The Sports 24 Seven Teams of the Tournament
Its a process that I started three years ago in the first edition of the Premier Hockey League. With the ability to watch every game of the PHL live, I put together a male and female team of the tournament. I repeated this last year again.
Now I also get that this is a selection process and although its not for national colours some people still get very upset with me. So here are the caveats, having watched every game these are my players of this is MY team of the tournament. There are certain things that obviously appeal to my hockey taste buds in a different way, but thats whats great about the sport. I have also discussed it with nobody so its a selection committee of one. Lastly if you disagree, share your team of the tournament in the comments below, it could be epic to see!
Women’s Team of the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League
There is only one place you can start for me and that’s in goals. On the back of an incredible World Cup performance, Phumi Mbande is the undoubted choice of keeper in my team. I also really liked that she excelled in the leadership role this year.
Ahead of her I have gone for the Lakers duo of Erin Hunter and Kara-lee Botes. Erin would be my team captain and is actually someone I fancy to be the South African captain sooner rather than later. Kara has emerged as a leading force for SA Hockey after being considered a bit part player in the previous years. We are really starting to see her immense talent on the outdoor pitch as much as we have seen for ages on the indoor courts.
Lezaan Jansen van Vuuren and Carmen Smith both from the Bunters join my back-line with both showing incredibly calm and Smith offering a real goal threat at Penalty corners with a beast of a shot. Lezaan is a promising youngster and one who I really think we will see a lot more of in SA hockey going forward. I have also picked Luche Klaasen from the Rafters, a player who must have been strongly considered for player of the tournament by the coaches. She has fantastic ability to make the big tackles and her distribution was one of the best in the tournament.
Lisa-Marie Deetlefs played her most influential hockey in the centre of the park during PHL and thats where I pick her. She still has an outstanding work rate and probably covered the biggest distance of any player during PHL. Alongside her would be final match winner Izelle Verster. The Bunters vice-captain is so often able to pop up in key positions and deliver moments of quality that maybe some others are not. As a fan of hard-work in the middle of the park this duo would offer you nothing short of that.
Sulette Damons still has that x-factor and much of what went right for the Rafters in attack went through her. Her pace and use of space is outstanding and the unselfishness she displayed on more than one occasion benefited her team mates. One of those was Lerato Mahlangu who showed a superb ability to be in the right place at the right time. Her finishing was really good in a tournament that did not produce too many goals and was a constant thorn in the defenders sides with her movement.
My last player on the team, but definitely not the last selected is the Wineland Wings captain Tarryn Glasby. It was another rough campaign for the Wings, but in the absence of more experienced strikers the young star took every opportunity to show her class and try and drag the Wings through to the knock out stages. Tarryn is a very special player and we are lucky to have her in South Africa.
The players who did not make my team but were incredibly close were Kristen Paton and Tegan Fourie. Both offered some great moments in the tournament and both should be involved in International Hockey for South Africa.
Men’s Team of the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League
In the Men’s tournament it was Siya Nolutshungu who got my nod in goals. There were good moments for Gowan Jones, Matthew Martins and Rassie Pieterse, but Siya showed the consistency that has helped him develop the outstanding reputation that he has.
In defence we have the two best players at the tournament. Jethro Eustice from the Dragons would be my captain and would offer a fantastic base to build on, while Dan Bell from the Elephants is a player who just loves defending.
Mo Mea is in arguably the best form of my hockey watching time and on the back of his IPT player of the tournament award produced a solid tournament in getting helping the Dragons win the title. Brandon James may now be growing his hair until he truly resembles Samson, but his hockey is growing quicker. He was a vital cog in getting the Gazelles to the semi’s popping up with some good finishing. Having first seen James at U15 age level I am really pleased to see he is showing the promise that his potential had.
Taine Paton is another man in his best form and its no surprise that without him on final weekend the Gazelles could not quite get over the line. This is a man who looks like he is really loving his hockey again. As too does Julian Hykes. The Elephant striker has said he is retiring from IPT’s but on the back of this form his hunger is more than ever. The one goal he scored against the Mambas was truly sensational.
Chad Futcher played in a Cavemen side that was not quite at the levels of previous years, but the same can not be said for the youngster. Asked to play in different positions throughout the tournament Futcher consistently brought quality for the Cavemen. Richard Pautz is a goalscorer, always has been and always will be. The CTM PHL got to see it first hand. His goal in the final was absolutely fantastic as he lifted it slightly before rocketing it home.
Ignatius Malgraff is the all-time top scorer in the PHL, and his inclusion in my team is probably on the back of his performance in the game of the tournament against the Cavemen. Two moments of magic, one leading to an injury, turned the game on its head and kept the Elephants unbeaten. The last man in the team is Bili Ntuli. The young hit man is developing a habit of scoring in big games and I love it. He also looks like he has worked on his discipline and work-rate and is going to be vital for South Africa at the Hockey World Cup.
The two players that missed out narrowly that I would like to single out are Keenan Horne, the Gazelles captain, and Peter Jarvis from the Dragons. Both attackers had good tournaments and can be proud of their efforts at Randburg Astro.
All pictures are used with the permission of Run Ride Dive. Check out all their hockey pictures on their website. Also give them some social media love!