The second day of action at the South African Hockey Indoor IPT, proudly presented by SPAR and Tops at SPAR offered goals galore and further to this offered us a clearer picture of the final four in a fiercely contested competition.
The men’s tournament has one round of pool games left but three of the four semi-finalists have already been decided. Southern Gauteng and the SPAR KZN Raiders both secured their spots in the top 4 ahead of a meeting between the two to decide top spot of Pool B. The hosts dismissed the Witsies 7-0 keeping a second clean sheet, despite the game being 0-0 at the half time break. While Southerns themselves were too good for the Northern Blues winning 10-3. The two teams have the same points and the same goal difference ahead of their decider tomorrow morning.
Western Province, looking for their fourth consecutive title, were belligerent in their dismissal of the Mpumalanga challenge winning by 9 goals as they found the back of the net on regular occurrence. The last Semi-Final spot will be one of the three remaining teams with a victory for Eastern Gauteng, Mpumalanga or KZN Mynahs all offering mathematical opportunity at a final four position.
The women had their double header day playing their second and third group stage games. SPAR KZN Raiders completed a 100% group stage record with a big win over the WP Pens before shading their second side KZN Mynahs. The latter match offered a family battle as both the Lardant and Kroutz sisters took each other on, adding a bit of flare to the occasion.
Western Province Pens outperformed the expectations once again with a back-to-back semi-final qualification. They secured it with a professional 4-1 win over Mpumalanga to make sure they will be involved in the discussion once again. They are joined in the final four by the Northern Blues. The Pretoria ladies had to fight from 2-0 down against Western Province to secure a draw, but showed their class in putting 11 past North West.
The last spot in the semi-finals was to be decided in a showdown between Western Province and Southern Gauteng, who met in the final game of the group stages. An enthralling battle between the traditional giants of South African Hockey produced a back and forth match that incredibly failed to deliver a goal which delighted Western Province as they edged their way into a semi-final and a chance to improve on their runner up finish 12 months ago.
In the Women’s B Section SG Witsies laid down their marker with a massive 11-2 win against Free State B. Cloe de Souza scoring 5 goals in the landslide victory. Free State A were able to sneak a victory against Eastern Gauteng winning 3-2 with a late goal from Chemelda Ontong giving the Bloemfontein outfit the three points.