sit atop the perch. They can do no wrong and become the first team to be team of the week twice here on Sports 24 Seven.
Goal of the Week (Men) – Lloyd Norris-Jones (Gazelles) vs. Mambas
You can pick either of them, but I am a big fan of a quality solo goal, more so when it is finished off in reverse stick style. The Mambas had the Gazelles under immense pressure before LNJ picked up the ball in his own half and set off on a slalom run that cross country skiers would be proud of. Once dinking around the defenders he fired in a bullet shot that solidified the win for the Gazelles.
A goal more borne of the assist than the finish. A tense game was battling at 0-0 when the imperious Heather McEwan pulled off a great turn and run into the box to set up Robyn Johnson for the opening goal of the game.
Player of the Week (Men) – Lloyd Norris-Jones (Gazelles)
Lloyd may have been on the losing side on one of the games this weekend, but there is no doubt that everything that goes through Lloyd is class. His double strikes, mentioned above, as well as his incredible assist against the Caveman underline why he is the best striker in South African Hockey. The fact that he sits atop the goalscoring charts is testament to his finishing ability and I believe he may have a massive say in where the title goes.
Nicolene is the current national captain for South Africa and on the evidence of the PHL, as well as the IPT, you can see why. The captain leads by example and leads with heart. It is notable that the level of hockey her team mates play is lifted as a result of her presence in the team. She is the heart of a team that just refuse to be beaten.
All images are credited to Marcel Sigg and are used with the permission of the Premier Hockey League.
Check out all the results, standings and top scorers below and remember to check out our PHL dedicated page.