Province off to shaky start as Southerns run riot
Defending champions Western Province kicked off their women’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament (IPT) with a 1-1 draw with Wits University at the Randburg hockey stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Western Province — who beat Southern Gauteng 4-3 in last year’s final — were made to work hard for their point, as Wits took the lead 10 minutes from the half-time break, before Province hit back three minutes later to level the game at the interval.
Wits continued to up the tempo in the second period, pushing Province to the limit, with the Johannesburg outfit looking the more likely to score as time ran out for the champions to get maximum points.
Province had to settle for a draw and will look to regain their momentum when they take on Amathole on Monday.
Meanwhile, tournament favourites, Southern Gauteng (Southerns) — captained by London Olympian and world record holder Pietie Coetzee — showed their early ascendancy as they scored three in the first half and five in the second, to outclass the KZN Mynahs 8-0 in the day’s best action.
Southerns opened the scoring in the 19th minute, after a goalmouth scramble dribbled over the line to hand the hosts an early lead, before Southerns doubled their tally four minutes later and added a third shortly after.
Coetzee led from the front and finally got her name onto the scoresheet in the second period after several near-misses, before following shortly with her second, to help her side to a convincing victory.
In the day’s other results, the South African women’s under-21 side beat North West 4-1 to top pool A, while Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) Raiders won their tournament opener 2-0 against Amathole.
Eastern Province got their campaign off to the perfect start with a 6-0 drubbing of KZN Inland, to take second place in pool B, ahead of North Gauteng (Northerns), who strolled to a 5-0 win over Free State.