Tonight 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 5-4 South Africa
The International All-Stars came out with a point to prove and that’s exactly the approach they followed as they dominated the South Africans outstandingly well. Robbert Tigges got another hat-trick to follow up on his day 1 hat-trick. It was accompanied by a fantastic goal from Maredza and another goal by Nicki Leiijs. South Africa themselves showed great form themselves scoring through a superb Ryan Julius finish, Justin Domleo and a double from the inspired Jarryd Jones.
Game 2 – International All-Stars 5-2 World All-Stars
Much like in the previous game, the All-Stars from the International fold were once again intending to dismiss the World All-Stars in a cool and almost callous fashion. They were excellent in this game plan early on, going 3-0 up through Robert Tigges, Dutch league winner Sjoerd de Wert and Zimbabwe icon Tendayi Maredza. The World All-stars were brought to life by this and go two goals back through Namibian legend Siyabonga Martins, but they were struggling to beat a swashbuckling Laurens Goedegebuure in goals. After soaking up the pressure, the International All-Stars turned it back on to score two more goals and secure the victory through Robert Tigges and Teun Rohof, who is a man that loves scoring goals at PSi. A comfortable win meant the All-Stars would be in the final showdown.
Game 3 – World All-Stars 2-4 South Africa
And so the pressure was on both teams here to thwart their opposition and make their way to the final showdown. South Africa is often accused of starting games slowly but Ryan Julius would have none of that and scored a blistering strike for the local heroes to go into the lead. A fantastic team goal was then converted coolly by Reza Rosenberg to make it 2-0 and before you knew it was quickly 3-0 through a penalty stroke by Jethro Eustice. The World All-Stars tried to fight back and scored through Ross Canning but Rusten Abrahams re-established the 3 goal lead shortly afterward. From there on it was resolute defending by the SA boys restricting the World All-Stars to only one more goal through Captain Joaquim Gonzalez. A fantastic performance by Matt Fairweather’s men.
Final – Golden Goal – Winner South Africa
In the progressive nature of PSi, the realisation that the showdowns didn’t work as well as anticipated was quickly substituted by the notion that a golden goal period where you lose a player every minute. It would only take 18 seconds for South Africa to triumph through Jethro Eustice and send the crowd into rapturous applause. What a great ending to a special night!
South African coach Pierre le Roux:
“It’s an interesting and exciting format, but it’s great in putting us under pressure which is important for the World Cup. We have got better over the three years, we are now closer to competing and we are just trying to keep developing game after game”
Irish international legend Ronan Gormley:
“The PSi experience is absolutely fantastic. There is so much noise and energy, its loads of fun and it’s a great evening. PSi is unique, I have never experienced something like this before. I am really excited that PSi is going to Ireland, people will not know what has hit them and it will be awesome!”