Another team unable to clip the Wings

The Wineland Wings continued their flight to glory, while the Dragons and Gazelles served up an all-time CTM Premier Hockey League classic. The Namaqualand Daisies earned a shock victory while the Maropeng Cavemen blew a bonus point opportunity. The Blyde River Bunters also saw their tournament hopes all but disappear after three consecutive defeats.

The day started with the Blyde River Bunters desperately looking to earn their way back into the tournament after two defeats in a row. They also wanted to produce a better performance than the game yesterday as they opened things up against the Orange River Rafters.

It took only four minutes for the Rafters to open the scoring when Dirkie Chamberlain effected a turnover in the middle of the park, drove into the Bunters circle and squared for Simone Gouws who finished on the dive. Chamberlain again set up a massive opportunity, but the ball somehow evaded the dive of Ongi Mali.

With 6 minutes left Marcelle Keet pulled off the Bunters keeper and captain Phumelela Mbande. The moved appeared to pay dividends as Celia Evans finished after a cross from Cloe de Souza in the final minute of the game, however on the umpire’s referral the cross was ruled to have been dangerous. It was heart breaking for the Bunters who’s hopes of defending the title are hanging on by a thread.

If that was not enough drama for you, the second game of the day took the drama up to Greys Anatomy levels. Ryan Crowe reacted first after a shot had struck the post and his tomahawk finish found its way into the bottom corner establishing a 1-0 lead for the defending champions. That lead lasted until the 44th minute when Brandon James fired in a low penalty corner to make it 1-1 for the Garden Route Gazelles.

The game ratcheted up a gear, however, in the final quarter as a stunning six goals were scored in the 15-minute period. Jethro Eustice was given a yellow card and Connor Beauchamp immediately made the Gazelles numerical advantage count. It wasn’t to count for long as Bili Ntuli showed remarkable speed in thought and in play to punish a Gazelles error and level the game 2-2. With six minutes remaining the Gazelles took the lead again though as Brandon James attempt was blocked but a diving Berne Burger finished the rebound off with style.

Again, to the despair of coach Ashlin Freddy, the Gazelles were not able to hold onto the lead and Pierre Botma pulled it level again. A brilliant run by South African International Dan Sibbald created space though and for the third time in the game the Gazelles led. This time Hans Neethling diverting the ball home to the dismay of keeper Gowan Jones.

But the biggest drama would save itself for the last seconds of the game. The Dragons found Miguel da Graca and the man who has played in every PHL final made it count. The ball crossed the line with exactly 2 seconds left on the goal to send the game to a shootout which was easily won by the Dragons. This was undoubtedly the game of the tournament so far.

As the temperature in Johannesburg continued to drop, the teams did not seem to receive the memo and the Namaqualand Daisies were looking to get their first win of the 2019 campaign. The first half was defined by two moments. The first was the goal by Ashley Thomas, finishing from less than a metre and the second was a superb save by Mishka Ellis to deny Kristen Paton.

Ellis was at it again in the second half with a wonderful save to deny Nomnikelo Veto. When Ellis was finally beaten by Hildah Dukudu, she was fortunate that the shot was off target. Ashleigh Thomas then capitalised with a real poacher’s effort.

As the Daisies would have started dreaming of the victory they were stunned as first Ashleigh Datnow and then Toni Marks scored to pull the scores level. Kristen Paton, a former Daisies captain, weaved a sensational run to set up Toni Marks goal.

But once again the drama was saved until the final minute as the Daisies wonder girl striker Bianca Wood weaved her own net of magic and rounded the keeper to finish into an empty goal sensationally. What a game of hockey!

With the goals already flying in today they continued in the next game as the Maropeng Cavemen romped first but then stuttered their way to a massive 5-3 win over the Golden Gate Gladiators. Early work from Dayaan Cassiem set up Mark Chong but he was denied by a good save. Keegan Hezlett did make it 1-0 from a penalty stroke after Clinton Panther had produced a trademark run but was professionally fouled. 1-0 it remained at the half time break.

The Gladiators pulled level early in the second half firing past Rassie Pieterse through Idris Abdulla, but parity was not kept for long. The penalty corner was put away superbly again by Craig Wiid and very quickly after that it was 3—1 thanks to a cool finish by Cameron Mackay. The best was yet to come as Gerald Mpopo blasted a goal into the top right corner that was still rising as it hit the back of the net. Dayaan Cassiem then set it up for Hezlett who scored his second and made it 5-1. The Cavemen were happy to be in a winning position with their hands on a bonus point.

But the Gladiators played the party poopers as they netted through Angelo Walstroom and then a very late one by Tumi Ramphele to deny the Cavemen the much-wanted bonus point. 5-3 the final score.

The last game of the day was played at the same time as the Springboks were playing Australia, but that did not stop the supporters or players from producing an entertaining end to the day. The St. Lucia Lakers and the Wineland Wings were both undefeated ahead of this game. Lisa Hawker had the first big chance of the game for the Lakers, but they found themselves trailing when Jade Mayne supplied goal machine Sylvia van Jaarsveldt for the deft finish.

They made it 2-0 in the second quarter for the when Dunell van Taak won the turnover, moved it on to Stephanie Botha who produced a pass as good as any goal to find Tarryn Glasby wide open. Glasby waited perfectly before finishing for the Wings.

The Lakers fought back and were rewarded with a third quarter goal by Lilian du Plessis from the penalty corner. With 2 minutes remaining they won another penalty corner and Tegan Fourie fired away a fantastic shot, but it was well saved by Sisanda Magazwa in goals for the Lakers. 2-1 the final score and the Wineland Wings are virtually assured of a place in the final four.

CTM Premier Hockey League – 20 July Results

CTM Premier Hockey League – 21 July Fixtures

08:00 – (M) – Golden Gate Gladiators vs. Garden Route Gazelles
10:00 – (M) – Mapungubwe Mambas vs. Addo Elephants
12:00 – (W) – Orange River Rafters vs. St. Lucia Lakers
14:00 – (W) – Namaqualand Daisies vs. Wineland Wings
16:00 – (M) – Drakensberg Dragons vs. Maropeng Cavemen

All original images by Marcel Sigg