NMMU Madibaz destroyed Grahamstown rivals Rhodes 5-0 to record their first win of the Varsity Cup men’s hockey tournament last night at Wits University in Johannesburg.
Earlier in the opening round of the competition over the weekend, NMMU lost 2-1 to Free State and drew 1-1 with Wits, while Rhodes were beaten by the University of Johannesburg (7-1) and UCT (2-1).
Yesterday, Rhodes began with a decent passing game but struggled to deal with the rush defence of NMMU.
NMMU’s skilful dribblers caused Rhodes a few headaches throughout.
This ability was used by NMMU in the buildup to their first goal. NMMU exposed Rhodes down the flanks then whipped a dangerous cross into the circle for a tap-in score converted by Ignatius Malgraff.
Rhodes struggled to contain the aggressive attacks from NMMU. This led to NMMU’s second goal being scored from a long corner.
A great distance slap-shot from Grant Kapp, who was left totally unmarked by the Rhodes defence, took NMMU’s lead to two goals.
The second chukka started with a power play for Rhodes, which they did not utilise to full effect. When this ended, NMMU went for the jugular and Rhodes showed guts on defence to hang on during this period of play.
The third and final chukka began with NMMU’s power play. Amazing dribbling from outside the circle resulted in a reverse cross and a spectacular diving goal for NMMU’s Jason Doherty-Bigara, taking the score to 3-0 in their favour.
Later on, a short corner for NMMU led to a drag-flick goal that was touched last by an unlucky Rhodes defender. This secured them a bonus point and a 4-0 lead. NMMU’s last goal came from a long pass that was snuck in by Malgraff to end the game.
The FNB man of the match was NMMU’s Daylon Philips. Doherty-Bigara, also of NMMU, walked away with the Samsung Super Striker award for his spectacular goal.
Rhodes defender Greg Keyter was rewarded for his last-ditch clearance off the line with the Mugg and Bean Super Saver award. – Brandon Yates