30 games of hockey over 6 days produced 108 goals and now leave us with just four women’s sides and four men’s sides in the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League. The weekend of four fixtures for most sides has taken its toll and the teams will be excited for a week off before taking on next week’s final weekend.

The early story on the day was the Wineland Wings and the Madikwe Rangers playing off for a place in the Quarter Finals, with the Namaqualand Daisies waiting to capitalise. The pressure and fatigue took its toll on the players and ultimately the quality but the Wings, knowing a victory gave them a chance, took the lead through Candice Manuel, reminding SA Hockey fans of her quality in front of goal.  Young Stephanie Botha extended the lead in the third quarter to 2-0 giving the Wings a real chance of progress. The Rangers needed someone to take the game into their own hands and they are fortunate to possess a player with the quality of Kristen Paton.

The South African World Cup squad member pulled a goal back in the third quarter from a penalty corner before saving the best for last in levelling the game in the last minute. For the Wings it was the dreaded shootout that already meant they were eliminated from the tournament. To add insult to injury it was the Rangers that won the shootout and the three points and gave the Wings their 8th straight shootout defeat.

That result meant that the final game had something to play for still. The Daisies would qualify for the semi-finals with a 6-goal win, while the Rafter would become the first team in PHL history to complete a perfect group stage. Unfortunately for the Daisies in a very slow match, the Rafters possessed the quality when Donna Small went on a slalom run that set up Lerato Mahlangu, the poacher finished superbly. As much as both teams tried, the legs were gone, and no further goals were found.

In the other women’s game both the Blyde River Bunters and the St. Lucia Lakers had qualified already but a game that will be repeated next week in the semi-finals was lit up by two moments of quality from Carmen Smith. Her two penalty corners for the Bunters were hit with such velocity that the rebound went almost back into her own half. Neither goal left much opportunity for Moya Smith in the goals and probably showed teams the best way to beat the Lakers is by using your penalty corner opportunities.

Next week Saturday the Orange River Rafters reward for topping the table is a semi-final encounter with the Madikwe Rangers while the Blyde River Bunters will take on the St. Lucia Lakers again.

In the Men’s tournament there were two main questions still to be answered. Could the Mambas get a bonus point and qualify ahead of the defending champion the Cavemen and could the Addo Elephants become the first men’s side to win 5 out of 5 in the group stages of PHL.

The Mambas answered the first question emphatically with a no. They never really looked like they would score three and struggled to keep up with the combination play of the Dragons front line. The Dragons underlined their title credentials with goals in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters through Mbuso Mgobozi, Richard Pautz and Amkelwe Letuka. Courtney Halle got a late goal back for the Mambas before the coaches added some excitement as both pulled their keepers for the last four minutes. It created a comical moment for the Dragons as kicking back Cameron Ryan inadvertently set up an easy finish for Mambas striker Luthando Jonas. Fortunately for Ryan the goal did not cost the Dragons the victory in the end as they saw out a 3-2 win.

The final question was answered by Siya Nolutshungu as his performance in goals denied the Elephants a fifth win in as many games. Brandon James, who has had a fine weekend, gave the Gazelles the lead with a clinical finish before Michael Abrahams and Gerald Mpopo both finished different opportunities in the same convincing manner. Ignatius Malgraff got the very late consolation goal for the Elephants who will now face the Gazelles in the semi-final next weekend, while the Cavemen will play the Dragons.  


Sunday 19 August

08:00 – Women – Top T Madikwe Rangers (3) *2-2 (1) Ceramic Industries Wineland Wings
10:00 – Men – Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants 1-3 Garden Route Gazelles
12:00 – Women – Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters 2-0 Private Property St. Lucia Lakers
14:00 – Men – Elf Laminates Mapungubwe Mambas 2-3 Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons
16:00 – Women – Italtile Orange River Rafters 1-0 Old Mutual iWyze Namaqualand Daisies

CTM PHL 2018 Semi-Finals – Saturday 25 August (Times to be confirmed)

Women – Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters vs. Private Property St. Lucia Lakers
Women – Top T Madikwe Rangers vs. Italtile Orange River Rafters

Men – Origins Maropeng Cavemen vs. Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons
Men – Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants vs. Garden Route Gazelles

If the previous four days of the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League could be themed by the goal scoring exploits of all teams, day five showed the defensive class at the tournament as less goals were scored on a tough day at the Randburg Astro.

Only one day and five matches remain in the group stages and certain teams have already qualified for the final weekend next weekend. The Orange River Rafters, the defending champions, had already qualified for the semi-finals and were joined there by the Blyde River Bunters and the St. Lucia Lakers with their victories over the Namaqualand Daisies and the Madikwe Rangers respectively.

The Bunters were workmanlike in methodically overcoming their defeat yesterday to beat the Daisies, themselves on a high from their shootout victory against the Wings yesterday. Carmen Smith got the game’s opening goal from a 39th minute penalty corner and from thereon out the Bunters managed to hold out the advances of the Daisies. The icing on the cake arrived in the second last minute of the game as Mmamoagi Kungoane settled the game once and for all.

The St. Lucia Lakers welcomed back Shelley Jones into their line-up but were once again superbly led by the defensive duo of Erin Hunter and Kara Botes. The defensive stability meant that the likes of Kristen Paton, Isabella da Rocha and Lisa-Marie Deetlefs were thwarted time after time. The Lakers needed someone to convert up the other end and Tegan Fourie, who scored a blinding drag flick yesterday, showed she is a name you really should know in SA Hockey. The Indoor international created a small pocket of space and fired into the back of the net.

What it means for the Women’s competition is that the Madikwe Rangers, Wineland Wings and Namaqualand Daisies will fight it out for the last semi-final spot tomorrow.

The Addo Elephants confirmed their spot in the final four with an Ingatius Malgraff inspired 2-1 victory over the Cavemen in a repeat of the 2016 final. After opening the game with attacking intent the Elephants retreated into defence and allowed the Cavemen a lot of possession. As the Cavemen upped the ante at the end of the first half, Malgraff produced a sublime piece of individual skill to slice through the Cavemen backline and finish past a helpless Rassie Pieterse.

In the second half the Cavemen kept winning penalty corners, but they were unable to score from any of the 9 they won. There was a massive chance for the Elephants to settle the match, but Damian Kimfley fired over, and the Cavemen went up the other end and scored through a sliding finish from their top scorer Chad Futcher. With 30 seconds left the Cavemen were pouring forward but another moment of brilliance by Malgraff decided the game. In sliding the ball past Pieterse Malgraff collided with goal and had to be treated afterwards, but his second goal of the game and 12th of PHL history meant the Elephants stayed top and arguably favourites. The defeat left the Cavemen on 7 points.

That result meant that the Garden Route Gazelles 3-1 victory over the Mapungubwe Mambas earlier would probably be enough to make the top 4 as their goal difference is superior to the Cavemen. The Gazelles have turned around a bad opening weekend with consecutive wins. They started this morning’s game brilliantly as Connor Beauchamps fired home the early PC within 30 seconds of the game starting. Caleb Syce managed to pull Lungile Tsolekile’s Mambas level, but Clinton Panther a two-time winner with the Cavemen, re-established the lead for the Gazelles and Berne Burger settled the result. The Gazelles moving to 7 points.

The Golden Gate Gladiators knew that victory was the only way to keep their tournament hopes alive and they faced a buoyant Drakensberg Dragons side. Their task was made much harder when they got to the half-time break 1-0 down to a Richard Pautz goal. As they have done all through the tournament the Gladiators continued to fight but were unable to breakdown a Jethro Eustice inspired backline and Richard Pautz popped up a second time, his fourth of the tournament, to put the Dragons through to the Semi-Finals and to eliminate the Golden Gate Gladiators.

As it stands the Elephants and the Dragons have qualified for the semi-finals, the Gazelles are virtually through with a superior goal difference while the Cavemen will have to wait and see if the Mambas can produce a bonus point win that they need to knock the defending champions out. It all gets decided in the final group stage games tomorrow at the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League.


Saturday 18 August

08:00 – Women – Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters 2-0 Old Mutual iWyze Namaqualand Daisies
10:00 – Men – Elf Laminates Mapungubwe Mambas 1-3 Garden Route Gazelles
12:00 – Women – Top T Madikwe Rangers 0-1 Private Property St. Lucia Lakers
14:00 – Men – Origins Maropeng Cavemen 1-2 Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants
16:00 – Men – Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons 2-0 Old Mutual iWyze Golden Gate Gladiators

Day 4 of the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League produced another 20 goals as the Addo Elephants and Orange River Rafters both continued to progress undefeated in the tournament. The Drakensberg Dragons inflicted the Cavemen to their heaviest defeat in PHL history, the Gazelles turned the Men’s tournament on its head and it’s a tether of hope for the Daisies with their shootout victory over the Wings.

The Orange River Rafters became the first team to confirm their place in the semi-finals of the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League with a tactical victory over the St. Lucia Lakers. The only two undefeated teams played out an enthralling battle for supremacy and it was the defending champions who landed the knockout punch in the titanic clash.

The only goal of the incredibly tight battle was settled by a Casey-Jean Botha field goal in the 35th minute that left Shaun Hulley’s team with a perfect record of 4 wins from 4 games and a place in the final four.

The Men’s tournament was thrown wide open in the bottom half as the Garden Route Gazelles fought back into contention with an entertaining and high scoring 5-3 victory over the Golden Gate Gladiators. The Gazelles had not tasted victory in 2018 so far but they went about correcting that in the best way possible. Their first half performance was breathless at times and Brandon James got his first goal of the tournament with an easy tap-in. He got his second for the Gazelles 10 minutes later with a fine finish past Duncan Fischer after great work from Taine Paton. Michael Abrahams made it 3 and had the Gazelles dreaming of the bonus point on the verge of half time, but a bullet from Sam Mvimbi allowed the Gladiators to take some momentum into the half-time break.

They took this momentum further in the second half when Bradley Sherwood fired in a fantastic penalty corner to make it 3-2. As both teams looked for the games next goal it would arrive in a pair. Taine Paton and Keenan Horne scored almost carbon copy goals to re-establish the bonus point lead for the Gazelles. Their goals were split by 40 seconds either side of the end of the third quarter.

Although they would lose the game, the Gladiators did score what could be one of the more significant goals of the tournament. With time out on the clock the Gladiators won a penalty corner which Brad Sherwood dispatched like a seasoned veteran. The goal denied the Gazelles the bonus point and importantly kept the table incredibly tight in a search for a final four position.

The Maropeng Cavemen will in all likelihood make the semi-final, but they were on the end of their biggest defeat in PHL history when the Drakensberg Dragons, the 2017 runners-up, absolutely annihilated them in a brutal 6-1 victory. This is the second defeat in succession for the defending champions who will have a lot more questions to answer ahead of their final group game of the tournament on the weekend.  

For the Dragons it was six different goal scorers with Bili Ntuli’s finish a highlight as he scooped the ball past national keeper Rassie Pieterse, while Jethro Eustice penalty corner was reminiscent of the one that qualified South Africa for the FIH Hockey World Cup. The performance of SA U18 star Peter Jarvis was a highlight and rightfully was awarded man of the match for the Dragons.

The Addo Elephants surged to the top of the Men’s table in the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League this morning when they opened the day with a come from behind victory against the Mapungubwe Mambas. Having trailed 1-0 to a Ross Gonzalves goal, the Elephants came straight back through a sliding deflection by Tim Guise-Brown after superb work by Andrew Manson.

The Elephants would go ahead in the 40th minute through Ignatius Malgraff, netting his 10th career Premier Hockey League goal, the all-time leading scorer in the tournament.  That goal was enough to secure a third consecutive victory for the 2016 runners-up and all but mathematically they are through to the semi-finals.

The days final game was the basement battle between the Wineland Wings and the Namaqualand Daisies. The Wings were largely in control of the game in the first half, creating multiple chances and winning multiple penalty corners. After having a goal disallowed through referral they finally managed to break the deadlock through Jess Lardant.

The Daisies produced a much better second half and found themselves back on parity through a Toni Marks opportunistic finish. Although the Wings still created more circle entries and goal scoring opportunities, they could not finish, and the game went to the shootout. The Wings record from the previous years at shootouts read as played 6 lost 6. That record now reads 7 shootout defeats from 7 as Natalie Esteves the captain of the Daisies scored the winning goal that kept the Daisies hopes alive and virtually eliminated the Wineland Wings from the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League.


Friday 17 August

08:00 – Men – Elf Laminates Mapungubwe Mambas 1-2 Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants
10:00 – Men – Old Mutual iWyze Golden Gate Gladiators 3-5 Garden Route Gazelles
12:00 – Women – Italtile Orange River Rafters 1-0 Private Property St. Lucia Lakers
14:00 – Men – Origins Maropeng Cavemen 1-6 Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons
16:00 – Women – Old Mutual iWyze Namaqualand Daisies (3) *1-1 (1) Ceramic Industries Wineland Wings

Cheree Greyvenstein (Orange River Rafters) makes a save to deny Mmamoagi Kungoane (Blyde River Bunters) in their 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League match– Photo: Sean Burke / PHL

The Maropeng Cavemen were stunned by the Golden Gate Gladiators, the Orange River Rafters produced a class display to dispatch the Blyde River Bunters, the Drakensberg Dragons got their first win, while the Namaqualand Daisies and Wineland Wings face early elimination in the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League.

There were another 18 goals scored on day 3 of the CTM Premier Hockey League, with the story of the day undoubtedly coming from the 14:00 game when the experienced Maropeng Cavemen, the double defending champions tasted their first normal time defeat since PHL 2016, going down 3-1 to the Golden Gate Gladiators.

The Gladiators were without regular coach Garreth Ewing due to work commitments, so SA Under-18 coach and national selector Devon van der Merwe took charge for this game. The Gladiators were in bullish mood and the side settled into the game early. Chris Makaba danced through the defence of the Cavemen and from a tight angle converted the goal. It was a touch fortunate as the ball took a deflection past Cavemen keeper Rassie Pieterse.

The second goal was nothing about luck. Wade Dollman executed the perfect penalty corner to fire the ball into the bottom corner. Such was the velocity of the shot that it hit the back-board before Pieterse even had a chance to save it.

The Cavemen were far better in the second half and found themselves back in the game when Ryan Crowe squared it for Reza Rosenberg to net into the empty goal. As the Cavemen surged forward to find the equaliser they replaced Pieterse with an outfield player which created an opportunity for Jared Cass, newly selected to the South African Men’s side, who finished from a tight angle. 3-1 the final score.

In the Women’s side there was arguably a surprise too when the Orange River Rafters defeated the favourites the Blyde River Bunters 2-0. This is one of the few times in CTM Premier Hockey League history that the Bunters have been unable to score.

Shaun Hulley’s side were top value for their victory that made it 3 out of 3 in this year’s tournament. Although it was built on a fine defensive display, helped by SPAR South Africa indoor keeper Cheree Greyvenstein back in goals, it was two moments of magic that saw the defending champions win. Lerato Mahlangu and Mia Barnard both benefited from superb link up play behind them, with Sulette Damons pass for Bernard’s goal special.

The Lakers got their second win in two thanks to Tegan Fourie scoring in the top left corner with a superb drag flick. With the South Africans looking for a drag flicker for the national team you can’t fault the effort of Fourie in giving her team the lead.

It really could have been 3 or 4 for the Lakers who were once again superbly marshalled by Erin Hunter and player of the match Kara Botes.

The Madikwe Rangers resurrected their 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League with a bonus point victory against the Daisies. However, they found themselves trailing at half time when Lauren Nina sent Modipane one way and the ball the other.

Facing the daunting possibility of being 0 from 3 the Rangers poured forward and with just 3 minutes left in the third quarter pulled one goal back through Sylvia van Jaarsveldt. The goal was because of a poor defensive mistake. There no mistake and just all class in the second strike by van Jaarsveldt whose tomahawk strike flew into the top corner. The ball just inside the D and arguably the goal of the tournament so far!

In the fourth quarter the Daisies pushed forward to try and level the game, but the Rangers were belligerent in their attack. Nomnikelo Veto pulling a van Jaarsveldt in scoring her own tomahawk.  There was time for one last goal and it fell to skipper Lisa-Marie Deetlefs with a signature penalty corner sealing a 4-1 win and importantly the bonus point for the 2016 finalists.

All the way at the other end of the day the Drakensberg Dragons and the Garden Route Gazelles looked for a first win having both only played one game last week. They produced the most frenetic period of the tournament so far as there were 4 goals in the opening quarter that ended square.

Taine Paton, who has 104 caps for South Africa, put the Gazelles ahead, but Blake Tyack pulled it level. Connor Beauchamp, an in-demand man in the draft, re-established the lead, but it lasted just 3 minutes and Richard Pautz, the man of the match and ex Elephant, scored a penalty corner.

We had to wait till the end of the third quarter for the next goal and it came from Melrick Maddocks. Maddocks who recently played for South Africa has grown well as a player and took his opportunity like a seasoned campaigner. Cody van Wyk wrapped up the game in the 46th minute to give Sihle Ntuli’s side the first win of this campaign.

There is no time for rest as a full five fixtures meet the players tomorrow at Randburg Astro. The games start at 08:00.


Thursday 16 August

08:00 – Men – Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons 4-2 Garden Route Gazelles
10:00 – Women – Italtile Orange River Rafters 2-0 Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters
12:00 – Women – Old Mutual iWyze Namaqualand Daisies 1-4 Top T Madikwe Rangers
14:00 – Men – Old Mutual iWyze Golden Gate Gladiators 3-1 Origins Maropeng Cavemen
16:00 – Women – Private Property St. Lucia Lakers 1-0 Ceramic Industries Wineland Wings

Monique Bartsch (Madikwe Rangers) evades the attention of Donna Small and Lerato Mahlangu of the Orange River Rafters  – Photo: Sean Burke / PHL

It was a day filled with goals, 21 in just five games as the defending champions in the Men’s and Women’s tournaments, the Maropeng Cavemen and the Orange River Rafters, finished perfect weekends with two wins from two. They are joined by the Addo Elephants and the Blyde River Bunters as other teams who got two wins on opening weekend.

South African defensive duo Erin Hunter and Kara-lee Botes were in fine form for the St. Lucia Lakers as they defeated the Namaqualand Daisies in their opening game of the CTM Premier Hockey League 2018. The Daisies are a completely newly drafted team in 2018 having previously played as the South African Under 21 side in PHL 2016 & 2017.

The Lakers could not have asked for a better start as they went ahead in the 10th minute through Chane Hill. It had been an even opening period and that was the story that continued to unfold for the duration of the game. With possession, circle entries, penalty corners and shots on goal all ending even, a moment of magic would decide the game and for the Lakers they found it through Kara-lee Botes. The indoor and outdoor double International took advantage of space afforded to her from a fumbled penalty corner and smashed it into the bottom left corner.

The Daisies managed to get one goal back, but it would be nothing more than a consolation when Toni Marks scored. It was a solid victory for the St. Lucia Lakers and one that would leave coach Inky Zondi feeling satisfied with the opening weekends work.

The Addo Elephants secured their second victory of the tournament twice coming from behind to finish level at full-time and to take the victory against the Golden Gate Gladiators and full points in the shootout. It was not an easy start for the Elephants on the back of their opening day victory as the Gladiators came out with a point to prove leading 2-0 within 7 minutes through Matthew Roman and Wade Dollman.

Daniel Bell started to take charge of the match in the middle for the Elephants, in one of his best performances in the PHL, and as the Elephants grew into the game they got back into it through a sensational moment of brilliance by Julian Hykes. Getting the ball out wide Hykes showed incredible hands to beat two Gladiators defenders before finishing with a superb tomahawk. It was one of the goals of the 2018 CTM PHL so far.

He was not done there and four minutes later pulled level with his fourth goal of the tournament and eighth goal of all-time putting him second on the all-time scorers list. The second half started much like the first with Sam Mvimbi scoring for Gladiators to regain the lead before Andrew Manson scored a superb goal to level the game. With no more goals the game headed to shootouts where Matthew Martins saved 3 for the Elephants to give them a second victory in the tournament.

“It was quite tough going 2-0 down, but it was a big effort from the team to come through with the win via the shootouts.” Shared Elephants captain Miguel da Graca after the game, “We are a goal scoring team and will always score goals, so we knew we could get back into the game at any point and we are happy we did that”

It was a frenetic opening quarter in the matchup between 2016 finalists Madikwe Rangers and the defending champions the Orange River Rafters. National captain Sulette Damons put the Rafters ahead with a fine finish after seeing an earlier shot saved. Things got even better for the Rafters 60 seconds later when Lerato Mahlangu punished poor defending from the Rangers with a clinical finish. With all the momentum going for the Rafters, the Rangers pulled one back with a superbly crafted goal between Kristen Paton and Lisa-Marie Deetlefs, seeing the latter flick it into the back of the net.

The Rafters re-established their 2-goal lead when Sulette Damons, having an inspired game, fired in a tomahawk shot which Kelsey Minnaar pounced at just the right second to deflect it between Mmatshepo Modipane’s legs. It was the way the score line would remain until half-time.

The Rangers managed to get the ball into the back of the net on two occasions in the third quarter, but both were rightfully ruled out. The fourth quarter saw the action dry up except for a few body blows that will leave a few bruises, but in the end the Rafters signed off for 6 out of 6 while the Rangers have it all to do after two defeats in the opening weekend.

“I’m delighted for the win, we had a good first half and we did enough in the second half to keep them out when our own play dropped.” Said a delighted Rafters captain Sulette Damons.

The Maropeng Cavemen meant business and started with a blitz against the Mapungubwe Mambas. The left side of field was flooded with Cavemen domination as the likes of Rainer York, Peabo Lembethe, Cameron Mackay and Rusten Abrahams all troubled the Mambas. The Cavemen dominance was converted onto the scoreboard early with Chad Futcher and Cameron Mackay both netted in the opening quarter.

It was a position of dominance they would not give up despite Caleb Syce getting one for the Mambas, two new drafts for the Cavemen put the result beyond any doubt as Lethu Thomo and Steven Paulo both netted for Mark Sanders men to seal the result, a second victory and the bonus point for the defending champions. The Cavemen will be particularly impressed with the performances of Rusten Abrahams, Peabo Lembethe and man of the match Thabang Modise who had an absolute blinder.

Victorious captain Tommy Hammond shared after the game: “I was happy yesterday, but I am much happier today. We are missing a host of the experienced players this weekend and the younger ones have put their hands up to make sure it’s no easy selection decision.”

In the weekends final game the Blyde River Bunters took on the Wineland Wings. The Wings are missing a host of their players to the indoor national team currently in Zimbabwe. That didn’t stop them opening the scoring through on-form striker Tarryn Glasby, who netted the third of the tournament already.

The Blyde River Bunters though showed why they have the best record of any women’s team in PHL as they fought back immediately with a goal by Carmen Smith taken excellently from a rebound. They then went ahead in the 23rd minute through Thati Segaole from the penalty stroke. It would be the only goals of an eventful game that meant the Blyde River Bunters also confirmed a six-point weekend joining the Orange River Rafters at the top of the log.  

Results – Sunday 12 August 2018

08:00 – Women – Private Property St. Lucia Lakers 2-1 Old Mutual iWyze Namaqualand Daisies
10:00 – Men – Old Mutual iWyze Golden Gate Gladiators (2) 3-3* (3) Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants
12:00 – Women – Top T Madikwe Rangers 1-3 Italtile Orange River Rafters
14:00 – Men – Elf Laminates Mapungubwe Mambas 1-4 Origins Maropeng Cavemen
16:00 – Women – Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters 2-1 Ceramic Industries Wineland Wings

Picture : Sean Burke / PHL . Julian Hykes celebrates the game winning goal for the Addo Elephants

The Addo Elephants struck a devastating blow as Julian Hykes netted a late winner for the 2016 Runners-up, the Orange River Rafters came from behind to win their opener and the Mambas gave coach Lungile Tsolekile the perfect start as the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League got underway at Randburg Astro today.

The first goal of the 2018 CTM Premier Hockey League was struck within 90 seconds of the tournament getting underway. Luthando Jonas found himself in some space and finished like a seasoned striker. Things got even better for the Mambas, being coached by Tsolekile for the first time, when Michael Baiden made it 2-0. In the second half there was signs of a fight back for the Golden Gate Gladiators as they pulled a goal back through the impressive Michael Forrest. But the Mambas, who finished third in 2017, made sure of the victory when Jonty Robinson, a man with more than 100 caps for South Africa, settled the result for the Mambas.

The 2017 champions, the Orange River Rafters, got the Women’s competition underway as taking on the Wineland Wings. Both sides were missing some players currently on duty with the South African Indoor side in Zimbabwe. That didn’t stop the Wings though and Tarryn Glasby, fresh from duty at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup, fired home in the opening minute. Almost systematically though the defending champions started fighting back and with the last play of the opening quarter Nicole Walraven, another World Cup member, equalised with a deft deflection at the penalty corner.

The second quarter ended in almost the same way when entering the final minute of the quarter and the half Chane Hartel scooped a loose ball into the D past Charlize Swanepoel in the Wings goal to give Shaun Hulley’s Rafters a half time lead. The Rafters turned up the tempo and scored again through Zeena Martin and four minutes later scored again through Chane Hartel. The fourth was reviewed however and chalked off for a foot in the build-up. The Wings fought back and Tarryn Glasby pulled one back to set up a grand stand finish but unfortunately for the Wings they could not find the goal to level giving the defending champions a good opening day win.

The Addo Elephants followed the example set by the opening two games by scoring early in the first quarter through Olympian Julian Hykes and quickly doubled through a fantastic tomahawk finish by Andrew Manson. The 2017 runners-up the Drakensberg Dragons started the uphill climb and would have felt a glimmer of hope when Francois Pretorius got one back for them. That hope grew when Richard Pautz scored a fantastic diving deflection to level. The Dragons had an incredible 54 circle entries over 20 from the Elephants but somehow with the game heading to a shootout, superb work by Andrew Manson set up Julian Hykes who finished to send the Elephants into delirium.

The crowd at Randburg were eagerly awaiting the appearance of the Blyde River Bunters captain Phumelela Mbande after her heroics against Argentina at the World Cup and they were not disappointed as she showed signs of the same form in denying the Madikwe Rangers any goals in superb victory for Marcelle Keet’s Bunters. It was a victory borne out of great rearguard defence but with a great opportunistic goal taken by Mmamoagi Kungoane, her second career PHL goal, after a ball through by Jessica de Bruyn-Smith was parried away by Mmatshepo Modipane.

The final game of day one had a bit of a slumbering first quarter but came to life sensationally in the second quarter when the Garden Route Gazelles took the lead through Tyson Dlungwana. The defending champions were then further stunned as they fell 2-0 down through a Reece Arendse goal. The Cavemen have not lost a game in open play since PHL 2016’s group stages and they showed their class as they fought back. They pulled one goal back sensationally through a Cameron Mackay deflection in the 30th minute before former South Africa U21 International Kyle Lion-Cachet levelled from a Penalty corner in the 49th minute.

The most exciting period of the day was still to come though as Lion-Cachet gave the double champions the lead for the first time in the 58th minute giving Siya Nolutshungu no chance from a penalty stroke. If the Cavemen thought they could celebrate their victory they would be mistaken as the Gazelles, under the leadership of the impressive Ashlin Freddy, fought back again and found the game-tying goal from Luke Schooling after a great piece of play from Dlungwana. As is in the CTM PHL rules, every game must have a result and it was down to a shootout to decide the winner.

In the shootout Estiaan Kriek, only playing for the Cavemen due to Rassie Pieterse’s unavailability, saved two ultimately being enough to see Mark Sanders team home with the 3 points. Of course, the nature of the CTM PHL is such that tonight the teams will go home, analyse video and prepare themselves for another day of action packed hockey tomorrow. What a start to the 2018 CTM PHL.

CTM PHL Weekend 1

Saturday 11 August
08:00 – Men – Old Mutual iWyze Golden Gate Gladiators 1-3 Elf Laminates Mapungubwe Mambas
10:00 – Women – Ceramic Industries Wineland Wings 2-3 Italtile Orange River Rafters
12:00 – Men – Kilamanjaro Addo Elephants 3-2 Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons
14:00 – Women – Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters 1-0 Top T Madikwe Rangers
16:00 – Men – Origins Maropeng Cavemen (4) *3-3 (3) Garden Route Gazelles

Sunday 12 August
08:00 – Women – Private Property St. Lucia Lakers vs. Old Mutual iWyze Namaqualand Daisies
10:00 – Men – Old Mutual iWyze Golden Gate Gladiators vs. Kilamanjaro Addo Elephants
12:00 – Women – Top T Madikwe Rangers vs. Italtile Orange River Rafters
14:00 – Men – Elf Laminates Mapungubwe Mambas vs. Origins Maropeng Cavemen
16:00 – Women – Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters vs. Ceramic Industries Wineland Wings

Phumelela Mbande in action in PHL 2017 for the Blyde River Bunters - (Photo - Marcel Sigg / PHL)

The third edition of the CTM Premier Hockey League gets underway on Saturday at the Randburg Astro with a few tantalising match ups, new look teams and of course some new coaches guiding the various teams. With world class coverage from SuperSport, the CTM PHL promises to raise the game once again.

Two coaches that will take charges of their teams for the first time are Olympian Lungile Tsolekile and current African U18 champion coach Lenise Marais. Lungile, who played over 100 times for South Africa, will lead the Mapungubwe Mambas for the first time. They get to start with the opening game of the tournament against the Golden Gate Gladiators, the SA U21 side. The game promises to be a baptism of fire as the Gladiators have just spent the week together at IPT training for PHL and will be raring to go.

“I’m looking forward to the surprise element of how the players we have drafted gel together. It’s an exciting challenge of building combinations from what we have and responding quickly to the opportunities. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity!” shared Tsolekile

Lenise Marais is another Olympian, who played a remarkable 232 games for South Africa, making waves in the coaching world she superbly led the South African Schools U18 to a white wash series victory against Australia in the iWyze test series in July. This was the first time South Africa had won a match against Australia at this level, they did it three times in a row! Many of these players continued on, to win gold at the African Youth Games! Lenise, who coached in PHL 2016 before assisting in 2017, will take over as the head coach of the Wineland Wings. The Wings had a tough 2017 where they finished bottom of the women’s section and continued a very unlucky tradition in the shootouts. They will open their campaign against the 2017 champions the Orange River Rafters, so there will be no time to find their feet.

Another tasty offering on the opening day sees the 2016 silver medallists the Addo Elephants take on the 2017 runners-up the Drakensberg Dragons. The Elephants will be buoyed by new marquee players Miguel da Graca and Dan Bell, while the draft of Tim Guise-Brown was a coupe for Cheslyn Gie’s side. The Dragons will offer a superb opponent led by IPT winning coach Sihle Ntuli, while Peter Jarvis looks like one of the most exciting young talents in the country.

The other game to watch on the weekend will be the 14:00 hit off between the Blyde River Bunters and the Madikwe Rangers. The Bunters, led by Marcelle Keet, will look towards the shot stopping ability of Phumelela Mbande, South Africa’s star player at the FIH Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup. The Rangers will again seek inspiration from Lisa-Marie Deetlefs who played her 250th game for South Africa at the World Cup.

CTM PHL Weekend 1 – Fixtures

Saturday 11 August 
08:00 – Men – Old Mutual iWyze Golden Gate Gladiators vs. Elf Laminates Mapungubwe Mambas
10:00 – Women – Ceramic Industries Wineland Wings vs. Italtile Orange River Rafters
12:00 – Men – Kilamanjaro Addo Elephants vs. Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons
14:00 – Women – Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters vs. Top T Madikwe Rangers
16:00 – Men – Origins Maropeng Cavemen vs. Garden Route Gazelles

Sunday 12 August 
08:00 – Women – Private Property St. Lucia Lakers vs. Old Mutual iWyze Namaqualand Daisies
10:00 – Men – Old Mutual iWyze Golden Gate Gladiators vs. Kilamanjaro Addo Elephants
12:00 – Women – Top T Madikwe Rangers vs. Italtile Orange River Rafters
14:00 – Men – Elf Laminates Mapungubwe Mambas vs. Origins Maropeng Cavemen
16:00 – Women – Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters vs. Ceramic Industries Wineland Wings

You can follow all the action on the PHL website and social media channels as well as catch the games live on SuperSport.

OPRO, the world’s largest manufacturer of the most technically advanced mouthguard, today announced a new partnership with South African Hockey and the CTM Premier Hockey League.

As the official mouthguard providers for South African Hockey and the CTM Premier Hockey League, the long-term partnership will see OPRO supply elite level mouthguards to national teams. In addition, the scope of the partnership will include all CTM Premier Hockey League teams in a bid to ensure each player has the very best protection for their teeth.

The partnership comes at an exciting time for South African Hockey after their recent involvement at the 2018 FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup in London, and for the CTM Premier Hockey League as it goes from strength to strength as a key contributor to the growth of hockey in the country.

Specifically, the CTM Premier Hockey League features 240 of the best South African players, forming part of the South African Hockey Association’s (SAHA) high performance pipeline which is aimed at unearthing new talent and better equipping the national men’s and women’s teams for international competition.

With over 20 years’ experience, dedicated to bringing leading technology and safety to athletes at all levels of sport, OPRO’s partnership will run in unison with this vision, to aid the development of the game from grassroots level through to international level.

OPRO are the official mouthguard partner of over 60 teams including England Hockey, Hockey Ireland, Great Britain Hockey, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Australia Rugby and New Zealand Rugby.

OPRO Chief Executive Officer, David Allen commented: “It’s an exciting time for the game of hockey in South Africa and we’re delighted to be a part of it.

“At OPRO, providing the most comfortable, best fitting and reliable mouthguards is our passion and of course, safety is paramount. We look forward to what’s to come through this partnership.”

Marissa Langeni, CEO of SA Hockey, had this to saay about the partnership, “As South African Hockey we are pleased to be associated with OPRO as a leading premier brand of mouthguards. It is imperative to recognise the critical safety needs of our players and this association will assist us to ensure that players have the required adequate protection as they play the sport they love.”

For more information visit www.opromouthguards.com.

Men's PHL Coaches for 2018. From Left Ashlin Freddy (Gazelles), Cheslyn Gie (Elephants), Mark Sanders (Cavemen), Lungile Tsolekile (Mambas) & Sihle Ntuli (Dragons). They are joined by Brandon Swart (SA Hockey High Performance)

The highly anticipated third season of the CTM PHL took a step up in preparation tonight as the teams were finalised after the draft. The draft, which is based on the American sports draft system as seen in the likes of the NBA and NFL, sees the selected coaching teams battle for players to fill their squads. The draft is seen as a great curtain raiser to the tournament and such is its innovative nature that it has been shortlisted for the Sports Industry Awards 2018 for  “Cutting Edge Sport Award”.

Each squad consists of 20 players, made up of 7 marquee players as determined by SA Hockey’s High-Performance team, a maximum of 8 players retained from the prior year squads and a new 6 players selected in today’s draft.

In the Women’s tournament a change for 2018 is that the Namaqualand Daisies are no longer the SA Under 21 side as the decision was made to integrate the younger players into the main tournament. In the Men’s tournament the Golden Gate Gladiators remained a South African Under 21 side, which would remain largely the same from the Men’s IPT.

As each round in the draft ticked by, the coaches were like the bargain hunters at an auction, changing plans, shifting ideas and hoping to pick up their first-choice targets. It was remarkable, for example, that the name of Tim-Guise Brown was scratched off by 3 other coaches from their wanted list when Cheslyn Gie picked the Northern Blues star. This was not the only time it played out like this as the coaches battled for the best South African talent in a quest to dethrone the Orange River Rafters and the Maropeng Cavemen.

“I am so excited to be moving into the head coach position with the Blyde River Bunters. It’s been an incredible journey with the team as an assistant and I can wait for this year’s CTM PHL,” shared Marcelle Keet, head coach of the Blyde River Bunters: “I am incredibly pleased with the draft process and the players I managed to get in, I got the targets I wanted! Thank you to CTM for getting on board, having a headline sponsor is going to just help this great tournament continue to grow!”

South African’s Men’s coach Mark Hopkins knows the process well having featured as a coach in 2017 and shared his thoughts after the draft: “I am very excited that we have a fantastic sponsor behind the PHL and it will continue to help develop hockey in South Africa. We have some exciting coaches that will raise the level of the tournament and it also gives players an opportunity of playing at a high level in front of a large tv audience. The CTM PHL is an exciting event that will help build high performance hockey in South Africa.”

Marissa Langeni, the CEO of SA Hockey, excitedly shared: “The CTM PHL is always an exciting event on the hockey calendar. I think the coaches have done some good hard work in planning their squads for 2018 and I think they will be happy with what they have done. We are delighted to partner with CTM as our headline sponsor of PHL for 2018. The CTM PHL has a fantastic legacy already of making sure we make top level hockey accessible to all players, and we look forward to growing this legacy going in 2018!”

Six men’s and six women’s team will contest the third edition of the CTM PHL which gets under way on August 11, at the Randburg Astro in Johannesburg, with the finals taking place on the 26 August.

Final Teams for CTM PHL 2018 – Women

Italtile Orange River Rafters (2017 – Champions)

Cheree Greyvenstein, Sulette Damons, Casey-Jean Botha, Zimasa Dunywa, Simone Gouws, Charne Maddocks, Nicole Walraven, Charne Hartel, Donna Small, Lerato Mahlangu, Kelsey Minnaar, Luche Klaassen, Zimkhitha Weston, Amy Etherington, Francisca Darkoh, Mia Barnard, Candice Silent, Zeena Martin, Anneke Beukman, Badrunnisaa Halliday Coach: Shaun Hulley. Assistant Coach: Taryn de Winnaar. Manager: Kgothatso Maboea

Tivoli Taps Blyde River Bunters (2016 – Champions)

Phumelela Mbande, Nicolene Terblanche, Izelle Verster, Kirsty Adams, Courtney du Preez, Mmamoagi Kungoane, Jessica De Bruyn Smith, Marissa Poolman, Meeghan Klomp, Elmien Marais, Julia Flemming, Anél Luus, Nicole Kemp, Thati Segaole, Carmen Smith, Lelethu Ndakisa, Kim Mentor, Sarah Bingham, Miecke Flemming, Minke van Heerden Coach: Marcelle Keet. Assistant Coach: David Joshua. Manager: Gloria Baartman

Old Mutual IWyze Namaqualand Daisies

Sisipho Magwaza, Chardinay Penniston, Dunell Van Taak, Marizen Maria, Natalie Esteves, Toni Marks, Lauren Nina, Refilwe Ralikontsane, Jacinta Jubb, Amy Greaves, Aimee-Leigh Pote, Gretchin Davids, Deneho Didi Mgwenya, Brady Wiseman, Carli Pretorius, Christine Seggie, Nicole Koening, Lize Steyn, Tayla Johnson, Cindy Bothma Coach: Andi Bernstein. Assistant Coach: Nelson Nkomane Nel. Manager: Marcel Lamont

Top T Madikwe Rangers

Lisa Deetlefs, Nomnikelo Veto, Mmatshepo Modipane, Monique Bartch, Kristen Paton, Sylvia van Jaarsveldt, Ashleigh Datnow, Isabella Da Rocha, Londeka Dlamini, Courtney Abrahams, Shindré-Lee Simmons, Claire Gibbings, Lezaan Janse van Vuuren, Amoré De Wet, Cheneal Raubenheimer, Malikah Potgieter, Nicole Bartch, Elan-Margo van Vught, Hildah Dikhudu, Andrea Leader. Coach: Bevan Bennet. Assistant Coach: Tarrin Ramsden.  Manager: Jo-Anne Deysel

Ceramic Industries Wineland Wings

Zimisele Shange, Stephanie Botha, Jamie Southgate, Jessica O'Connor, Tarryn Glasby, Sandisiwe Tabata, Candice Manuel, Robyn Johnson, Miche Bennet, Thando Chithi, Hope Nkosi, Sasha Sivertsen, Nompilo Thenjwayo, Michelle Dias, Lida Kotze, Sonika van Heerden, Edith Molikoe, Ashleigh Thomas, Michelle Dykman, Jessica Lardant. Coach: Lenise Marais. Assistant Coach: Cindy Brown. Manager: Lynn Abrahams

Private Property St. Lucia Lakers

Kara-Lee Botes, Moya Smith, Shelley Jones, Erin Hunter, Leratho Mahole, Stephanie Baxter, Teegan Fourie, Jenna Shuker, Tiffany Jones, Bianca Wood, Polly Mashau, Megan Anderson, Heraldine Olin, Paige Phillips, Karen Bowyer, Ayanga Baleni, Lisa Hawker, Alexandra Kavanagh, Demi Harmse, Chané Hill. Coach: Inky Zondi. Assistant Coach: Kim Hubach. Manager: Taryn McCreedy

Final Teams for CTM PHL 2018 – Men

Garden Route Gazelles

Siya Nolutshungu, Tyson Dlungwana, Clinton Panther, Taylor Dart, Michael Abrahams, Taine Paton, Keenan Horne, Reece Arendse, Gerald Mpopo, Dylan Coombes, Le-Neal Jackson, Jayson Reed, Berne Burger, Brandon James, Connor Beauchamp, Gertjie Lamprecht, Pierre De Voux, Pierre Bothma, Luke Schooling, Tom Richardson. Coach: Ashlin Freddy. Assistant Coach: Colin Fielding. Manager: Emmanuel Segale

Kilamanjaro Addo Elephants

Matthew Martins, Robin Jones, Tevin Pieterson, Dan Bell, Miguel da Graca, Julian Hykes, Ignatus Malgraaf, Sinoxolo Mbekeni, Onke Letuka, Jody Erasmus, Damian Kimfley, Andrew Manson, Joshua August, Zamokuhle Ngubo, Bjorn Sorensen, Tim Guise-Brown, Cody Postumus, Andrew Buckley, Cerezo Comerasamy, Roberto Bosman Coach: Cheslyn Gie. Assistant Coach: Anthony Woodhouse. Manager: Mark Jenneker

Elf Laminates Mapungubwe Mambas

Rob McKinley, Matt Brown, Alex Stewart, Jonty Robinson, Dalpiro Langford, Owen Mvimbi, Tevin Kok, Michael Marki, Callum Buchanan, Winchester Scott, Ross Gonzalves, Dillon Langeveld, Kyle Esau, Kewan Harries, Courtney Halle, Luthando Jonas, David Zwemke, Michael Baiden, Xola Maqula, Caleb Syce. Coach: Lungile Tsolekile. Assistant Coach: Geowynne Gamiet. Manager: Brighty Mashaba

Pro Grip Drakensberg Dragons

Gowan Jones, Jethro Eustice, Mo Mea, Matt de Sousa, Melrick Maddocks, Richard Pautz, Nqobile Ntuli, Chad Cairncross, Nick Gonzalves, Dylan Swanepoel, Cody Van Wyk, Mbuso Mgobozi, Amkelwe Letuka, Lance De Kock, Cameron Ryan, Francois Pretorius, Grant Robertson, Blake Tyack, Peter Jarvis, Keegan Hezlett. Coach: Sihle Ntuli. Assistant Coach: Luke Makaleni. Manager: Nkosinathi Nathi Ngubani

Origins Maropeng Cavemen (2016 & 2017 Champions)

Rassie Pieterse, Lance Louw, Tommy Hammond, Nduduzo Lembethe, Ryan Crowe, Rusten Abrahams, Reza Rosenburg, Brynn Cleak, Ricky West, Cameron MacKay, Thabang Modise, Chad Futcher, Kyle Lion-Cachet, Kingsley Botes, Travis Hardnick, Rayner York, Lethuxolo Thomo, Stephen Cant, Craig Wiid, Steven Paulo. Coach: Mark Sanders. Assistant Coach: Sandile Bosman. Manager: Lehlohonolo Maluke

Old Mutual iWyze Golden Gate Gladiators

William Eveleigh, Jared Cass, Andrew Hobson, Samkelo Mvimbi, Che February, Andile Ndlovu, Duncan Fischer, Gabela Lungani, Chris Makaba, Mark Chong, Matthew Roman, Michael Hora, Clayton Saker, Max Pike, Brad Sherwood, Matthew Davies, Michael Forrest. Coach: Garreth Ewing. Assistant Coach: Devon van der Merwe. Manager: Nhlanhla Mlambu

CTM, South Africa’s largest retailer of tiles and bathroom ware, is proud to announce its continued support of the South African Hockey Association, upgrading its role to chief sponsor of the Premier Hockey League (PHL) for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

CTM was first introduced to the PHL in 2017, sponsoring four of the nine teams, namely the Kilimanjaro Addo Elephants, Pro-grip Drakensberg Dragons, Tivoli Blyde River Bunters and the ever popular TopT Madikwe Rangers.  The team identities are inspired by famous tourist areas in South Africa and are linked to CTM products including its exclusive Kilimanjaro tile range, its Pro-Grip adhesive and grout products, the Tivoli tap range and also to CTM’s sister brand, TopT.

The Inaugural South African Premier Hockey League owned by the South African Hockey Association and funded by Sports and Recreation South Africa, was launched in 2016 in Randburg, Gauteng, and has shown great promise over the past two years since its launch.

The PHL model is an exciting, inventive new hockey format, created to transform the sport in South Africa. Comprising of three weeks of incredible hockey action, the best franchise teams representative of each of the nine provinces compete against each other in a series of top quality matches. 

 “CTM is proud to partner with the PHL – we share the common values of innovation and inventiveness, and this partnership enables both organisations to make a positive contribution to hockey development, propelling the sport forward in this country,” says CEO of CTM’s parent company, Italtile Ltd, Mr Jan Potgieter on the rationale behind the sponsorship.

Jan adds, “CTM strives to be a good corporate citizen and our social responsibility and sponsorship initiatives are aimed at making a meaningful difference in the communities in which we operate.  Sport is a powerful means of bringing people together in a positive environment, improving health and fitness, social skills and self-esteem, thereby contributing to a healthier, more productive society.” 

Marissa Langeni, CEO of SA Hockey, has the following to say on the relationship “The Premier Hockey League has become a much sought after event by our high performance players and continues to delight players and fans alike. The world class broadcasting of the event by SuperSport has ensured that fans of the game have been able to enjoy high quality hockey played by exceptional players.  The continued support received from Sport & Recreation South Africa is testament to the gem that the PHL is. We are pleased that CTM has seen value in the PHL and as such could not pass up the opportunity to back this prestigious event. The partnership with CTM will enable us to reach new highs and unearth more great young talents like Ongeziwe Mali and Dayaan Cassiem.’’

“In its short lifespan the PHL has achieved so much and has even gained recognition through a short listing from the SIG Awards as best new invention in sport for the PHL18 Draft,” Marissa concludes.