SuperSport Schools Plus

DAY 5| Boland to battle Western Province for SASHOC National Week title

By Avuyile Sawula , in Hockey | Featured Hockey | News , at 2024-06-20 Tags: ,

Boland's Reuben Sendzul in action for his side during their semi-final against Southern Gauteng A on day five in Bloemfontein. Photo credits: TeamPhotoSA
Boland’s Reuben Sendzul in action for his side during their semi-final against Southern Gauteng A on day five in Bloemfontein. Photo: TeamPhotoSA

The script could hardly have been better written for the u18 SASHOC National Week final.

It will be a meeting of neighbours and rivals after Boland A and Western Province A booked their place in the title-decider, which takes place on the University of the Free State‘s main AstroTurf on Friday.

The final begins at 11:20; you can watch it LIVE on SuperSport Schools.

To secure their spots in the big game, Boland defeated a resilient Southern Gauteng A side 4-1 on Thursday morning. Then, a couple of hours later, Province was made to sweat for a 1-0 win over a highly motivated KZN Coastal A team.

The finalists, led by coaches Jacques Grobler (Boland) and Bryce West (Province) respectively, were drawn in the same Pool A for the group stage, and they comfortably claimed the top two places.

They dominated, with Western Province putting together a 100 percent winning record and scoring 28 goals in five matches, while Boland lost only once, a 0-5 defeat against Province on day three.

In their semi-final against Southerns, Boland was the better team in crucial moments, exhibiting good control and maintaining ball possession well while also winning the midfield battle.

They scored two quick goals in the first chukka through Reuben Sendzul. The first was a penalty corner (PC) drag flick, and the second came courtesy of great interplay between Matthew Temmis and Joshua Smit, who then picked out Sendzul in space. He turned quickly and fired into the back of the net.

Boland was on top in the second chukka, with their captain Michael Du Toit, Louan Van Zyl, and John Coetzee performing well as a unit.

Gauteng replied, though, with a goal from Avela Sibisi to increase the tension just before halftime.

The third chukka was goalless. However, a Sendzul drag flick, his third goal of the contest, made it 3-1 in the fourth quarter. Ethan Leonard put the nail in the Southerns’ coffin, with the last goal of the game, to ensure the Bolanders advanced to the final with a convincing 4-1 win.

“We’ve had a really good process. The players have bought into it from day one, and that just shows in our performances,” Grobler told SuperSport Schools Plus after the clash.

“We have struggled in one or two games, but those are games we were willing to struggle in, and opted to be clinical in the other games, so that was some top work from the boys.

“I think the big word from this game is ‘control’. I think we controlled large phases of the game.

“They hit us on the counterattack, and they’ve got great skill, but I feel like we controlled 70 to 80 percent of that game, and that counted in our favour.”

Western province's Litha Kraai in action for his side in this year's SASHOC National Week. Photo credits: TeamPhotoSA
Western province’s Litha Kraai in action for his side in this year’s SASHOC National Week. Photo credits: TeamPhotoSA

Grobler’s charges take on a fierce Western Province team for the title. Province cruised through their pool, but they were pushed all the way by KZN Coastal in their semi-final and managed to sneak by them by the game’s only goal.

They’ll be out to reprise their performance of 2023 in Bloemfontein, when they lifted the title. Boland, meanwhile, last won an inter-provincial tournament back in 2015. On Friday, they’ll have an opportunity to end that nine-year drought.

Province, in their semi against coach Cam Mackay’s Coastal A side, was made to grind out a win.

After taking the lead early in the first chukka through a James Grieve goal, they were held at bay, forced to play in their half, and at times looked uncomfortable on the ball.

It was not a typical Province performance, especially in light of how prolific they had been in front of goal earlier in the week.

Discipline was also an issue for the Capetonians, with Joe Gitlin, Litha Kraai, skipper Stephan Meyer, and Jo Le Roux all picking up green cards.

Coastal will rue a number of half-chances they had to get back into the match, but no player will have a more sleepless night than their outstanding captain and midfielder Matthew de Oliveira.

With time up on the clock, Oliveira was presented with an opportunity to send the contest to a shootout when his side was awarded a penalty stroke. He took on the responsibility of taking the stroke, but his effort struck a post and Province advanced.

“It was a tough encounter. Coastal came out firing and they had a good game plan. They stuck to it, as did we,” WP head coach Bryce West told SuperSport Schools Plus after the match.

“There were big moments in the game, and I think both teams stepped up in those moments and never allowed any players to get a sight of goal.

“Both short corner defences were superb. Everything was run down and the nail-biting end there at full-time, unlucky hitting the post. That’s sports, unfortunately.”

Ahead of the all-Western Cape final against Boland on Friday, West said his side would need to be more present in big moments and capitalise on the opportunities they create.

“We just have to be better in moments within the game,” he said. “When big moments come, we’ve got to step up. We certainly created opportunities today, but they didn’t result in goals as they did in the week.

“We’ll just go do video [analysis] on Boland, and also look at ourselves, where we can improve and do better, and take it as it is tomorrow,” he concluded.

Day 5| Results and scorers

KZN Inland A 2 (1): Grant Bridgeford, Ipeleng Mosupye. Southern Gauteng B 1 (1): Connor Sneddon. (Playoff 5-8)

KZN Coastal B 2 (2): Seth Simpson, Liam du Rand. Southern Free State A 2 (1): Matthias Visser, Sbusiso Ndaba (Playoff 5-8)

Boland A 4 (2): Reuben Sendzul (3), Ethan Leonard. Southern Gauteng A: 1(0): Avela Sibisi (Playoff 1-4)

Northern Gauteng A 5 (4): Dali Ndlovu (2), Marco Upton, Sukuma Shirata, Zac Richardson. Western Province B 3 (1): Charlie Naylor (2), O’Ryan Moos. (Playoff 9-12)

Western Province A 1(1): James Grieve. KZN Coastal A 0. (Playoff 1-4)

Eastern Province A 4 (1): Luke Tait, Blake Muller, Kian Cambier, Zack Willimott. Border A 1 (0): Tre’ Gilbert. (Playoff 9-12)

Avuyile Sawula
error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.