The South African Hockey Association has welcomed the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games announced on Tuesday in a joint statement by President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo because of the Covid-19 virus.

The Games have now been rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than the 2021 summer, in order to safeguard the health of the athletes and everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

"The postponement was inevitable given the global pandemic of COVID-19.  This is a most pragmatic approach taken by the IOC.  We welcome the decision and applaud the IOC for putting athletes Health & Safety first." shared SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni

The joint-statement also stated that in their meeting leading to the announcement it was agreed that the world's biggest multi-sporting event will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The FIH said in a statement from CEO Theirry Weill that they supported the prudent and necessary decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to postpone the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"On behalf of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), I would like to thank and express our full support to the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for the decision taken to postpone the Olympics to next year.

This decision brings clarity to the global hockey community and I’m sure it is supported by all athletes who are currently facing important challenges to train at this unprecedented time. The focus today is on staying at home to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The message of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch that “Hope Lights Our Way” could not be more pertinent at this time.

We look forward to outstanding Olympic Games in Tokyo next year!""

 

The South African Hockey Association takes serious note of the 15 March 2020 Government Gazette No. 43096 declaring the COVID-19  pandemic a National Disaster as pronounced by the President of the Republic of South Africa the Honourable Cyril Ramaphosa.

Having considered the national address of the State President and his affirmation that “the situation calls for an extraordinary response; there can be no half measures”. It is clear that it cannot be business as usual for SA Hockey and a call to stop the spread of COVID-19 is a responsibility that we all carry. The health and safety of the hockey community and all South Africans at large is now more than ever of paramount concern.

The Executive Board of SAHA has today resolved that with immediate effect all hockey events scheduled for the period March to May 2020 will be postponed indefinitely. These events include but are not limited to National Level IPT Events, Festivals and International Invitational Series. We further strongly recommend that Domestic Provincial Leagues be postponed to limit the number of contact opportunities between  participants. This measure will be reassessed mid-April and a further directive will be issued as needed. These directives will be taken in consultation with the relevant authorities and will be informed by the state of the nation at that time.

We would like to urge the hockey community to exercise caution, to maintain very high levels of personal hygiene and to support all efforts pronounced by National Government to proactively limit the risk of spreading/contracting the COVID-19 virus.

The South African Hockey Association announce with regret that the upcoming International hockey series in Durban featuring Ireland, Japan, China, Great Britain and South Africa has been cancelled as part of the preventative measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was made after discussions between the various national associations who decided that a cancellation of the series would be in the best interest of all teams involved.

 “Although the wonderful KwaZulu Natal hockey supporters will be disappointed that the series will no longer go ahead, we know they will be understanding of the decision.” Said Marissa Langeni, CEO of SA Hockey, “With the global situation remaining fluid,  travel restrictions being announced on a daily basis, teams cannot be assured of returning home timeously and that uncertainty along with the sensitivity of possible exposure to the virus means that this was the best option for all parties involved.”

The series was to run from 19 March to the 03 April at Riverside Hockey club in Durban North with 17 matches being played. For the South African Women it will be a period of rest and work behind the scenes while the world fights together against the pandemic.

The South African Hockey Association like many South Africans and certainly global communities is concerned about the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Whilst South Africa has not had any confirmed cases in the early days of the initial outbreak this is no longer the case. We are part of a global community and our lives continue to intersect with the world on a daily basis via sport, travel, business, tourism and the like.

In the interest of a sport specific precaution SA Hockey would like to further advise that pre- match and post-match hand shaking will no longer be required until further notice.

“Teams are still encouraged to show true sportsmanship and teams are still to acknowledge the competing team and match officials and to wish them well before their game. As such we encourage them to consider rather an elbow bump, foot tap and/or stick tap.” Said Marissa Langeni, CEO of SA Hockey.

Some precautionary measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Shaking of hands should be suspended to reduce spread risk.
  • When coughing, cough within the elbow or a tissue (dispose of the tissue in the correct manner).
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or utilise waterless hand washes often especially after contact with individuals.
  • When handling public space materials (trolleys at airports and public spaces etc), it is advisable to, if possible, use disinfectant wipes on these items also to reduce risk.
  • Limit direct contact with individuals by handshaking, hugging as much as one can.

The South African Hockey Association are calling for applications for the positions listed below. Each applicant must complete the application form and submit a short CV. A short job description for the position is available.

Your Application and CV must be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Application Form Click here

The following vacancies are available. 

After 8 days and 38 games we have two champion sides. At the end of the adventure of the 2019 tournaments it’s the Madikwe Rangers celebrating their first title while the Drakensberg Dragons become just the second team to retain the title.

The Madikwe Rangers had the best chance early in the game when Nomnikelo Veto broke through the defence of the table topping Wineland Wings to have a one-on-one chance with Sandisiwe Tabata, in for Zimi Shange. However superb pressure from Dunell van Taak put Veto off her stride and the chance went astray.

The Wings created their own good chance, but nobody was able to convert after good by-line work from Tarryn Glasby. The Rangers then created another half chance but in truth both teams were defending impressively and the midfield battle between Kristen Paton and Jess Lardant was one of the finest CTM Premier Hockey League battles ever seen at Randburg.

The Rangers did however think they had taken the lead through Veto when she bundled home the ball after a goal mouth melee. The Wings though referred the decision and ultimately were proven correct as the ball had edged off Toni Marks shoe.

If there was doubt in that decision, there was no doubt a few minutes later when Veto fired in what could be the goal of the tournament to give the Rangers a lead. Picking up the ball on the right she moved into the D before firing home a superb tomahawk strike.

The goal opened the game up and the Wings looked to surge back into contention with Jade Mayne regularly pulling the strings in midfield. The pressure would eventually tell as Jessica Lardant got the goal her performance deserved.

That was the last big chance of the game and the 2019 title would be decided on a shootout. The Rangers scored their opening two, while the Wings missed theirs before a turnaround and three saves gave Stephanie Botha the chance to win the Wings the titles. Although she did eventually score it was well after the 8 second limit and it meant that we headed to sudden death. The order reversed and when Tarryn Glasby missed it gave Lise-Marie Deetlefs the opportunity to end the pain of two previous final defeats. She didn’t need to be offered twice as she fired home an unstoppable shot that sealed the match and a maiden CTM Premier Hockey League title for the Rangers.

The Drakensberg Dragons were also in their third final but unlike the Rangers had tasted victory before. The Mambas, who had topped the table were competing in their first final. Although a highly competitive final was expected, in truth it was a largely one-sided final.

The Dragons were tasked with keeping the attacking trio of Dollman, Kok and Cassiem quiet and they did that with spectacular effect. The best form of attack is defence and from the start that’s exactly what the Dragons did from the start. Creating at least 3 early chances before Miguel da Graca, who’s team has made the final in every Premier Hockey League. Da Graca found himself with a little space and punished the Mambas.

The Mambas would have been pleased to get to the half time break only 1 goal down as they had very little attacking opportunities in the opening half hour. After a big chat with his team at half time Lungile Tsolekile would have wanted the boys to come out fighting but they found themselves 3-0 down in just four minutes.

Bili Ntuli got another PHL final goal to his growing collection of big game goals. Richard Pautz produced a moment of magic to put the ball through his legs and find a fine run by Ntuli who chipped it over Mckinley. Pautz turned goal scorer two minutes later collection a ball by Bothma and finishing on the stretch. Pautz goal was the 100th goal of the men’s tournament in this year’s CTM Premier Hockey League.

Ntuli then made it a record final score when Pierre Bothma ran up the wing and fired in a cross for Bili Ntuli to score another final goal and the final goal of this year’s CTM Premier Hockey League final. The Dragons becoming just the second team to defend a PHL trophy.

Earlier in the day the Orange River Rafters secured a bronze medal when they beat the Daisies 4-1 thanks to Zimkhita Weston, Donna Small, Dirkie Chamberlain and Ongi Mali. Bianca Wood scored the only goal for the Daisies, her fifth of the tournament and making her the outright all-time highest goal scorer for the Daisies.

The Garden Route Gazelles were the men’s bronze medal winners with a 3-2 win. After leading 2-0 through Brandon James and Keenan Horne, the Gazelles saw Dayaan Cassiem and Keegan Hezlett erase that lead. Reece Arendse then netted the winner and a second bronze medal for the Gazelles.

CTM Premier Hockey League – Results – 04 August 2019

Women’s Bronze – Orange River Rafters 4-1 Namaqualand Daisies
Men’s Bronze – Maropeng Cavemen 2-3 Garden Route Gazelles
Women’s Final – Madikwe Rangers (3) 1-1 (2) Wineland Wings
Men’s Final – Drakensberg Dragons 4-0 Mapungubwe Mambas

CTM Premier Hockey League – Final Standings

Women
1. Madikwe Rangers
2. Wineland Wings
3. Orange River Rafters
4. Namaqualand Daisies
5. Blyde River Bunters
6. St. Lucia Lakers

Men
1. Drakensberg Dragons
2. Mapungubwe Mambas
3. Garden Route Gazelles
4. Maropeng Cavemen
5. Addo Elephants
6. Golden Gate Gladiators

CTM Premier Hockey League – Individual Awards

Player of the tournament
(M) – Bili Ntuli (Dragons)
(W) – Lisa-Marie Deetlefs (Rangers)

Top Goal scorer
(M) – Keegan Hezlett (Cavemen)
(W) – Sylvia van Jaarsveldt (Wings)

Young Player of the tournament
(M) – Mustapha Cassiem (Mambas)
(W) – Bianca Wood (Daisies)

Goalkeeper of the tournament
(M) – Rob Mckinley (Mambas)
(W) – Mmatshepo Modipane (Rangers)

Photos - Marcel Sigg

There will be little debate that the 2019 Premier Hockey League has produced some of the most outstanding attacking hockey, which was once again the theme of the semi-finals.

Madikwe Rangers (4) 3-3 (3) Orange River Rafters

For the second year in a row it was heart break for the Orange River Rafters at the Semi-Final stage against the Madikwe Rangers on a penalty shootout. For the Rangers it gives them the opportunity to finally take the final hurdle having twice failed at the final stage.

Nicky Veto won an early penalty corner for the Rangers that was punished by Lisa Deetlefs with a trademark slap. The impressive Donna Small then helped matters level when her superb run was slotted home by Zimkitha Weston. The scored stayed that way for half an hour before one of the finest all-time PHL goals was scored by Kristen Paton. She took on five players as she made her way into the D and then slid the ball past Cheree Greyvenstein superbly.

The Rafters levelled again with a superb deflection by Dirkie Chamberlain on the back of a very well worked short corner. That joy was short lived as Toni Marks won the Rangers a short corner which Ashleigh Datnow deflected a Deetlefs slap home. There was still time for Ongi Mali to play party pooper as she finished off a goal mouth scramble and sent the match to a shootout.

The shootouts went to sudden death but after Paton and Chamberlain had scored Casey-Jean Botha had her shot saved and Deetlefs confirmed a third final for the Rangers, the first team to achieve this.

Wineland Wings 4-3 Namaqualand Daisies

The tempo did not die down in the second game as the Wineland Wings and Namaqualand Daisies played out a superb semi-final with the victor qualifying for their first ever final. The Daisies surprisingly held an early lead when quick play by Bianca Wood secured the ball for Thati Segoale who finished expertly. The crowd at Randburg had to wait until the third quarter for the Wings to answer the call and they did it through their all-time leading goalscorer Tarryn Glasyb firing home a penalty corner.

The Wings then took the lead through tournament top scorer Sylvia van Jaarsveledt who finished a super opportunistic goal. It all kicked off in the fourth quarter though as Ashleigh Thomas pounced to level the score at 2-2 before Bianca Wood showed her ability under pressure to turn the game on its head and get the Daisies fans dreaming.

Those dreams will become Jade Mayne nightmares for the Daisies because the Wings superstar showed extreme poise and control at the top of the D and fired one in low and hard to level the game before van Jaarsveldt popped up with another trademark goal to settle it once and for all for the Wings.

Drakensberg Dragons 3-1 Maropeng Cavemen

In a repeat of the 2017 final and the 2018 semi-final the most played fixture in PHL history saw the Dragons emerge victorious over the Cavemen to become the first team in PHL history to secure three consecutive final appearances.

They took the lead when big game goal scorer Bili Ntuli caught Rassie Pieterse off guard and slid the ball under him in the 12th minute. The Cavemen would raise the game themselves looking to become the first team to win the trophy three times. They also had Pieterse to thank after he twice denied Ross Hetem in unbeleivable fashion.

Dayaan Cassiem was taken out in a heavy challenge, but the Cavemen played the ball quickly. Callum Buchanan found himself open on the top of the d and fired it home expertly. But the Dragons were back ahead shortly after when Bili Ntuli produced a sensational run and ball for Ross Hetem to finish. The Dragons should have had more but struck the upright twice before a superb finish by Amkelwe Letuka made it 3-1 and settled the game.

Mapungubwe Mambas (3) 1-1 (0) Garden Route Gazelles

It was a tight affair in the second match as Lungile Tsolekile’s Mambas took on good friend Ashlin Freddy’s Gazelles. The Mambas were the favourites having topped the group stage and showed that favouritism in the 6th minute through Luthando Jonas who found a pin point rocket into the bottom left corner.

Both sides had chances to add to the scoring, but Paton and Sibbald from the Gazelles and Dollman from the Mambas were all dented spectacularly. But finally, with four minutes left on the clock the Gazelles did equalize. A fumbled stop from a PC was worked across to Keenan Horne who finished sensationally. 1-1 the final score. The day had stated with a shootout and was going to do end the same way.

The earlier shootout needed extra rounds but this one needed only three. Ryan Mann, Ryan Julius and Mustaphaa Cassiem all netted theirs while no one breached the goal of Goals of Rob McKinley for the Mambas.

CTM Premier Hockey League – 03 August 2019

10:00 – Women’s Bronze – Orange River Rafters vs. Namaqualand Daisies
12:00 – Men’s Bronze – Maropeng Cavemen vs. Garden Route Gazelles
14:00 – Women’s Final – Madikwe Rangers vs. Wineland Wings
16:00 – Men’s Final – Drakensberg Dragons vs. Mapungubwe Mambas

Images - Marcel Sigg

After 30 matches in the preliminary stages, the 2019 CTM Premier Hockey League has reached its semi-final stages. At the end of Sunday’s action, we said goodbye to four of the teams and a total of 8 remain across the Men’s and Women’s competition. On Sunday afternoon just two of these sides will be left to celebrate the title as champions of the 2019 CTM Premier Hockey League

Women

There will be a new champion in the women’s tournament as defending champions the Blyde River Bunters failed to make the knock out stages for the first time in PHL history. Looking to profit from their absence is the table topping Wineland Wings. The team, coached by Ryan Pillay, won four out of five games on their way to cementing top spot. They will be looking to the all-time PHL top goal scorer Sylvia van Jaarsveldt to keep banging in the goals while the form of Jessica Lardant and Jade Mayne has been pivotal to their run to the top. The Wings will be taking on the Namaqualand Daisies who produced a wonderful display to secure a semi-final spot in the last group game of the tournament.

The Daisies are the South African U21 side and will be incredibly happy with their performances to be in the final four. The will also be buoyed by the fact that they are the undefeated in this year’s tournament against all the final four. Mishka Ellis has been a revelation in goal while Thati Segoale, Jean-Leigh du Toit and Lezaan Jansen van Vuuren have all enhanced their reputations. Bianca Wood has been the undoubted star though, the south African capped striker netting the goal of the weekend with pure individual brilliance on Saturday.  Their group encounter ended in a 1-1 draw.

The Madikwe Rangers have twice made the final, but they will be looking to go a step further this year. Kristen Paton has been a driving force of the team consistently creating opportunities for the forward players to take advantage of. Lisa Deetlefs has continued to prove dangerous at penalty corners while Nomnikelo Veto has shown her danger in front of goal. The Rangers will take on the Orange River Rafters, the only team in the final four to have lifted the trophy before having won the title in 2017. Sulette Damons has scored the goals while the creativity has come from Charne Maddocks, Ongi Mali, Donna Small and Dirkie Chamberlain, playing in a deeper role than normal. In the group stage the Rafters won 2-1.

Men

The Men’s Tournament brings the two most successful franchises along with the 2019 juggernaut that is the Mapungubwe Mambas. The Mambas became only the second team in history to win every group game following the Cavemen in 2017 and will hope to emulate that side in picking up the crown.

The front trio of Tevin Kok, Wade Dollman and Mustapha Cassiem has produced some breathtaking hockey and some sensational goals. Owen Mvimbi has shown his astute leadership skills as the captain in a team that has an arsenal that includes Ryan Julius, Matt Brown, Ross Goncalves and Tommy Hammond. Based on what we have seen in PHL 2019 its going to take an incredible effort for someone to stop them.

That challenge will go to the Garden Route Gazelles in the semi-final. The Gazelles were the last team to make the semi-finals and join the Mambas as two teams who have never made a final. Having lost 3-2 in the group stages, the Gazelles coach Ashlin Freddy will be up with a massive task to get one over his good friend Lungile Tsolekile. If the Gazelles are to knock out the Mambas, they will need Connor Beauchamp to be at his best at penalty corner time, while in Taine Paton and Dan Sibbald they have arguably two of South Africa’s most explosive midfielders. The experience of Keenan Horne, Jonty Robinson and Lance Louw may be pivotal in deciding this match.

The other semi-final will feature the two teams to have won the Premier Hockey League. The defending champions Drakensberg Dragons will be hoping to up the ante this weekend. They feature a host of explosive strikers in Richard Pautz, Bili Ntuli, Miguel da Graca and Ignatius Malgraff and have one of SA Hockey’s favourite players, Jethro Eustice, as their skipper. The match will also feature a showdown between the two South African Hockey goalkeepers from the World Cup with Gowan Jones (Dragons) taking on Rassie Pieterse (Cavemen).

The Cavemen, who won the first two tournaments, are a very different team from the past but they still have the wily Mark Sanders in charge. Centre to their prospects will be the combinations between Cameron Mackay, Brynn Cleak and Dayaan Cassiem who troubled the Dragons in their previous meeting, while Keegan Hezlett is in some fine goal scoring form. They produced a classic 3-2 group stage game and have previously met in the final and the semi-final. It is the most played fixture in PHL history, and a classic awaits!

CTM Premier Hockey League – 02 August 2019

12:00 – (W-SF1) – Madikwe Rangers vs. Orange River Rafters
14:00 – (M-SF1) – Drakensberg Dragons vs. Maropeng Cavemen
16:00 – (W-SF2) – Wineland Wings vs. Namaqualand Daisies
18:00 – (M-SF2) – Mapungubwe Mambas vs. Garden Route Gazelles

CTM Premier Hockey League – 03 August 2019

10:00 – Women’s Bronze Medal Match
12:00 – Men’s Bronze Medal Match
14:00 – Women’s Final
16:00 – Men’s Final

Original images- Marcel Sigg

Entering the Men’s final group stages, three of the four semi-final spots had already been decided. The table topping Mapungubwe Mambas were to be joined by the two previous victors the Maropeng Cavemen and the Drakensberg Dragons. The final spot would be decided in a virtual quarter final between the Addo Elephants and the Garden Route Gazelles.

The Garden Route Gazelles come out firing with an early first quarter goal. Gareth Heyns standing on post was unable to deny Connor Beauchamp’s low drag flick and it was 1-0. The Elephants showed their own fighting spirit and brought matters level through skipper Reza Rosenberg. The South African dual indoor and outdoor national finished with a very reactive strike to restore parity.

But Ashlin Freddy’s side re-established the lead when Matthew Martins made a good penalty corner save but Keenan Horne was on hand to slap in the rebound. It was very soon 3-1 as Taine Paton showed superb aerial skills before a blistering strike gave Martins no chance. If Paton’s goal was good, then Reece Arendse’s finish was great. Picking up the ball in the D, Arendse pushed it across to create the space and fired it home.

The Elephants brought themselves back into the game with a penalty corner strike by Gareth Heyns before the superb youngster Marvin Simons rounded Martins and made it 5-2 which would ultimately be the final score and a confirmed place in the semi-final for the Garden Route Gazelles, while the Elephants would miss the final four for the first time in PHL history.

The others men’s game today was to decide the top team in the group stages and the Mapungubwe Mambas continued their fine form to run home with a 4-1 win over the Drakensberg Dragons. Neil Raath opened the scoring with a low drive into the bottom corner and Dylan Swanepoel levelled with a great drag flick for the Dragons.

With 8 minutes left the Mambas broke the deadlock with some quick passing and quick thinking for Mustapha Cassiem to make it 2-1. They quickly made it 3-1 when a Ryan Julius was saved but Ross Goncalves reacted quickly to fire home. There was still time for a bonus point as the Mambas finished the group stages with a perfect record. Calab Syce finished from an Owen Mvimbi cross into an empty net. 4-1 the final score.

In the Women’s tournament only the Wineland Wings were assured of the semi-final spot but were quickly joined there by the Orange River Rafters when the Blyde River Bunters beat the St. Lucia Lakers. The 2-1 win inspired by Celia Evans again and gave themselves a hold of fourth spot for the time being.

Former Wing’s player Stephanie Baxter had opened the scoring for the Lakers to put the Bunters on the verge of elimination but Celia Evans first and later Miecke Flemming turned the game on its head and confirmed a 2-1 win that eliminated the Lakers.

The Madikwe Rangers were then able to add their name to the semi-final list as Kristen Paton inspired the team to a victory to deny the Wineland Wings a perfect group stage. The seven-goal thriller was arguably the game of the weekend as both teams held the lead at different points and a last-minute winner decided the game.

The Rangers opened the scoring with a superb top right corner drag flick by Antoinette Louw, but early in the second quarter Jade Mayne forced the equaliser through a superb run. Mayne’s goal was the 200th in the CTM Premier Hockey League history. The Wings then completed an early comeback as Sylvia van Jaarsveldt celebrated her recall to the national team by catching Lisa Deetlefs in possession and finishing past Modipane.

Lisa quickly atoned for that error though as she went up the other end and finished off a penalty corner won by Toni Marks with a trademark slap. Deetlefs then finished her second with a slap into the opposite corner to make it 3-2 to the Rangers. The Wings then had a sensational save by Zimi Shange to thank for keeping it to one goal and rewarded her with a levelling goal through Stephanie Botha, the 50th women’s goal in this year’s PHL.

Zimi Shange then made another sensational save to keep the scores level but she could not deny Tamlyn Kock after more Paton good work and the Rangers had sealed their spot in the final four.

The last place in next weekends finals was decided in the final game of the group stage. After going into the break at 0-0 the Namaqualand Daisies were in dreamland as they took a 1-0 lead against the Rafters through an Ashleigh Thomas penalty corner.

It got even better for the Daisies when they took a 2-0 lead through Jean-Leigh du Toit with a bullet strike but the gave was given a breath of life when Charne Maddocks finished a goal mouth scramble with just 3 minutes remaining. The Rafters poured forward looking for an equaliser and pulled Cheree Greyvenstein off, but the gamble backfired as they conceded a last-minute penalty corner and Jean-Leigh du Toit made it 3-1 expertly. The Daisies had made the semi-finals and confirmed that for the first time in four seasons the Blyde River Bunters would not medal!

CTM Premier Hockey League – 28 July Results

08:00 – (W) – Blyde River Bunters 2-1 St. Lucia Lakers
10:00 – (W) – Madikwe Rangers 4-3 Wineland Wings
12:00 – (M) – Addo Elephants 2-5 Garden Route Gazelles
14:00 – (M) – Mapungubwe Mambas 4-1 Drakensberg Dragons
16:00 – (W) – Orange River Rafters 1-3 Namaqualand Daisies

CTM Semi-Final Fixtures

M – Mapungubwe Mambas vs. Garden Route Gazelles
M – Drakensberg Dragons vs. Maropeng Cavemen
W – Wineland Wings vs. Namaqualand Daisies
W – Orange River Rafters vs. Madikwe Rangers

Images - Marcel Sigg

The Blyde River Bunters faced the gauntlet this morning and emerged the other side with their title defence still alive. It took only seconds to get the first goal of the tournament for the Bunters as the Namaqualand Daisies afforded Celia Evans too much space. The 2016 SA Hockey Player of the Year surged into the D and fired in a shot that was deflected home off a Daisies defender stick. It got better for the Bunters when a penalty corner variation landed at the stick of Izelle Verster who made no mistake.

It looked like a formality for the Bunters to record their first win but then began the Bianca Wood show. The youngster who made her national debut earlier this year against Namibia produced a sensational solo run and finish to pull one goal back for the Bunters. The goal brought back memories of the goal of the tournament by Simone Gouws in the first PHL. Wood then made it 2-2 when she was on the end of superb work by Thati Segoale to glance the ball home past Phumelela Mbande.

With the game heading into a shootout, Celia Evans grabbed it by the scruff of the neck and drove into the D before firing in a shot from an acute angle with just 16 seconds left on the clock. The Bunters tournament is still alive.

The Mapungubwe Mambas themselves made it four out of four with their own 3-2 victory over the Garden Route Gazelles. The Wade Dollman and Mustapha Cassiem show was once again highlighted in the opening goal as a blistering counter attack led the two strikers to combine before Cassiem was left one-on-one with Siya Nolutshungu and rattled the backboard with a fine strike. An error from Gazelles Lance Louw then gave Mambas captain Owen Mvimbi the chance to double the lead which he did with an emphatic shot into the bottom corner.

The best of their bunch was yet to come, and we had to wait until the second half before the other half of the Mambas bash brothers, Dollman got on the scoresheet. Picking up the ball just outside the 25, the striker arched a perfect run into the D before netting into the top right corner. It was a sensational finish.

Dan Sibbald had other ideas and drove his team back into the game. First, he effected a turnover against Jacky Mohlaba before firing the ball across the goal. Brandon James got the touch on the line to claim the goal, but Sibbald undoubtedly the architect. He was the architect of the second as a perfect cross allowed young sensation Marvin Simons to top into an empty net.

But the Mambas would hang on and secure their top spot and a fourth consecutive victory in the 2019 CTM Premier Hockey League.

The St. Lucia Lakers were looking to secure their own semi-final spot when they took on the Madikwe Rangers, but it was Sandile Bosman’s team that were smiling at the end of the four quarters. The Rangers knew a defeat would leave their tournament hopes in tatters and spurred on by that, and her national squad selection, Nomnikelo “Nicky” Veto produced a player of the match performance in guiding the Rangers home. She netted twice once through a superb solo strike and a second through a deft touch after a great Lisa Deetlefs pass.

The Lakers though fought back and got on the scoresheet when Megan Anderson bundled home at a penalty corner to give the game life, but the Rangers were good value for their lead and let the clock run down and secured a much-needed win.

The Rangers will play the Wings tomorrow, while the Lakers take on the Bunters. Both aware that a slip up could allow the Daisies or Bunters to usurp them into the semi-finals.

The inaugural CTM Premier Hockey League final was between the Addo Elephants and the Maropeng Cavemen and the old adversaries faced off again in the group stages. Both teams still feature their original PHL Coaches and have produced some classics along the way. Today it was the Elephants who got the last laugh as they emerged victorious in a 6-3 goal fest.

The Elephants led 3-1 at the end of the first quarter with Julian Hykes netting a brace after former Cavemen striker Cerezo Comerasamy opened the scoring with an effortless flick into the side net. Hykes two goals were typical Julian goals fired home with venom. Craig Wiid had pulled one back for the Cavemen with his third pc goal of the season, but they showed superb fight in pulling it back to 3-3. Keegan Hezlett scored a thunderbolt reverse stick straight through Martins before Courtney Halle added to his goal against the Dragons. As thoughts would have gone towards the win for Mark Sanders side, they were sucker punched by a quick double from Sinoxolo Mbekeni, who scored after superb work by Chad Futcher, and Comersamy with his second, a good touch of fortune in that one.

As the game headed towards its conclusion, Hykes popped up with his 3rd of the game, 4th of the year and 12th all time PHL goal giving former national and provincial team mate Rassie Pieterse no chance with a brilliant drive into the bottom corner. That goal wrapped up the victory but also the bonus point that puts the Addo Elephants on the brink of the semi-finals.

It was one-way traffic in the days final game as the Drakensberg Dragon routed the Golden Gate Gladiators 6-0. The results sent the Gladiators home without a win and meant it would be a straight fight between the Addo Elephants and Garden Route Gazelles for a semi-final spot.

Ryan Crowe struck early for the Dragons and the result was never in doubt from that moment on. They methodically added goals throughout the game with Dylan Swanepoel making it two before Ignatius Malgraff, the all-time leading goal scorer of the Premier Hockey League produced a moment of sublime individual skill to leave all mesmerised in making it 3-0.

In the second half Richard Pautz reacted first to make it 4-0 after good Bili Ntuli work before Ross Hetem benefitted from a Pautz pass and his own sublime finish. There was still time left for the Dragons to get their 6th and final goal through Ignatius Malgraff, netting his 15th all-time PHL Goal to confirm the Dragons will be there for the final games next weekend.

CTM Premier Hockey League – 27 July Results

10:00 – (W) – Blyde River Bunters 3-2 Namaqualand Daisies
12:00 – (M) – Mapungubwe Mambas 3-2 Garden Route Gazelles
14:00 – (W) – St. Lucia Lakers 1-2 Madikwe Rangers
16:00 – (M) – Addo Elephants 6-3 Maropeng Cavemen
18:00 – (M) – Golden Gate Gladiators 6-0 Drakensberg Dragons

CTM Premier Hockey League – 28 July Fixtures

08:00 – (W) – Blyde River Bunters vs. St. Lucia Lakers
10:00 – (W) – Madikwe Rangers vs. Wineland Wings
12:00 – (M) – Addo Elephants vs. Garden Route Gazelles
14:00 – (M) – Mapungubwe Mambas vs. Drakensberg Dragons
16:00 – (W) – Orange River Rafters vs. Namaqualand Daisies

Images - Marcel Sigg