EP player Toni Marks selected for SA women’s hockey squad

EASTERN Province’s Toni Marks was included in an SA women’s hockey squad named at the conclusion of the women’s interprovincial in Maritzburg on Saturday.

The national squad was chosen by convenor of selectors Mickey Gordon and his panel from those players who were at the IPT.

The squad is: Cornelle Botha, Line Malan, Tanya Britz, Nicole Walraven (all FS); Tiffany Jones (KZN Inland); Anelle van Deventer, Celia Evans, Sulette Damons, Stephanie Baxter (all NW); Sanani Mangisa, Shelley Russell, Lilian du Plessis, Kaila Flemming, Lisa Deetlefs, Demi du Toit, Bernie Coston, Christine Roos (all SG); Toni Marks (EP); Carmen Smith (SG Witsies); Hanli Hattingh, Candice Manuel, Illse Davids, Jade Mayne, Tarryn Bright, Erin Hunter (WP); Phume Mbande, Nicolene Terblanche, Jacinta Jubb (Northern Blues); Marcelle Manson (Border); Kara Stella, Kelly Madsen, Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal).

Northern Blues dug deep to win the women’s interprovincial for the first time with a 5-4 victory over WP.

WP led 1-0 at half time through a Farah Fredericks goal in the 13th minute, but Blues came back to level 1-1 after Kim Hubach scored in the 49th before going on to win a sudden-death penalty shootout for an eventual 5-4 victory. Chanelle van Zyl delivered the shootout’s knockout blow for the Northerns girls.

Both sides had early crosses that flashed dangerously across the face of goal, just missing the strikers’ outstretched sticks and WP opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a well-worked penalty corner converted by Fredericks.

Blues had the opportunity to equalise in the 27th minute, but failed. The final was not reaching the heights of some of the pool games, one of which was Blues’ 2-0 win over WP four days earlier. Too many unforced errors, passes not connecting with receivers, perhaps a consequence of five days of hard matches, player fatigue and gold medal nerves creeping in.

With three minutes to half time, Illse Davids’ reverse-stick shot was saved by Blues keeper Phume Mbande and the Pretorians were still very much in the game.

In the 46th minute, concerted WP pressure saw Anna Malan come close to scoring but the Blues eventually scrambled the ball away, while Northerns were unfortunate not to score from a PC soon after, but Kim Hubach made no mistake with the next, drawing the teams level 1-1 in the 49th minute.

As the clock ticked down it was survival of the fittest as to which side could put this final to bed.

WP won consecutive PCs in the last two minutes and the second was cleared with 23 seconds left, the nail-biting final going into a penalty shootout.

After the regulation five shootout opportunities still had not broken the deadlock, the final went into three rounds of sudden-death and Van Zyl of Northern Blues delivered the knockout punch for the Northerns girls in their province’s 5-4 victory.

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