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A humdinger on the cards for Kearsney vs Michaelhouse

By CS Chiwanza , in Hockey | Featured Hockey | News , at 2024-06-07 Tags: , , , ,

Michaelhouse travels to Botha’s Hill on Saturday morning for what promises to be a humdinger of a contest against Kearsney College. On the same day, Hilton College hosts St Charles.

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Last week, Kearsney fired their way to a 3-0 win over Clifton. That victory came on the back of a 4-0 drubbing of Glenwood the previous week.

Ashley Kemp‘s charges have been prolific in front of goal and solid in defence since their 1-1 draw against Northwood at home on a misty Friday night a month ago.

A big reason for their success has been their captain and talisman, Matthew Mendes de Oliveira. He has led from the front, scoring goals at crucial times, when Kearsney has needed a strike to restore their belief, and he’s been an obstacle for the opposition when tracking back to help out in defence when they have been under pressure.

The SA School’s midfielder’s commitment to defence is a testament to Kemp’s philosophy that places a premium on sound defensive work.

“I take massive pride in defence first. So, from the start of pre-season, that’s my main objective. If you don’t concede, you give your team the ability to play freely,” the Kearsney coach said early in the season. “It’s the hardest part, but if you do it well, you give yourselves a lot of opportunity to express yourself out in the field.”

Kearsney heads into the tie with recent results against Michaelhouse on their side. They have won the last three times they’ve met, recording a 2-0 victory in Balgowan in 2022, which was followed by a 1-0 win at home. Earlier this season, Kearsney fought their way to a 3-2 win away at Michaelhouse. That sets them up with an opportunity to complete a season’s double over ‘House.

However, Nick Bérichon‘s charges are far from the personification of lambs to the slaughter. It is safe to say they are not the same side Kearsney overcame earlier this year. Michaelhouse has gradually gelled and found their stride as they have taken on their coach’s playing philosophy.

“I want the boys to play in a very structured approach, a very obvious plan, one that is self-evident. But I don’t want them to be constricted by the structure, I want them to use it as a foundation to express themselves and play aggressive hockey,” Bérichon said, outlining his approach at the start of the season.

It took Michaelhouse a little time to hit their straps and find consistency. However, after things clicked for them, they have strung together a number of positive results.

They head into the tie buoyed by their recent form, especially a win last week in which they upset the highly regarded DHS at the Durban school’s fortress, The Coliseum. Bérichon’s charges showed grit and resilience as they turned around a tie in which they trailed 0-1, following an extended period of dominance from their hosts.

Not only did they equalise, but they seized control of the contest and established a two-goal lead before conceding a late goal.

With two form sides set to do battle, the showdown on the Mason Astro has the potential to deliver fireworks.

FIXTURES

Saturday
Kearsney vs Michaelhouse
Hilton vs St Charles

CS Chiwanza