The Men’s and Women’s Inter Provincial Tournament took place in Randburg this past week where the best of South Africa’s field hockey players looked to put their names in the window for the PHL and the FIH World League Semi-Finals. It was a tournament that produced the surprises and tension that hockey can so often produce. Here are five stories that stood out for me from the now concluded IPT.
SPAR KZN Raiders complete a Double Double!
The SPAR KZN Raiders have been perennial contenders for the SA Hockey IPT title, but have failed to deliver in many years. This year with a slight strengthening of the team and with two very good coaches in Sihle “Sigz” Ntuli (Men) and Lennie Botha (Women), Raiders were able to convert their potential to glory. The men ended the tournament unbeaten with only Northern Blues denying them in a pulsating 4-4 draw. In their semi-final they had early goals through Damian Kimfley and Andrew Manson, before Keenan Horne pulled back for WP. National Indoor player Jarryd Jones put SPAR KZN in and a stellar defensive display held WP at bay. The final was decided again by early goals as ex Southerns player Clinton Panther and Cameron Mackay made it 2-0. Brandon James would get one back for Witsies but KZN were the Champions.
The SPAR KZN Raiders Ladies were beaten in the group stage by Southern Gauteng before turning on the defensive style in a 4-0 victory over Free State in the Quarter Final. Another defensive master class in the Semi-Final saw Jacinta Jubb’s double cancel out the early goal by Tarryn Glasby in a 2-1 win. In the final they once again took on Southern Gauteng where Kelly Reed (Madsen) beat the rock that is Sanani Mangisa twice to sandwich a goal by Bernie Coston to secure the title.
This now means that as far as I am aware, SPAR KZN Raiders become the first team to hold the indoor and outdoor IPT Double simultaneously. (If you are aware of any other time, please let me know!)
Wits are B Team only in Name
It has happened before at IPT when Western Province Pens won the title historically in 2014. Of course this is also on the back of the iconic Leicester City win in England, but realistically the title was to be a fight between Southern Gauteng, Western Province and KZN. Instead Witsies had not read the script. After finishing second last in their pool they would have to take on their big brother team Southern Gauteng. The match was expected to be a formality for the “A” side. The match was littered with 8 cards as it lived up to a true derby spectacle. Cody van Wyk and Berne Burger made it two nil to Witsies, but Southerns equalised through Dylan Swanepoel and Reza Rosenberg. With momentum on their side and Rassie Pieterse in goals Southerns would have been the favourites. When Gerald Mpopo failed to score it was 2-1 to Southerns and merely a formality. But then Matthew Martins produced two saves to deny Brynn Cleak and Dylan Coombes allowing Ross Goncalves to net the winner and send the Witsies side to the Semi-Finals. Witsies would then beat the Northern Blues who had previously beaten them in the pool matches through goals by Amkelwe Letuka and Berne Burger, before running out of steam in the final. For a tournament where they were expected to prop things up, they went home with a silver!
Kelly Reed is a SA Hockey Superstar
I already spoke about her match winning performance in the final, but there should be few doubts that Indoor and outdoor national player Kelly Reed is a superstar. She finished the tournament as the top goalscorer with 7 goals, 5 of which were field goals. She may not have been awarded player of the tournament, which in my opinion was a mistake, but Kelly has once again enhance her reputation as arguably South Africa’s most gifted player.
John Wright says goodbye to IPT
John Wright has represented South Africa at an incredible FIVE Olympic Games as an umpire he can never get a medal, however he is arguably one of the country’s greatest Olympians! He has umpired two Olympic Games finals as well as three FIH Hockey World Cup Finals and received the FIH Golden Whistle. And even after more than 20 years and 200 International caps we have still been fortunate enough to have John officiate at our IPT and other various tournaments. On Saturday in umpiring the final John received a guard of honour as he umpired his final IPT.
John thank you for your commitment to SA Hockey and to the field of umpiring. You have consistently made South Africa proud.
It’s not just about hockey #HelpBrianWithTheFight
Although it was a disappointing tournament for Southern Gauteng, their captain Miguel da Graca made this a special tournament for Brian Wallace. Miguel lost his dad to cancer as a youngster and used the platform of the IPT to raise funds for Brian, a father of 2 boys and cancer sufferer. You could pledge money per goal scored by the Southern Gauteng team or just a donation. In the week Miguel was able to raise R31 260. If you would like to contribute to the cause contact Miguel on social media with #HelpBrianWithTheFight