Tonight was the third night of the inaugural PSi Showdown, 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. The World All-Stars triumphed on Day one, while South Africa’s BlitzStoks were triumphant on day 2. Here is what went down on Match night one.
Game 1 – World All-Stars 2-0 South Africa
It was an incredibly tentative game of hockey as the two teams felt out the game in a manner akin to the early rounds of a boxing match. Both teams were limited to half chances and neither was able to take theirs for the opening 15 minutes. In front of a packed UCT crowd, the game was crying out for a moment of sublime quality and it was delivered through the French Connection. Mickael Kempf pulled of some wizardry before finding Vicktor Lockwood who finished like he was a younger version of Robert Tigges. His second would be more straight-forward as he fired home the penalty corner to make it 2-0.
Game 2 – International All-Stars 2-1 South Africa
The truest tale of the development of South Africa’s indoor hockey team is that they now are able to compete more regularly with the International All-Stars after previous meetings were always so one-sided. They kept the International All-Stars at bay largely only for two moments of real quality to beat Chris McCathie. South Africa themselves had numerous opportunities to pull level but it was a frustrating night for the men in green and gold as their defensive stability was lacking its attacking fluency.
Showdown – World All-Stars 0-1 International All Stars
With both the All-Stars sides in the Final Showdown already, their game was sacrificed and the final showdown, a Golden Goal showdown, took place. The rule was simply that every two minutes a player had to leave the field. It took five minutes and the removal of two players each before Nicki Leijs scored one of the best goals of the week so far to get the International All-Stars a showdown title and leave it perfectly poised for the overall week winner to be decided tonight!
South African keeper Chris McCathie:
“It’s a really enjoyable format. It’s offering us great mental preparation for the World Cup. The save I made off the floor from Robert Tigges was my favourite on the night and I must admit Lockwood penalty corners are incredible, you are not sure where they are going!”
Namibian legend Siyabonga Martins:
“It’s an interesting and exciting format! I am incredibly impressed by the quality of Lockwood and he and Canning are two outstanding flickers. We also have Matt who tackles extremely hard and it’s great to learn from them!”
German Olympic Superstar Benni Wess:
“I really like the Showdowns, for the fans, it’s great because you have three different teams with different tactics and that’s a great learning opportunity. The knee is feeling better and maybe I can get 1/2 minutes in the game tomorrow”