NWest scare Southern Gauteng

PHOTO: AFP

Defending champions Southern Gauteng overcame a spirited North West to run out 3-2 victors at the South Africa Women’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament (IPT) in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.

In other A-section matches the KZN Raiders were made to work hard by Border before coming out 5-1 winners, Southern Gauteng Witsies edged Eastern Province 3-2, while the Northern Blues beat Western Province 2-0.

The star-studded Southern Gauteng (Southerns) scored through South African players Lisa Deetlefs (53rd minute), Lilian du Plessis in the 66th minute and Shelley Russell (70th and last minute), while Stephanie Baxter (19th) and Amor de Wet (56th) forced the champions on the back foot.

“We were too static, but North West defended well and their senior players stepped up,” said Southerns coach Garreth Ewing.

“I give credit to my penalty corner team, no goal yesterday and success today, it bodes well going forward.”

North West coach Elun Hack was thrilled for his players but felt Southerns played the key moments better than his charges.

The last five minutes was where the match was won and lost as underdogs North West launched an exciting counter-attack and South African striker Sulette Damons had the pace to generate much of the threat.

North West led for over 60 percent of the game and forced Southerns to continually play catch-up.

They opened the scoring in the 19th minute when midfielder Stephanie Baxter flashed a strike past South African goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa.

It took Southerns 34 minutes to restore parity — the Johannesburg-based team’s breakthrough came 18 minutes after the changeover (53rd minute) when captain Lisa Deetlefs rifled in a penalty corner.

Three minutes later (56th) North West captain De Wet put her side back in front with a sweetly timed reverse-stick shot from the edge of the strike zone.

With play swinging from end to end, as it had for the entire match, it looked like North West were going to cause the upset of the tournament.

Four minutes from time, Southerns striker Lilian du Plessis gave herself space with some nifty stickwork before rifling a trademark backhand that saw the ball thud into the backboard.

At 2-2 it looked like North West would at least get a point but Du Plessis’ skill earned another penalty corner and with seconds left midfielder Shelley got the last-touch winner.

Southerns advanced to Friday’s semi-finals but will have a challenging Thursday in their final pool match when they take on their second-stringers SG Witsies, that are still in with a chance of also reaching the last four.

Results:

A Section: Southern Gauteng 3 North West 2; Southern Gauteng Witsies 2 Eastern Province 1; KZN Coastal Raiders 5 Border 1; Northern Blues 2 Western Province 0.

B Section: Free State 5 KZN Mynahs 0; Zimbabwe 7 EP Settlers 1; Eastern Gauteng 2 Mpumalanga 2; KZN Inland 3 SA Country Districts B 0.

Sapa





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