Cavemen stunned as Orange River Rafters march on

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The Maropeng Cavemen were stunned by the Golden Gate Gladiators, the Orange River Rafters produced a class display to dispatch the Blyde River Bunters, the Drakensberg Dragons got their first win, while the Namaqualand Daisies and Wineland Wings face early elimination in the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League.

There were another 18 goals scored on day 3 of the CTM Premier Hockey League, with the story of the day undoubtedly coming from the 14:00 game when the experienced Maropeng Cavemen, the double defending champions tasted their first normal time defeat since PHL 2016, going down 3-1 to the Golden Gate Gladiators.

The Gladiators were without regular coach Garreth Ewing due to work commitments, so SA Under-18 coach and national selector Devon van der Merwe took charge for this game. The Gladiators were in bullish mood and the side settled into the game early. Chris Makaba danced through the defence of the Cavemen and from a tight angle converted the goal. It was a touch fortunate as the ball took a deflection past Cavemen keeper Rassie Pieterse.

The second goal was nothing about luck. Wade Dollman executed the perfect penalty corner to fire the ball into the bottom corner. Such was the velocity of the shot that it hit the back-board before Pieterse even had a chance to save it.

The Cavemen were far better in the second half and found themselves back in the game when Ryan Crowe squared it for Reza Rosenberg to net into the empty goal. As the Cavemen surged forward to find the equaliser they replaced Pieterse with an outfield player which created an opportunity for Jared Cass, newly selected to the South African Men’s side, who finished from a tight angle. 3-1 the final score.

In the Women’s side there was arguably a surprise too when the Orange River Rafters defeated the favourites the Blyde River Bunters 2-0. This is one of the few times in CTM Premier Hockey League history that the Bunters have been unable to score.

Shaun Hulley’s side were top value for their victory that made it 3 out of 3 in this year’s tournament. Although it was built on a fine defensive display, helped by SPAR South Africa indoor keeper Cheree Greyvenstein back in goals, it was two moments of magic that saw the defending champions win. Lerato Mahlangu and Mia Barnard both benefited from superb link up play behind them, with Sulette Damons pass for Bernard’s goal special.

The Lakers got their second win in two thanks to Tegan Fourie scoring in the top left corner with a superb drag flick. With the South Africans looking for a drag flicker for the national team you can’t fault the effort of Fourie in giving her team the lead.

It really could have been 3 or 4 for the Lakers who were once again superbly marshalled by Erin Hunter and player of the match Kara Botes.

The Madikwe Rangers resurrected their 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League with a bonus point victory against the Daisies. However, they found themselves trailing at half time when Lauren Nina sent Modipane one way and the ball the other.

Facing the daunting possibility of being 0 from 3 the Rangers poured forward and with just 3 minutes left in the third quarter pulled one goal back through Sylvia van Jaarsveldt. The goal was because of a poor defensive mistake. There no mistake and just all class in the second strike by van Jaarsveldt whose tomahawk strike flew into the top corner. The ball just inside the D and arguably the goal of the tournament so far!

In the fourth quarter the Daisies pushed forward to try and level the game, but the Rangers were belligerent in their attack. Nomnikelo Veto pulling a van Jaarsveldt in scoring her own tomahawk.  There was time for one last goal and it fell to skipper Lisa-Marie Deetlefs with a signature penalty corner sealing a 4-1 win and importantly the bonus point for the 2016 finalists.

All the way at the other end of the day the Drakensberg Dragons and the Garden Route Gazelles looked for a first win having both only played one game last week. They produced the most frenetic period of the tournament so far as there were 4 goals in the opening quarter that ended square.

Taine Paton, who has 104 caps for South Africa, put the Gazelles ahead, but Blake Tyack pulled it level. Connor Beauchamp, an in-demand man in the draft, re-established the lead, but it lasted just 3 minutes and Richard Pautz, the man of the match and ex Elephant, scored a penalty corner.

We had to wait till the end of the third quarter for the next goal and it came from Melrick Maddocks. Maddocks who recently played for South Africa has grown well as a player and took his opportunity like a seasoned campaigner. Cody van Wyk wrapped up the game in the 46th minute to give Sihle Ntuli’s side the first win of this campaign.

There is no time for rest as a full five fixtures meet the players tomorrow at Randburg Astro. The games start at 08:00.

CTM PHL Day 3

Thursday 16 August

08:00 – Men – Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons 4-2 Garden Route Gazelles
10:00 – Women – Italtile Orange River Rafters 2-0 Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters
12:00 – Women – Old Mutual iWyze Namaqualand Daisies 1-4 Top T Madikwe Rangers
14:00 – Men – Old Mutual iWyze Golden Gate Gladiators 3-1 Origins Maropeng Cavemen
16:00 – Women – Private Property St. Lucia Lakers 1-0 Ceramic Industries Wineland Wings

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