The final spots in the top four were only decided in the final game of the group stage, which added to the excitement in front of a packed Riverside Sports crowd, one of the best ever seen for a Women’s IPT in South Africa.
Earlier in the day, Free State put themselves in a great position for making the semi-finals when they demolished WP Pens 5-1, with who else but Cornelle Holtzhausen netting a brace. That result set up the following scenario, Tuffy Western Province would have to avoid defeat against Southern Gauteng to make the final four.
It became evident very early in the Southerns vs. Province game that the crowd was backing Southerns in order to see Free State progress to the final four. It was a tactical masterclass by Tuffy Western Province as Jade Mayne marshalled the team incredibly well, never keeping quiet, and they limited Southerns to very few chances. Of course, when Southerns did get a chance, Nicole la Fleur was more than equipped to deal with it. The game ended 0-0 and that saw Free State slip into the 5-8 playoffs.
In the other pool, it was North West who secured their place in the Semi-Finals with a workmanlike performance to defeat the SA Invitational under 21 side. Skipper Amore de Wet broke the deadlock, but North West was made to sweat for the victory before Sulette Damons and Dirkie Chamberlain, still, the finest striker in the country, made the game safe. The result means that SPAR KZN Raiders would have to beat the Northern Blues by 5 goals. The Blues had not conceded one yet.
And that would remain the stat intact at the end of the game. The Blues ceded tons of possession to the hosts but they were unable to create too many opportunities, and they will be disappointed with their inability to make their penalty corners work. Anel Luus scored a fantastic individual goal before the superb Natalie Esteves made it 2-0 in the third quarter to leave the partisan crowd disappointed and to send the defending champions out of the final four.
The other two results on the day saw Eastern Province dismiss the KZN Mynahs like swatting a fly away and Mpumalanga secured their first victory of the tournament beating the SG Witsies.
In the B Section Border continued their fightback from an opening defeat to be contending for a place in the final. The Northern Daisies are already secured of their spot and will be joined by one of SG Nuggets, SACD A, Border and KZN Robins.
You can follow daily updates on SA Hockey or check out the Tournament Management site through https://saha.altiusrt.com/competitions/25#matches
SA Hockey would like to thank our sponsors for their continued and valuable support: Private Property, Tsogo Sun, Old Mutual, iWyze, Grays, Olympic International, SRSA, Virgin Active, Fox 40, Greenfields and Belgotex Sport.