The South African Hockey Indoor IPT 2023, powered by SPAR and Tops at SPAR, has now had its final two teams decided. 32 games have taken place at Thomas More College over three days and now ultimately, we are left with a top 2 in the men’s and women’s competitions.
In the women’s competition the 2020 & 2022 double defending champions SPAR KZN Raiders have secured their spot in the final. They were tested by 2022 Runners up Western Province in the semi-final. The hosts took a lead through the prodigious goal scorer Malikah Hamza, but the Cape side fought back and levelled through Angela Welham.
Lilian du Plessis missed a stroke but fired in a field goal to regain the lead and when Hamza and Cailyn den Bakker added to the score the hosts were home safe to continue a title defense.
Their opponents in the final were the surprise package of the tournament. The WP Pens side, effectively the B side for WP, shocked the much-fancied Northern Blues with a penalty shootout victory. They took the lead just before half-time when Baylee Engelke scored but were finally pegged back by Kiana Cormack in the final quarter. With neither side able to score it went to a shootout where Manisha Desai kept out Cormack and Cerian Fourie to delight the Cape supporters and secure a historic first IPT final.
In the men’s tournament Western Province have another opportunity to lift the gold medal. Despite a tremendous performance from Jethro Eustice, the Raiders were unable to stop the charge of the champions. Each of the Cassiem brothers netted a brace while Luthando Jonas, Kyle Esau and Zenani Kraai all added to the score line in a game Western Province were consistently in control of and deserving winners.
Mpumalanga took part in their first ever IPT semifinal and the nerves seemed to play a part in a largely subdued performance against Southern Gauteng. A game that took 20 minutes to see its first goal, a slow-motion effort from Spencer Botes, did pick up in the second 20 but ultimately it saw the Johannesburg secure a final spot thanks to a brace from JP Britz and Dalpiarro Langford.
It promises to be an exciting match when SPAR KZN Raiders take on Western Province Peninsula in the women’s final on Saturday at 16:00, which will be followed by the Western Province and Southern Gauteng Men’s final. The finals are live at Thomas More College and will be streamed on Rayder Media YouTube, the SA Hockey App and Supersport Schools app. Highlights are available on the SA Hockey YouTube page.