The outdoor club season has winded down across South Africa and attention has shifted back to indoor hockey as the provincial sides prepare to face off for a battle of supremacy. The Belville Velodrome, which hosted the 2016 edition, will once again play host to 22 teams playing off over four days for the title of South African Men’s or Women’s indoor champions.
We start with the girls, with indoor hockey on a high following the 3-0 series victory against African Champions Namibia, taking the run to 25 undefeated matches in a row. The 12-team’s taking part of in the Women’s tournament will all be looking to try and stop the imperious SPAR KZN Raiders who have won the last 7 titles in a row. They have the two most capped indoor players in Africa in Jessica O’Connor and Cindy Hack and complete the line-up with 6 further South African players, including the player of the series from the recent SPAR Series Jessica Lardant, and Namibian superstar Kiana Cormack. On paper they will be the team to beat once again.
Southern Gauteng will be optimistic about their opportunity to dethrone the Raiders as they will offer a first Gauteng appearance at nationals to the brilliant Kara Botes, while Lilian du Plessis, Alex Kavanagh and Robyn Johnson were all part of the most recent national squad. In Namibian Petro Stoffberg they have a shot stopper that can decide matches.
The KZN Inland challenge also looks to be a good one after their runner-up finish in 2017. They have the abilities of Amore de Wet and sensational youngster Edith Molikoe along with goal scoring machine Eloise Walters and Amy Greaves filling the squad. Keagan Walters is also a passionate coach who manages to get the best out of his teams so will be looking to time the run perfectly again.
You also can’t discount the abilities of Western Province playing at home, they are a much-changed team from the impressive 2017 team but in Gillian Hermanus, Jamie Southgate and Jessica Glass they have great experience and talent. They also have a superb keeper in Nicole la Fleur who always saves her best for the biggest games.
Women’s IPT 2018 – Groups
|Group A||Group B|
|Southern Gauteng||Northern Blues|
|WP Disa’s||WP Peninsula|
|KZN Mynahs||KZN Inland|
|Eastern Gauteng||SG Witsies|
|Western Province||SPAR KZN Raiders|
In the men’s tournament it will be a case of rebuilding the confidence after the disappointment of the indoor hockey world cup. All eyes will obviously look to the KZN Raiders once again, but it will be a much different side that Cameron Mackay presides over. There are a host of changes and playing away from home the Raiders will be up against it. Jonty Robinson, Jarryd Jones and Greg Last will be integral for the defending champions.
Southern Gauteng will be looking to go a step further this year after back-to-back silver medals. They have lethal goal-scoring talent in Chad Futcher and Julian Hykes, while the experience of Reza Rosenberg and Kyle Marks will be of incredible importance. Can they step up to challenge the other sides?
Dale Isaac will lead the challenge for last year’s bronze medallists, who will be looking to at least get into the title match this time around as hosts. They once again have a host of new caps, so the challenge will be a tough one, but the likes of Jacki Mohlaba, Andrew Winter and Anton van Loggerenberg are all capable of producing moments of magic.
The men will also have to deal with the challenge of Namibia, who have been invited to take part once again. Trevor Cormack has continued his blend of selection bringing DJ Strauss, Brynn Cleak and Siyabonga Martins all selected along with the young stars in Cody van der Merwe, Liam Hermanus and Nico Neethling. They will be a fantastic test for everyone they play against and will add a great quality to the tournament.
Mens IPT 2018 – Groups
|Group A||Group B|
|KZN Mynahs||PSI WP Invitational|
|Northern Blues||Eastern Gauteng|
|KZN Raiders||Southern Gauteng|