The Indoor Hockey IPT has been moved from October to February from 2019. The move makes sense as the IPT now takes place at a time when indoor is played across the country and importantly the globe, meaning the tournament taking place will bring an added element of form that is possibly lacking. The move also offers an added incentive to coaching teams who would have seen their opponents just a couple of months ago.
With the superb success of SPAR South Africa Women’s Indoor Hockey team in Europe and the continued growth of Psi, interest in indoor hockey is at an all time high and is echoed through the entries to the tournament. There are 14 Women’s teams, incredibly up from 8 just 16 months ago, while the men see a full 12 teams invited.
Starting off with the women’s section, the number of teams sees the tournament split into A and B Sections. The A Section features the top 8 sides from the IPT in October 2018, while the B Section features the remaining four sides along with the African Champions Namibia and 2017 IPT finalists North West.
The SPAR KZN Raiders will once again wear the favourites tag as they feature 7 of the players that were part of the SPAR South Africa European Tour including national skipper Cindy Hack, the exciting Jess Lardant and the superb Cheree Greyvenstein. They are likely to face a tough challenge from the hosts who will be led by Amy Greaves, fresh from her 50th SA Indoor cap and Edith Molikoe, one of the standout players of 2018.
Southern Gauteng will once again prove to be a to a tough opponent mixing the experience of Robyn Johnson, Petro Stoffberg and Kara Botes with the youthful brilliance of Cloe de Souza and Lethabo Nkoe. Western Province have also selected one of their most exciting squads in the past few years with the likes of Ammaarah Hendricks, Kayla de Waal and Angela Welhelm selected alongside national stars Jamie Southgate and Andrea Leader.
There will also be an element of intrigue within the Northern Blues featuring hockey icon Kim Hubach and the return from injury of Celia Evans. It promises to be a superb tournament.
The B section will see an extremely young Namibian side led by Jerrica Cormack try to develop the next group of players, and North West looking to get themselves back into the A Section after not competing in the 2018 Indoor IPT.
In the mens tournament the KZN Raiders will be looking to complete yet another defence of the trophy and their aims will be helped by the return of Keagan Robinson and Jethro Eustice, as well as Ryan Hack in the coaching team. Namibia will be a tough opponent as the well-coached side of Trevor Cormack play with a high intensity that is difficult to match. Keep an eye out for Cody van der Merwe, Liam Hermanus and Dakota Hansen.
The hosts have secured the services of indoor hockey legends Chris McCathie and Justin Domleo which will likely lead them to be more competitive, while any side coached by David Joshua like the Northern Blues are going to be difficult side to beat.
Southern Gauteng will be looking to overcome their run of successive silver medals and will look to the flamboyant style of the likes of Delpiaro Langford, Marvin Simons and Rusten Abrahams.
The action takes place at Pietermaritzburg Girls High School and St. Johns in Pietermaritzburg. The tournament starts on Wednesday and the finals will take place on Saturday night. You can view the fixtures below with daily updates posted here.