For the second time in three years the Northerns Blues laid claim to the women’s A-section title at the Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals, surviving a tense shootout against Southern Gauteng at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Saturday.
After the game ended locked at 1-1 at the end of regulation time the sides immediately had to pick their best five options for the shootout with neither side able to capitalise in the situation which forced the shootout into sudden death.
Southerns would have first go in the sudden death shootout and when Lisa Deetlefs slapped her effort straight at Mmatshepo Modipane it fell to Celia Evans to take it home for Northerns.
Evans promptly rounded Southerns shot-stopper Sanani Mangisa and slotted home to hand Northerns victory in the derby between the two Gauteng sides.
It was appropriate that Evans would have the final say given that she played a major role in the final, not only proving instrumental in setting up a number of attacking opportunities but also providing vital cover on defence.
Southerns had, however, come out the stronger of the two sides and managed to take the lead in the 11th minute as Shelley Russell fed the ball to Catherine McNulty in the middle of the D and a good finish under pressure made it 1-0.
But Northerns weren’t going to sit back and let Southerns make the play and had it not been for a last-gasp clearance by Ashleigh-Jean Datnow, who cleared off the line after Jessica Dollar slipped her defender, the scores would have been level sooner.
Dollar would again play a vital part in setting up a clear opportunity for Northerns as she found Jubb in the circle and a short-corner followed.
The set up suggested that Jubb would have the shot but instead Northerns opted for the slip and the ball found Evans and she unleashed a powerful shot to level the scores in the 33rd minute.
That was how it stayed until the final hooter which meant an immediate shootout. Southerns at one stage held the advantage but Toni Marks and Taryn Mallett both missed their opportunities while Chanelle van Zyl converted the final attempt to force sudden death.