As I have done throughout the tournament, there is a detailed review of the final 10 games of the inaugural Premier Hockey League. Ultimately the Maropeng Caveman and the Blyde River Bunters were announced champions after fantastic tournaments. I will be sharing a tournament recap, including the team of the tournament soon, but for the last time here is the week recap including player, team, goal and match of the weekend.
Game of the Week (M) – Gazelles 1-2 Elephants
In their previous meeting the Gazelles damaged the Elephants in a way that was almost unrecoverable, but somehow the Elephants fought back and found themselves in the semi-final. They were still heavily unfavoured in their match up against the Gazelles. The sky looked the limit for the Gazelles as they were off to a dream start when Keenan Horne crashed a reverse-stick shot through goalkeeper Matthew Martins’s legs in just the second minute, but Sinoxolo Mbekeni equalised in the 10th minute as he came flying in to get a deflection on to a cross from Julian Hykes. Matthew Martins in the Elephants goal was in inspired form, while Richard Curtis in the Gladiators goal was fairing equally well. But after spurning a few good chances, the Elephants took the lead through Damian Kimfley. The Gazelles began the siege and ultimately given the golden chance to equalise, but the unflappable Lloyd Norris-Jones fired wide from a flick. The Gazelles seemed to have the equaliser when Horne hammered a loose ball into goal, but the TV umpire ruled there had been an obstruction before the Stellenbosch University star fired home. It was a game fitting of a PHL Semi-Final and the fairy tale continued for the Elephants!
Game of the Week (W) – Wings 3-2 Lakers
Bronze medal matches are not usually the most exciting spectacle in a tournament, but the Wings and Lakers served up a classic. The Wings would just have hoped to avoid a shootout, they had lost four from four, while the Lakers would look to prove they were unfortunate in missing out on the final. The Lakers went 1-0 up in the first quarter when Jacinta Jubb pounced on a loose ball in the Wings circle and beat goalkeeper Nicole la Fleur with a firm shot. But Jade Mayne, after some neat work by Heather McEwan and Stephanie Botha, and Kaila Flemming both scored in the space of two minutes midway through the second quarter. There was drama in the second half, however as Shelley Russell was gifted the ball in the Wings circle and fired home for the equaliser, followed soon after by Catherine McNulty blasting in for the Wings and sealing the victory.
Goal of the Week (M) – Ryan Julius – Gladiators vs. Caveman
After going behind to an early goal by James Drummond the Gladiators were looking for a moment of inspiration and it duly arrived through Ryan Julius. Julius, who has featured for SA Men in both indoor and outdoor hockey, equalised for the Gladiators with a superb diving deflection as he connected perfectly with a cross from Khumo Mokale leaving Rassie Pieterse with no chance.
Goal of the Week (W) – Nicolene Terblanche – Bunters vs. Lakers
The Bunters had led through a defensive masterpiece in their semi-final against the Lakers, but it took until the 55th minute to seal the tie. Charne Hill won the short-corner and, in a very clever variation, the ball was deliberately not stopped by the trapper; Christine Roos, the rock of the Bunters defence, then firing the ball back into the circle, the brilliant Nicolene Terblanche, the player of the match, producing the most superb of reverse-sticks finishes to put them 2-0 up.
Player of the Week (M) – Ricky West – Maropeng Caveman
Ricky West may be older now, but his talent has not diminished. It’s his defensive showing that draws him as our player of the week. In both the semi-final against the Gladiators and the final against the Elephants Ricky marshalled a defence in a true show of class! The biggest disappointment is that Ricky did not play more games for South Africa as he was the outstanding defender of the PHL.
Player of the Week (W) – Nicolene Terblanche – Blyde River Bunters
The national captain underlined throughout the tournament how good she is. That was once again true this weekend as she was a massive voice on the field, encouraging her players and showed the difference in class between her and her opposition. This weekend was the weekend that Nicolene showed South Africa that she is a step ahead of her peers in the middle of the park.
Team of the Week (M) – Milo Maropeng Caveman
The inaugural champions of the men’s PHL were obviously going to win the team of the week. Rassie Pieterse and Mark Sanders were strategically brilliant and the arrival of Thomas Hammond in place of the injured Miguel da Graca proved a stroke of genius. The fact that Julian Hykes, Richard Pautz and Ignatius Malgraff were quiet was not down to them having a bad game but down to an impressive defensive unit. As Ricky West shared with me after the game: “If you don’t score, we win!”
Team of the Week (W) – Nestle Pure Life Blyde River Bunters
The most dominant of team of the tournament deservedly where the champions after a stellar weekend, conceding only one goal. Mbande in goal was imperious and de-Bruyn Smith is someone you should be talking about more often! Lindsey Wright and Marcelle Manson make an incredible partnership as coaches and the inspirational Terblanche is the cherry on top. It was a pleasure watching them play and they are the champions for a reason!
Remember you can check out our dedicated Premier Hockey League page that will have all the info from the tournament.
All images are used with the permission of the Premier Hockey League and are credited to Marcel Sigg unless otherwise stated.