The 2019 Indoor IPT got underway in blistering hot Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday, just four months after the completion of the 2018 Indoor IPT. The change is a positive one that sees the tournament played during the various indoor hockey seasons so raises the quality. Another positive is that there are a remarkable 14 teams in the women’s competition, highlighting the excitement and interest in the game of indoor hockey in South Africa.
And that’s where we will start. The women’s A section got underway with a solid 3-0 win for the hosts against Mpumalanga. They are being coached by Eloise Walters, the South African international is currently injured, but they were led superbly by Amy Greaves in a comfortable display.
The SPAR KZN Raiders, the defending champions, were tested brilliantly by the Northern Blues, inspired by the return of Celia Evans. The Raiders though were at the best as Calvin Price’s team got the victory with goals from Kelly Reed, Jess Lardant and a superb goal set up by Jess O’Connor and finished by SA Captain Cindy Hack. 3-1 the final score.
Western Province, led by the promising AJ Spieringshoek, were workmanlike in a good opening victory against the KZN Mynahs. The extremely exciting Kayla de Waal getting 2 of the goals for the Cape side in a 3-1 win.
Southern Gauteng themselves made their mark with their intention to improve on their silver medal from last year and inspired by 17-year-old Cloe de Souza’s hat-trick secured a 6-1 win over the Western Province Pens.
In the B Section the KZN Robins and Namibia played out a pulsating 2-2 draw, North West made their intentions for promotion clear wit ha walloping of Eastern Gauteng and Witsies stole a sensational 5-4 win against Inland B.
In the men’s section Western Province got a good victory for coach Ross Willis to start their campaign, 5-3 against KZN Inland B. There were five different goal scorers for WP including both Cassiem brothers who both received awards in the recent Hockey 24 Seven Indoor Hockey Awards.
Arguably the game of the day came in the least high profile one as Mpumalanga led EP 3-2 into the final minute, but Ignatius Malgraff, known more for his outdoor play, popped up with a double to see them home 4-3.
The defending champions the KZN Raiders were not at their best, missing Greg Last, but did thanks to Jarryd Jones hat-trick, to see off the threat of SG Witsies. The game was poised at 3-3 at half time before Jones and Eustice took the champs home.
Namibia, who are superbly coached by Trevor Cormack, were inspired by Brynn Cleak in their comfortable 6-2 win against Eastern Gauteng, although they were given a fright by going 2-0 down to early goals by Bradley Nunn and Kyle Cameron.
Bradley Sherwood and Adriaan Odendaal will the scorers as David Joshua’s Northerns overcame a spirited performance by the KZN Mynahs in a 2-0 win.
The final match of the day had blockbuster written over it as Southern Gauteng, silver medallists from the last couple of years, took on the hosts. South African world cup skipper Matt Fairweather was the star for the hosts netting all four in thrilling 4-2 win and a massive statement that the last winners before the current Raiders run are keen to make a challenge for the title.