Last night was the final night of the inaugural PSi Showdown, a compact, exciting and high-quality exhibition of indoor hockey. Each night of the showdown features 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 and the International All-Stars won Showdown 3. It was perfectly poised for the final showdown as the winner on the night would be the overall champion. Here is how the final night played out.
Game 1 – International All-Stars 6-1 World All-Stars
The most dominant performance of the week came in the opening match of Showdown Four as the International All-Stars dismantled their opposition with meticulous ease. Teun Rohof was in fantastic form setting up Robert Tigges to score the opening goal. Then followed a goal from the cool, calm and collected Sjoerd de Wert, then Spaniard Andreu Enrich made it 3-0. The World All-Stars then pulled one back when the sensational Joaquim Gonzalez set up Ross Canning to score! Nicki Leijs, Benni Wess and Andreu Enrich netted to really seal home the most one-sided game of the tournament.
Game 2 – World All-Stars (7) 1-1 (8) South Africa
A most incredible match up saw South Africa and the World All-Stars trade punches throughout but with 16 minutes played the score remained goalless. Richard Curtis and DJ Strauss denying anything on target and strikers missing far too many half chances. The game was crying out for a moment of individual brilliance and it came through the French superstar Vicktor Lockwood who slalomed through the SA defence to make it 1-0. South Africa then went up the other end Jarryd Jones hit the post and with 8 seconds left on the clock, South Africa won a penalty corner. Jethro Eustice, who had just flown back down from PHL, fired it home and sent the game to showdowns.
Incredibly it took 11 rounds of showdowns before South Africa were finally declared the winners after Ross Canning attempt was saved! What a game!
Showdown – South Africa 0-1 International All Stars
With both the International All-Stars and South Africa already winning, they had both qualified for the Final of Showdown Four already. As a result, 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 six 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 the overall PSi Showdown championship having won two of the nights!
PSi Founder Simon Martin
“The format is incredibly exciting and it brings the best out in exhibition hockey. From a spectator point of view the future entertainment could be in something like the showdown. Who knows, maybe indoor hockey could become the Olympic code of the sport one day”
South African captain Matt Fairweather:
“It’s the most exciting format for the fans, its different and compact. From a player’s point of view, you have to be on your game and the learning from that could be great. All focus is on the World Cup now and we will be doing whatever we can to make our country proud!”
Argentina Captain Joaquim Gonzalez:
“I loved being here. The people, the hockey, the fans are great. I was impressed with South Africa and their quality. My favourite part of PSi is the unconditional love from the kids, they are special!”
South African Assistant Coach Ryan Hack:
“It’s really good the PSi showdown format. You have to adapt quickly and have a different game plan in 20 minutes. It’s been great to see how this group has improved over the three years since the last World Cup and I think we are going to go there and surprise a few people!”
Dutch World Cup winner Nicki Leijs:
“I think it was a great first time and its special for the crowd to see more players of quality! I don’t score that many goals at home so to score the golden goal on both nights was special for me. I definitely would like to score more to entertain the crowds!”