Last night was the opening night of the inaugural PSi Showdowns, a compact, exciting and high-quality exhibition of indoor hockey. Each night of the showdowns feature three matches with the top 2 sides playing off in a Showdown for the bragging rights on the night. Here is what went down on Match night one.
Game 1 – International All-Stars 5-3 World All Stars
The International All-Stars are all veterans of the Pro Series Indoor setup with some of the team having played in all 14 previous matches featuring the All-Stars and that experience told quickly as Robert Tigges led the team to an early lead which was quickly wiped out by lethal Frenchmen Vicktor Lockwood. Tigges would, however, prove to be instrumental in the next run of play, scoring three more times and assisting Tendayi Maredza who had probably the best finish of the night to make it 5-1 with 6 minutes remaining. The World All-Stars were learning how each other played synergy started to show in the last few minutes as Mickael Kempf and Victor Lockwood both got goals to pull back to within 2. It would remain that way until the end with the International All Stars securing the points.
Game 2 – South Africa 2-3 World All Stars
This promised to be an exciting match as the two teams began that initial process of getting to know each other almost like two star-crossed lovers on a first date. The South African BlitzStoks, possibly spurred on by their countrymen the BlitzBokke doing so well in Cape Town, started with a pace that is likely to put most opposition under pressure. But after weathering the early storm the World All-Stars were the first to pounce when Ross Canning made it 1-0 with devastating efficiency. But that quickly got turned on its head when Reza Rosenberg and Jethro Eustice combined twice to make it 2-1. With momentum in their favour, the BlitzStoks will be disappointed that they conceded defeat from this position as Vicktor Lockwood twice put away clinical Penalty corners to get the win for the World All-Stars.
Game 3 – International All-Stars (1) 2-2 (2) South Africa
A bit of a classic battle in that it was the 15th meeting between these two teams in one guise or another. As such these two were less like a first date and more like a 10th wedding anniversary and the punches thrown were fairly well premeditated. It was the skipper for SA that would score first after Teun Rohof had conceded a stroke, but as South Africa kept Robert Tigges quiet, Nicki Leijs popped up to convert an equaliser. Justin Domleo then put South Africa back in front and tasting a famous victory put Nicki Leijs once again produced the quality needed at the right time and netted an equalizer to the crowd’s delight. The game would peter out towards the end with a showdown after a superb Richard Curtis save kept it even. The Blitzstoks would win the showdowns but it was not enough to qualify for the final!
Showdowns – World All-Stars 2-1 International All-Stars
In a first for our indoor Hockey, the Showdowns final was streamed live on the Facebook page and was a brilliant show of skill to captivate the attention of the supporters. Robert Tigges and Joaquin Gonzalez, the two skippers, both missed before Andreu Eunich and Matthew Hotchkis then scored. It was now essentially sudden death and Nicki Leijs went first but was denied brutally by DJ Strauss. It was a truly All-Star finish by Lockwood that sealed the night’s title.
International All Stars captain Robert Tigges
“It’s always great to be back at PSi! I think the Showdowns is good for the crowd and makes it great for the kids and the parents and its very interesting idea. I think South Africa’s defence was really good, much better in defence and they have improved in that aspect very well!”
Former Australian Captain Matthew Hotchkis:
“Unbelievable. It really lived up to what I expected. It was really quick, it exciting and its great viewing for the crowd. Getting the win at the end of the night is something we can be proud of and we will do it again tomorrow night!”