WITH Potchefstroom University already through to the final, the main focus will be on the battle for second place when the concluding weekend of the inaugural Varsity Hockey tournament takes place in Pretoria this weekend.
After ending the second weekend with convincing victories on Monday, both Stellenbosch and Free State are in with a chance of contesting the final.
The NMMU Madibaz, meanwhile, will be fighting to avoid the wooden spoon after three losses (to Johannesburg, Maties and UCT) last weekend.
Maties’ Proteas stars Illse Davids and Quanita Bobbs were instrumental in their team’s 3-2 win against the University of Johannesburg on Monday, and Free State ensured a bonus point in their resounding 5-0 victory over Wits.
Pukke, who drew their match against Tuks, are in top position on the log, while the Pretoria side lost ground in the tight battle for the second spot, sliding down to fourth.
The Maties match showcased the value of having international players in the line-up as the skill and experience of Davids, Bobbs and Farah Fredericks kept their team on the front foot for the majority of their match against UJ at the UJ campus.
They will, though, be disappointed with the way they lost focus in the final period after a wonderful showing of skill, patience and intent in the first two periods. They will also rue the absence of a fourth goal, which would have secured a bonus point.
This might cost them, especially considering that Kovsies did get the bonus point against Wits in front of their home fans.
The Pukke game once again showcased the considerable talents of Protea striker Sulette Damons, who scored her team’s only goal against Tukkies with an accurate backstick shot in the sixth minute. The team looked flat when she was given a breather late in the first half, allowing Tuks back in the game.
The last round-robin matches will take place on Sunday, with the playoff matches on Monday.
TWO of EP’s men’s hockey heavyweights, NMMU Madibaz and Gelvan Hurricanes, will clash on Sunday in what should be a tightly contested premier league battle.
It is still early days in the competition, but neither side will want to concede any advantage at this stage and there should be a hard edge to the proceedings as the former champions (Gelvan) try to show they are still title contenders.
In the later game on Sunday at NMMU, Old Grey will be looking for another win – after defeating Pirates last weekend – when they take on NMMU B.
The varsity side cannot be taken lightly and they are capable of extending the Old Grey outfit.
In Grahamstown, Rhodes will be looking to bounce back from a 4-0 defeat last week to NMMU when they host Gelvan Units.