The second day of the 2019 CTM Premier Hockey League saw plenty of action as the Wings and Mambas top the Mens and Womens tournaments respectively. The 2019 defending champions the Blyde River Bunters suffered their second successive defeat while the Addo Elephants marched back into contention. But first the day began with the St. Lucia Lakers and Namaqualand Daisies playing their first game of the 2019 tournament.

It was record breaking start to the second day of the 2019 CTM Premier Hockey League when the St. Lucia Lakers and the Namaqualand Daisies started their campaigns. The record they beat was one they held together, being the most goals in a game. The 8 scored today beats the seven they shared in their first meeting in 2016.

The Daisies will be disappointed to have ended the contest with a defeat after leading 2-0 and 3-2 in the game. Sare Laubscher and Thati Segoale started the game almost unbelievably for the Daisies with goals in the 6th and 7th minutes. A frenetic second quarter saw the Lakers peg back twice through Steph Baxter and Lilian du Plessis but trailing again to Jean-Leigh du Toit. If the Daisies were hoping to get to the break even, they were disappointed as Polly Mashau levelled again.

After six goals in the first half there was the inevitable third quarter stillness before the Lakers landed the killer blow in the final quarter netting through the sensational Tegan Fourie and securing the victory with a late Megan Anderson strike to secure a place in the record book and a winning start under the tutelage of Tarrin Ramsden.

In an act that we have seen before by Cheslyn Gie’s side the Addo Elephants, the 2018 runners-up bounced back from an opening day defeat to surge to a bonus point 5-0 victory over the Golden Gate Gladiators.

Reza Rosenberg opened the scoring for the Elephants with the only goal in the first half with a tap in from one metre after great work from good friend Julian Hykes. The first half would hardly have prepared you for the carnage that was about to come as the second half and the final quarter saw the Elephants ramp home their advantage over the deflated Gladiators. Cerezo Comersamy got the second and third with two well taken finishes before Sinoxolo Mbekeni got his second of the tournament after Kyle Coker had made three superb saves but a deflection beat him almost unfairly!

There was no lack of fortune with the Elephants fifth and final goal. Elephants and South African legend Julian Hykes re-joined Richard Pautz as the all time second highest goal scorer in CTM Premier Hockey League history when he finished into an empty net. 5-0 the final score.

Having been gifted two goal laden matches so far, the expectation for more just kept rising and although there was not as many goals the Orange River Rafters still entertained as they overcame their opening day disappointment with a 2-1 win over the Madikwe Rangers.

After hitting the post through Lisa Deetlefs, the Rangers had to watch the Rafter go 2-0 up through Sulette Damons and an absolute Dirkie Chamberlain thunderbolt. Sulette Damons goal itself was an experienced finished after a world class through ball from Charne Maddocks. The Rafters started pushing forward looking for a third and the bonus point that comes with that. Instead they ended up trying to preserve the victory when Kristen Paton pulled a goal back with a wonderfully worked penalty corner variation. The South African international was having an impactful game and the goal was just rewards for her performance. Unfortunately for the Rangers it was not enough, and they had to settle for their first defeat of the 2019 Campaign.

The Cavemen and Mambas were looking to steal a march on top spot as they met in the fourth game of the day. But only one team was going to end the day with their hands on the number one position. That team is the Mambas.  

In a battle of the Cassiem brothers, the younger Mustapha got the laugh as his strike deflected off the stick of Kyle Lion-Cachet and looped over Duncan Fischer to make it 1-0. Greg Last then missed a stroke for the Mambas who were the better team on the day. Their second goal though was somewhat fortuitous as Tevin Kok poured forward. He looked to cross the ball for Luthando Jones but a mis-hit off the edge saw the ball diver through Fischer’s legs and into the Cavemen goal.

The Cavemen pulled off Fischer for the final four minutes and the decision paid benefit as Craig Wiid pulled a goal back with a blistering drag flick penalty corner. It gave Owen Mvimbi no chance on the line. Although both sides tried to get the games final goal, neither was able to and the Mambas secured the victory and top spot at this early stage of the 2019 tournament.

The final game of the day saw the 2019 champions the Blyde River Bunters look to bounce back from their opening day defeat as they took on the Wineland Wings. The Bunters though were left with more questions and no points after a Jessica Lardant inspired Wings performance gave them a second defeat.

The Wings opened the scoring through Sylvia van Jaarsveldt, her 8th career Premier Hockey League goal. They created shot after shot and were as dominant as they have been in a PHL matchup. The match was settled for the Wings when a brilliant press effected the turnover and found Tarryn Glasby open in the D. The South African international rode the challenge of Mbande in the Bunters goal before finishing coolly. The win moved the Wings to the top of the 2019 CTM Premier Hockey league table.

CTM Premier Hockey League – 19 July Results

08:00 – (W) – Namaqualand Daisies 3-5 St. Lucia Lakers
10:00 – (M) – Golden Gate Gladiators 0-5 Addo Elephants
12:00 – (W) – Orange River Rafters 2-1 Madikwe Rangers
14:00 – (M) – Maropeng Cavemen 1-2 Mapungubwe Mambas
16:00 – (W) – Blyde River Bunters 0-2 Wineland Wings

CTM Premier Hockey League – 20 July Fixtures

10:00 – (W) – Orange River Rafters vs. Blyde River Bunters
12:00 – (M) – Drakensberg Dragons vs. Garden Route Gazelles
14:00 – (W) – Namaqualand Daisies vs. Madikwe Rangers
16:00 – (M) – Golden Gate Gladiators vs. Maropeng Cavemen
18:00 – (W) – St. Lucia Lakers vs. Wineland Wings

Images by Marcel Sigg

The opening day of the 2019 and fourth edition of the CTM Premier Hockey League saw the defending champions the Drakensberg Dragons Roar, the Maropeng Cavemen spark, the Mapungubwe Mambas sizzle, the Madikwe Rangers hunt, and the Wineland Wings break a four-season curse. The 2019 Premier Hockey League is back and we re delighted.

There is often a sense of trepidation in the opening fixture of a tournament and many may have expected something similar in the first fixture of this year’s tournament between the Golden Gate Gladiators and the Mapungubwe Mambas. Many would have been wrong. Neville Rothman’s charges came out with fire in their bellies but had to wait until the 23rd minute before Tumi Ramphele opened the scoring.  Jacque van Tonder pressured the Mambas defence, effected a turn over and crossed for Ramphele to slide in a superb finish.

Things got better for the Gladiators as on the stroke of half-time as Sam Mvimbi converted a penalty stroke for the youngsters. The Mambas, who have won their last two encounters against the Gladiators pulled one back through their own stroke by Greg Last setting up a tense finish. They pulled level on the whistle of the third chukka when Luthando Jonas turned home a goal bound effort by Owen Mvimbi. Although the Mambas tested Taine Bird in goals for the Gladiators regularly, they could not break through and the opening game would be decided by a shootout.

Luthando Jonas, Mustahpa Cassiem and Ross Goncalves all finished for the Mambas as they claimed the opening victory of the 2019 tournament.

The women’s tournament started with a tighter affair as 2017 winners the Orange River Rafters took on the Wineland Wings. The two teams had met three times previously and in all three encounters both teams got on the scoresheet. They would continue that tradition, but to the delight of Ryan Pillay and the Wineland Wings another tradition would disappear!

The Wings were looking fantastic creating a host of opportunities with Jade Mayne central to everything right that the Wings were doing. Jessica Lardant was also a prominent figure while the Orange River Rafters were looking to soak up pressure and launch counters through retired former national skipper Sulette Damons. Stephanie Botha opened the scoring with a fine tomahawk strike for the Wings before Damons showed a moment of quick thinking to fire home the equaliser. The result meant we had our second shootout of the day, something the Wineland Wings would not have wanted. In the three previous season they had competed in nine shootouts winning zero.

It looked like that may continue after early shootout goals for Ongi Mali and Donna Small, but the wings surged back with Robyn Johnson, Tarryn Glasby and Cailynn den Bakker. Stephanie Botha then came forth and confirmed the victory with a coolness that would make Chuck Norris proud and to end the longest streak in Premier Hockey League history.

The Maropeng Cavemen and Garden Route Gazelles played off for the fifth time with the three previous encounters ending in draws. The game came to life in the third quarter after a dour first half. Cameron Mackay showed his poacher like ability in the 34th minute to net his sixth career PHL goal. The Cavemen were then pegged back by nationally capped Dan Sibbald who turned home after great work from the wing. Parity had barely been restored when Spencer Botes fired home a bullet finish to regain the lead for Cavemen who hung on to remain unbeaten in normal time against the Gazelles over four seasons.

The young Cavemen will be chuffed with that opening day victory and impressed with the performance of Duncan Fischer in for Rassie Pieterse, while Mark Chong was superb for the two-time winners.

The women’s final game of the day was a repeat of the 2019 and 2017 finals with Madikwe Rangers and Blyde River Bunters locking horns. The score has ended 1-0 to the Bunters in the three most recent meetings between the two teams, with the Bunters holding a 4-1-0 Head-to-Head advantage ahead of the game.

With the game being limited to many half-chances throughout it felt like another game where the odd goal would decide it. And that’s exactly what happened. With three minutes remaining the Rangers won the penalty corner and Antoinette Louw fired a drag flick past Phumelela Mbande with a venom that gave Pietie Coetzee flashbacks. Sandile Bosman, making his debut as a coach, was delighted with the victory as the team held on for the points.

The final match of the day was a repeat of the 2018 final with the Drakensberg Dragons taking on the Addo Elephants, two-time silver medallists. The Dragons were looking to make a statement to join the Cavemen as teams to defend the trophy and they did just that with a goal in each quarter on their way to a bonus point win.

They opened the scoring when man of the match Richard Pautz finished from some good work from Bili Ntuli. The goal by Pautz moved him into a tie for second in the all-time Premier Hockey League goal scorers alongside Julian Hykes and Ricky West. He then moved into second outright alone when he brilliantly deflected from a Jethro Eustice penalty corner to make it 2-0. Pierre Botma made it three after a brilliant feint one way and squaring the ball by Amkelwa Letuka. Botma fired in his second on the night a few minutes into the fourth quarter at a time when three players were off the field with yellow cards.

Cheslyn Gie’s Elephants managed to pull a goal back through sheer will and strength from Sinoxolo Mbekeni. Unfortunately, it was only a consolation goal and its back to the drawing board for the Addo Elephants.

CTM Premier Hockey League – 18 July Results

(M) – Golden Gate Gladiators (1) 2-2* (3) Mapungubwe Mambas
(W) – Orange River Rafters (3) 1-1* (4) Wineland Wings
(M) – Maropeng Cavemen 2-1 Garden Route Gazelles
(W) – Blyde River Bunters 0-1 Madikwe Rangers
(M) – Addo Elephants 1-4 Drakensberg Dragons

CTM Premier Hockey League – 19 July Fixtures

08:00 – (W) – Namaqualand Daisies vs. St. Lucia Lakers
10:00 – (M) – Golden Gate Gladiators vs. Addo Elephants
12:00 – (W) – Orange River Rafters vs. Madikwe Rangers
14:00 – (M) – Maropeng Cavemen vs. Mapungubwe Mambas
16:00 – (W) – Blyde River Bunters vs. Wineland Wings

The South African Hockey Association are pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with Tac Pulse as a sponsor for the CTM Premier Hockey League and the African Road to Tokyo Event in Stellenbosch.

As part of the sponsorship Tac Pulse will provide paramedical support to both events ensuring rapid medical intervention in the event of an injury to any of the players. Going a step further Tac Pulse have also agreed to have an ambulance available as well as a gazebo set up in case any members of the public require support.

With player and fan safety of optimum importance, the South African Hockey Association are delighted to have Tac Pulse Emergency Response Services on board. SA Hockey Association head of events, Josie Milella expressed her delight:

“We are delighted to welcome Tac Pulse on board. The safety of our players, coaches, officials and fans is of paramount importance and Tac Pulse Emergency Services bring a level of quality that allows us to rest easy. Now that they are protecting the bodies, we can focus on the hockey!”

For more information on Tac Pulse and their services offered, check out their website at https://www.tac-pulse.co.za/home/

On Sunday 10th February 2019 the SAHA Council met for its Council and Annual General Meeting. As part of these meetings the election of outgoing positions of President (Mike du Plessis), Rules, Technical and Education (Feico Mulder) and Treasurer (Marq Roberts) took place. We can confirm that Deon Morgan has been selected as the man to succeed Mike du Plessis as the ultimate head of council for hockey in South Africa.

Deon who hails from Eastern Province and was instrumental in setting up the Gelvan Park Hockey Club, also serving as the president of Eastern Province Hockey before he moved to Johannesburg. In Deon’s playing career he featured for the SASSA squad and the SA Men’s Hockey Team in the pre-unified days under the CACOS banner. Deon has also previously featured as the head of events in the SA Hockey Executive and was the team manager for the Men’s side during the coaching era of Paul Revington.

From an on-field point of view, the immediate focus will be the outdoor sides in the Hockey Series Finals as well as in the African Cup later in the year, critical in stopping the slide down the rankings. There is also certainty required in certain coaching roles that will be high on the agenda.

Transformation will be a critical area of focus along with the ongoing challenges of an amateur sport and the funding issues that run with that. The challenge is a massive one, but Deon will have all the support of the hockey loving country.

“I am humbled to be elected as the President of SAHA and to be given the opportunity to serve the game in this capacity,” shared President elect Morgan, “I am looking forward to the journey ahead and even though I do realise that it will not always be easy, I believe the South African hockey fraternity will rally together to take hockey to new heights.”

Further to this Gary Carsons has been elected as the new treasurer. Gary has done a fantastic job as chairperson of the Events subcommittee organising several IPT’s over the past couple of years. Feico Mulder was re-elected as head of Rules, Technical and Education whose areas of responsibility span across umpiring, technical officials and the education framework for coaches in SA.  All the change takes place on the back of the changes made towards the end of 2018. Luntu Ntloko was co-opted for Marketing & Sponsorship, Gordon Pentecost for Legal Affairs and Owen Mvimbi as the interim Athletes Commission Member.

We wish Deon and the council the best for their term as we look to take SA Hockey forward together.

 

The South African Hockey Association are calling on applications for the role of selectors for both our Senior National Men and Womens Selection Panels. The job description is detailed below. 

Each applicant must complete the application form below 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.

Closing date for applications: 17 January 2019

Download application form here

 

The South African Hockey Association (SAHA) and the Players for Transformation (PFT) movement held a meeting today that was facilitated by Mr Barry Hendricks (2nd Vice President) from the South African Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

At the meeting, SAHA and PFT discussed various issues relating to transformation of hockey in South Africa and the way forward.

The main outcomes of the meeting were as follows:

  1. A Transformation Indaba for hockey will be taking place (to be facilitated by SASCOC) - the full details will be released once they are confirmed;
  2. A Task Team (team) has been created to accelerate the pace of transformation of hockey (at all levels – school, provincial and national) in South Africa;
  3. The team is comprised of representatives from both SAHA and PFT. The SAHA members are Shaune Baaitjies (SAHA Governance & Transformation Subcommittee Chairperson) and two other SAHA members to be added. The PFT members are Phumelela Mbande and Shane Johnson;
  4. The team will agree on the Terms of Reference by Friday, 30 November 2018; and
  5. The team will then have its first meeting in December 2018.

The team will then report back to their respective constituencies regarding the work of the team. It is hoped that this will result in proactive and meaningful steps towards the achievement of transformation of hockey in South Africa.

 

 

The Blyde River Bunters secured their second CTM Premier Hockey League title when they overcame the Madikwe Rangers in a tense battle at Randburg Astro this afternoon. In the men’s tournament there was a new champion as the Drakensberg Dragons emerged victorious in the battle with the Addo Elephants.

A near capacity crowd at Randburg Astro welcomed the ladies onto the pitch for the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League final. In a repeat of the 2016 final the Blyde River Bunters were looking for their second title while the Rangers were looking for their first.

Much of the early game was down to a titanic midfield tussle led by Izelle Verster for the Bunters and Lisa-Marie Deetlefs for the Rangers. There were some unbelievable lines run by the Bunters forward duo of Thati Segoale and Courtney du Preez, but the final ball was just not arriving for the 2016 champions. Monique Bartsch was particularly impressive for the Rangers who also couldn’t get through the opposition backline.

In a game of only four shots on target, split evenly, just 38 circle penetrations and only three penalty corners it was always going to come down to who took their opportunity. Unfortunately for the Rangers the answer to that question was Izelle Verster for the Bunters. Verster turned on the top D to create space and fire a low finish past Modipane in the Rangers goal. That goal for Verster added to her assist in the 2016 final for the Bunters when she had set up Kaydee Miller for one turned out to be the championship winning goal.

As the Rangers tried to force their way back into the game Lisa-Marie Deetlefs tried to gain traction in the final the Bunters raised their work load and blunted attack after attack with Jessica De Bruyn-Smith and Carmen Smith being particularly impressive. When Sylvia van Jaarsveldt missed a golden chance to beat Phumi Mbande in the Bunter goals in the last minute it was to the sheer delight of Marcelle Keet and her Bunters team, becoming champions for the second time in three years.

“The grit and display are a culture of the Bunters. We had a great team plan from Marcel and the coaching staff to press high up and we are delighted it came off! Champions, yeh!!” shared an elated Bunters captain Phumelela Mbande

Having both tasted defeat in the final before both the Drakensberg Dragons and the Addo Elephants were keen to add a gold medal to their collection, unfortunately only one of them would be able to do so.

The Elephants were up against it early though as Bili Ntuli gave the Dragons the lead in the third minute. A penalty corner by Matt de Sousa was parried away by Matthew Martins but after a short scramble in the circle Ntuli fired it home with clinical quality. Paired with his semi-final goal and his IPT final winning goal it’s further cementing his reputation as a big game goal scorer!

The Dragons didn’t need to wait too long for their second goal and when it came it was a real moment of quality. In the 20th minute they won the ball out of defence, Richard Pautz traded passes with Francois Pretorius who then fed Ntuli up in the circle. His shot was superbly saved by Martins, but it fell to Pautz who lifted the ball before smashing it into the net.

The Elephants were producing moments of true beauty in the middle of the park but were making mistakes around the circle and in truth Gowan Jones had very little to do in the Dragons goals for much of the match.

To their credit the Elephants refused to lie down and after pulling their keeper off for the final five minutes gave it their all to at least get a consolation goal, while Dan Bell was mopping up anything that came through to the back. They were unfortunately unable to break down the resolute Dragons backline and had to make due with another silver medal.

Victory confirmed another title for Sihle Ntuli as coach after his African Youth Games with the Under `18’s as well as the IPT with Kwazulu Natal Raiders earlier this year, further cementing his status as one of South Africa’s best coaches.

“Its been three years for us to get to this position. It’s a 23-man squad and every single one of the team played an important role in the title. If you get two clean sheets in the knock out stages, you probably deserve to win the title and we are chuffed with doing just that! “shared victorious captain Jethro Eustice.

In the other games on the day, the St. Lucia Lakers took advantage of an off-colour performance by the Orange River Rafters to win the bronze medal with a 3-0-win courtesy of goals by Stephanie Baxter, Shelley Jones and Kara Botes. In the Men’s bronze medal match it was a shootout success for the Gazelles to win the bronze, their best PHL finish. There was one goal in each quarter with Brynn Cleak scoring in the first for the Cavemen, Michael Abrahams in the second for the Gazelles, Brandon James in the third for the Gazelles and Rusten Abrahams in the fourth for the Cavemen sending the game to shootouts.

CTM Premier Hockey League Final Day Results

Women’s 3/4th Place Playoff – Private Property St. Lucia Lakers 3-0 Italtile Orange River Rafters
Men’s 3/4th Place Playoff – Origins Maropeng Cavemen (0) *2-2 (2) Garden Route Gazelles

Womens Final – Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters 1-0 Top T Madikwe Rangers
Men’s Final – Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants 0-2 Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons.

CTM Premier Hockey League Individual Awards

Top Goal scorer (W) – Carmen Smith (Blyde River Bunters)
Top Goal scorer (M) – Richard Pautz (Drakensberg Dragons)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament (W) – Phumelela Mbande (Blyde River Bunters)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament (M) – Siya Nolutshungu (Garden Route Gazelles)
Young Player of the Tournament (W) – Lezaan Jansen van Vuuren (Blyde River Bunters)
Young Player of the Tournament (M) – Peter Jarvis (Drakensberg Dragons)
Player of the Tournament (W) – Kara-lee Botes (St. Lucia Lakers)
Player of the Tournament (M) – Jethro Eustice (Drakensberg Dragons)
 

On semi-final day it was a case of dejavu as the Blyde River Bunters and the Madikwe Rangers set up a repeat of the 2016 final through their shootout victories over the St. Lucia Lakers and the Orange River Rafters respectively.

The Blyde River Bunters started their semi-final against the St. Lucia Lakers much on the back foot but managed to keep the score level until half-time. The Bunters then started the second half in better form before, the Lakers finally got the lead that their first half deserved when they scored through Megan Anderson, the 150th goal in Women’s PHL history. The striker picked up the ball at the top of the D, turned and fired brilliantly past Phumelela Mbande, something that almost seemed impossible with the form of the South African keeper on the day.

The Bunters tried to raise the game in the second half as they looked for the equaliser, but in truth were struggling to break the superb defence of the Lakers. Eventually though they got a penalty corner opportunity, just their second of the game to the five from the Lakers, and in an identical repeat of last week’s game, Carmen Smith fired home the goal that restored parity in the 56th minute. Ayanga Baleni had a golden chance to settle it for the Lakers in the last minute of the game but she fired wide and sent the game to shootouts.

Kara Botes and Tegan Fourie scored for the Lakers, but because of Elmien Marais, Izelle Verster and Minke van Heerden scoring for the Bunters, Stephanie Baxter, the first player ever drafted in PHL history, had to score but she was unable to beat Mbande sending the Bunters back to the final.

“It was an exciting game and we are so happy to make it to the final! Our coaches made the big calls and the right times and all credit to them getting us to the final” shared player of the match Phumelela Mbande

The Rangers were huge underdogs taking on the Orange River Rafters and their task looked even harder when Charne Maddocks put the undefeated defending champions in the lead in the fourth minute. There was a super goal line clearance by Lezaan Jansen van Vuuren but Maddocks was perfectly positioned to tap into an empty net. Things went from bad to worse for the Rangers when the Rafters skipper Sulette Damons made it 2-0 early in the second quarter. Picking up the ball on the base line Damons created her own space before smashing the ball home. It was a reminder why she is so highly feared across global hockey. It had been a perfect first half for the Rafters limiting the Rangers to just one shot at goal.

With nothing to lose the Rangers tried to fight back and Sylvia van Jaarsveldt started the Rangers comeback in the 36th minute making her the leading all-time scorer in PHL history, with a real poacher’s effort just in front of Greyvenstein in the Rafters goal. The Rangers then pulled level, taking advantage of the Rafters yellow card and scoring through a slight deflection from Shindre-Lee Simmons. It was a goal they deserved for their best half of hockey in the tournament so far.

The Rangers poured forward with sensational intensity and were unlucky to not win the game in normal time denied by bad luck, poor finishing and Cheree Greyvenstein and the second semi-final went to the shootout. The Rangers winning 3-1 with Deetlefs, van Vuuren and van Jaarsveldt all netting and setting up a repeat of PHL 2016’s gold medal match.

“We know the Rafters are a great side with good momentum. We had to make big changes at half-time, we got the result in the end and I couldn’t be prouder.” Shared Lisa-Marie Deetlefs the player of the match and captain of the Madikwe Rangers

CTM PHL Women’s Semi-Finals

Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters (3) *1-1 (2) Private Property St. Lucia Lakers
Italtile Orange River Rafters (1) 2-2* (3) Top T Madikwe Rangers

CTM PHL Women’s Final

Sunday 26 August 2018 – 14:00

Tivoli Tap Blyde River Bunters vs. Top T Madikwe Rangers

The Addo Elephants followed the example of the Rangers and the Bunters in returning to a final for the first time since 2016 with a fantastic 3-1 win over the Garden Route Gazelles. Having played last weekend, the Gazelles were victorious 3-1 and carried the momentum into the semi-final.

The Elephants were the team who laughed first getting the game’s opening game through Damian Kimfley in the last play of the opening quarter, just after a fantastic save by their own keeper Matthew Martins. The finish by Kimfley gave no chance to Nolutshungu who had already made a few telling saves for the Gazelles. It was a half of few great chances with the Gazelles probably shading the stats at half-time.

Based on that they were probably deserving of their equaliser when it came in the 38th minute through Reece Arendse with a beautifully taken goal, Pierre Bothma with a fine assist laying off the pass at the right second to put Arendse through. It was an even game at the end of the third quarter that was crying out for a moment of magic to settle it. It would come from Kimfley who was fed a ball from Bjorn Sorenson and with a powerful strike on the tomahawk gave the Elephants the lead.

The Elephants managed to add shine to the scoring in the final minute of the game when they won a penalty corner with the Gazelles having taken their keeper off. Tim Guise-Brown finished off clinically to wrap up the game and book a spot in the final.

“We have a great attacking threat, we shared the love with the goal scoring today and well done to our boys. I would love to win a title with my new team too!” shared Elephants captain Miguel da Graca, who previously won with the Maropeng Cavemen.

The second semi-final was a repeat of last year’s final as the Dragons took on the double defending champions the Cavemen. The group stage game was a landslide victory for the Dragons, but only the foolish would predict a similar score line today.

There were no goals in the first half, but the Dragons probably had the better half with Andrew Jarvis, Dylan Swanepoel and Richard Pautz calling on saves from Pieterse, while the Cavemen fired their best shot wide through a PC from Kyle Lion Cachet. Both sides had produced 15 circle penetrations further highlighting the tightness of the game.

The biggest crowd of this year’s CTM Premier Hockey League were rewarded with a goal at last when in the 44th minute Bili Ntuli popped up to put the Dragons into the lead. The South African international is developing a reputation for big goals taken in big games and his team were delighted with the effort. It was a brilliant reaction finish after the penalty corner was saved, Matt de Sousa controlled exceptionally well before firing in a shot and Ntuli’s touch gave an in-form Pieterse no chance. It was a goal the Dragons deserved in a dominant third quarter.

They extended the lead in the 55th minute with a superb diving finish by Amkelwa Letuka after wonderful work from Chad Caincross. It was a goal made of superb commitment and it confirmed that for the first time in PHL history, the Cavemen would not lift the trophy on Sunday.

“We had a good weekend last week and that gave us momentum. We know the Cavemen are a great side and we did enough today. We think we have an upper hand for tomorrow and are excited to be in the final.” Shared an elated Dragons keeper Jethro Eustice.

CTM PHL Men’s Semi-Finals

Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants 3-1 Garden Route Gazelles
Pro Grip Drakensburg Dragons 2-0 Origins Maropeng Cavemen

CTM PHL Men’s Final

Sunday 26 August 2018 – 16:00

Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants vs. Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons

The group stages are complete, and we have lost two of our teams. Ahead of this weekend’s semi-finals we look at the four finalists in order of league position.

Italtile Orange River Rafters (1st – 15 points)
Coach: Shaun Hulley
Captain: Sulette Damons
Previous Best PHL Finish: Champions in 2017

The Rafters made history when they became the first team in CTM Premier Hockey League history to win all five group games. In the opening weekend it was about outscoring opposition, while in the second weekend it was about out defending others. The 2017 champions have Lerato Mahlangu in fine goal scoring form, while Sulette Damons and Donna Small continue to impress. It’s a relatively young side with half the team 21 or younger but they have shown their willingness to fight for each other. Although there have been some individual moments of brilliance their journey to the top has been one about team dynamic more than individual brilliance.

The coaches view – Shaun Hulley

“We have had a superb tournament and it’s been great to see the team fighting for each other. We pride ourselves on the team ethic and culture we have developed. The players know that whether they have SA Hockey experience or are just a youngster breaking through, they all have an important role in the team and they have all done their part!”

Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters (2nd – 12 points)
Coach: Marcelle Keet
Captain: Phumelela Mbande
Previous Best PHL Finish: Champions in 2016

The Bunters have an incredible CTM Premier Hockey League history with 15 wins in 19 games over the three seasons. In goals they have the finest keeper in the country in Phumelela Mbande and conceding only three goals in the five games so far. Izelle Verster, Jessica De Bruyn-Smith and Elmien Marais have been critical to that form and it’s been the top scorer in the tournament Carmen Smith who has separated them from the others.

The coaches view – Marcelle Keet

“It’s been the most incredible experience moving into the coaching team and working with a wonderful bunch of ladies. I think the final four are so evenly matched that it could be anyone’s weekend, but we are obviously hoping that it will be us! We have a good day of training planned and we can’t wait for the weekend!”

Private Property St. Lucia Lakers (3rd – 9 points)
Coach: Inky Zondi
Captain: Erin Hunter
Previous Best PHL Finish: Runners-up in 2017

In Erin Hunter and Kara-lee Botes they have undoubtedly got the centre back pairing of the tournament, while Tegan Fourie has proven that she is lethal when given the opportunity. There is a lot to like about the way Inky coaches his teams as they have been defensive masterclasses throughout the tournament. Having lost to the Bunters last weekend they will need big performances from the likes of Shelley Jones, Stephanie Baxter, Ayanga Baleni and the aforementioned trio to topple the 2016 champions.

The coaches view – Inky Zondi

“It’s been a really good tournament for us. We were fantastic in the opening four games and maybe took the foot off the throttle in our final game against the Bunters. We know we won’t be doing the same on Saturday. We will be working on our execution of our strategies and looking to build on the defensive work of our team”

Top T Madikwe Rangers (4th – 7 points)
Coach: Bevan Bennet
Captain: Lisa-Marie Deetlefs
Previous Best PHL Finish:  Runners-up in 2016

The Rangers had to wait until the final game of the group stage to confirm their spot in the final four, but when offered the opportunity it was taken by Kristen Paton with both hands. Unfortunately for Bevan Bennett, Kristen is not available this weekend as she is playing hockey in Europe. If they are to cause an upset in beating the Rafters they will need Lisa-Marie Deetlefs to leave from the front, while Sylvia van Jaarsveldt offers goals and Nomnikelo Veto creates opportunities regularly with her off-the-ball movement.

The coaches view – Bevan Bennet

“It’s been a superb experience of getting together with a new group of players and seeing how we have progressed over the two weekends so far. We are really optimistic that if we stick to our plans and processes we can offer a good surprise this weekend and improve on our 2016 position.”

CTM PHL Women’s Semi-Finals

Saturday 25 August

10:00 – Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters vs. Private Property St. Lucia Lakers
Previous Results
PHL 2018 Group Stage – Bunters 2-0 Lakers
PHL 2017 Group Stage – Bunters 3-1 Lakers
PHL 2016 Semi-Final – Bunters 2-0 Lakers
PHL 2016 Group Stage – Bunters 0-1 Lakers

14:00 – Top T Madikwe Rangers vs. Italtile Orange River Rafters
Previous Results
PHL 2018 Group Stage – Rangers 1-3 Rafters
PHL 2017 Group Stage – Rangers 1-2 Rafters
PHL 2016 Group Stage – Rangers 3-0 Rafters

The group stages are complete, and we have lost two of our teams. Ahead of this weekend’s semi-finals we look at the four finalists in order of league position.

Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons (1st – 13 points)
Coach: Sihle Ntuli
Captain: Jethro Eustice
Previous Best PHL Finish: 2nd in 2017

Mo Mea - Drakensberg Dragons (Photo - Sean Burke / PHL)

The Drakensberg Dragons streamed to the top of the log by the bonus point secured in the crushing 6-1 victory over semi-final opponents the Maropeng Cavemen. After losing their opening game against the Addo Elephants the Dragons have won four on the trot and find themselves with momentum on their side. With 17 goals they are the tournament’s top scorers and Richard Pautz leads the individual standings too. If they are to progress to the final the likes of the in-form Mo Mea, Bili Ntuli, Peter Jarvis and Dylan Swanepoel will be integral.

“We have played really well so far. We have done well in dominating statistically but this year we have taken our chances.” Shared Sihle Ntuli, “we know that the Cavemen have tremendous quality and we will have to play to our best, but there is no doubt that if we play to our potential we can be in the 16:00 game on Sunday”

Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants (2nd – 12 points)
Coach: Cheslyn Gie
Captain: Miguel da Graca
Previous Best PHL Finish: 2nd in 2016

Julian Hykes - Addo Elephants (Picture - Sean Burke / PHL)

The Addo Elephants took the CTM Premier Hockey League 2018 by storm with four wins out the blocks before they lost out in the final group game to their semi-final opponents. The Elephants boast the attacking dynamic duo Ingatius Malgraff and Julian Hykes, the two highest scorers in PHL history, who if they fire on the same day are unplayable. In Miguel da Graca they have a captain who knows how to win and in Daniel Bell they have arguably the player of the tournament so far. Andrew Manson also continues to play his best hockey for the Elephants who also welcome Cerezo Comersamy back from injury.

“The 2018 PHL has gone really well for us and we are happy with the group stages.” Said Cheslyn Gie, “we had a flat final game on Sunday, but knowing we were already through and the players were tired played into that. I am excited for this weekend and the chance to get back to the CTM PHL final again!”

Garden Route Gazelles (3rd – 9 points)
Coach: Ashlin Freddy
Captain: Keenan Horne
Previous Best PHL Finish: Semi-Finals (2016)

Tyson Dlungwana - Golden Gate Gazelles (Photo - Sean Burke / PHL)

The Gazelles lost their opening two games, one via the dreaded shootout, before storming back into the semi-final picture with three wins in a row. They are the only one of the semi-finalists with a new coach this year and Ashlin will be delighted with the progress the team has made. They scored 16 goals, the second most, through 11 different players showing their goal scoring ability across the team. Connor Beauchamp has one of the more lethal flicks in SA Hockey, while Taine Paton and Brandon James are playing the best hockey they have played in recent years. Michael Abrahams has had a great CTM PHL, while Tyson Dlungwana and Gerald Mpopo continue to produce fantastic displays and in Siya Nolutshungu they have a match winner in goals.

“The players have been awesome to work with, open to new ideas and a different way of doing things that they might not be accustomed to,” shared Ashlin Freddy “we are improving each game as a unit and we are excited for the next stage of the tournament. They are a very good attacking side which presents numerous challenges, so we will need to be solid defensively if we are to get a result.”

Origins Maropeng Cavemen (4th – 7 points)
Coach: Mark Sanders
Captain: Rassie Pieterse
Previous Best PHL Finish:  Winners (2016 & 2017)

Rainer York - Maropeng Cavemen (Picture - Sean Burke / PHL)

The Cavemen experienced their toughest group stage of CTM Premier Hockey League history but made it safely through to the final four on the back of the opening weekend 7 points. They also welcome back influential Ricky West for this weekend in a major coup for the double defending champions. They are the only team in the semi-final line-up to have never lost a knock out game at the CTM Premier Hockey League. Although they are known as an experienced side featuring the likes of Tommy Hammond, Rassie Pieterse, Lance Louw and Reza Rosenberg in the ranks, it’s been Chad Futcher, Rayner York, Kyle Lion-Cachet and Peabo Lembethe who have been the stars for the Sanders in his quest for the third star!

“Look we haven’t had the best group stage but our goal was to get to the final four and we are there.” Shared Mark Sanders, “we know that in most of the games we have made mistakes, but we are ready for this weekend. The tournament starts now, and we look forward to defending our crown!”

CTM PHL Men’s Semi-Finals

Saturday 25 August

12:00 – Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants vs. Garden Route Gazelles
Previous Results
PHL 2018 Group Stage – Elephants 1-3 Gazelles
PHL 2017 Group Stage – Elephants 4-0 Gazelles
PHL 2016 Semi-Final – Elephants 2-1 Gazelles
PHL 2016 Group Stage – Elephants 2-8 Gazelles

16:00 – Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons vs. Origins Maropeng Cavemen
Previous Results
PHL 2018 Group Stage – Dragons 6-1 Cavemen
PHL 2017 Final – Dragons 0-3 Cavemen
PHL 2017 Group Stage – Dragons 0-3 Cavemen
PHL 2016 Group Stage – Dragons 1-2 Cavemen