EP women have a tough opener

TARGETING a spot in the top four, Eastern Province women's hockey coach Anton Peltenburg knows there will be no room for errors when the SA interprovincial begins at the KC March astro on Tuesday.

The host province open their campaign against champions Southerns and Peltenburg could not have asked for a better test of their credentials early in the tournament.

For many years, Southerns have been one of the powerhouses of South African hockey and they will not want to slip at the first hurdle.

EP, on the other hand, know that a strong performance against Southerns would set them up well for the week. They will be banking on strong home support.

Reflecting on the tournament, Peltenburg said: "Our aim is to finish in the top four. We have prepared as best we can, hopefully we have the BMT [big match temperament] to beat the stronger provinces in our pool.

"Our first game is against Southern Gauteng and we have to make sure we start well."

The overriding factor in Peltenburg's strategy will be that there are only three pool matches and even one slip could prove disastrous.

Each pool will comprise four teams, with a round-robin format on the first three days, followed by the play-offs next Friday and Saturday.

While their preparations have gone as well as they could, Peltenburg is hoping a good finish this year will provide greater leverage for the future in terms of sponsorship.

"We had the same hiccups as previous years regarding funding," he said. "We need to try and find some more sponsorship or revenue to try and make the cost of tournaments affordable through the age-groups."

It will be a busy week at the KC March astro, with the B team interprovincial also taking place next week. Play will start at 8am and finish around 9.30pm.

EP Settlers will compete in the B IPT, with their pool matches being played at 8pm each evening.

The pools are:

A section, pool A: Southerns, North West, EP, Border; pool B: WP, Northerns Blues, Free State, KZN Raiders

B section, pool A: Wits, SACD A, Southern Cape, EP Settlers; pool B: KZN Mynahs, KZN Inland, Mpumalanga, SACD B

Tuesday's fixtures are (at KC March unless stated):

Section A: 8am: KZN Inland v SACD B; 10am: Mynahs v Mpumalanga; 12.00: Northerns Blues v KZN Raiders; 2pm: WP v Free State, Wits v SACD A at Westering High; 4pm: North West v Border, 6pm: Southerns v EP; 8pm: EP Settlers v S Cape

ýThe EP team is: Michelle Cremer, Roxy Mould, Tina Hokwana, Catherine Vaghi, Kelly Dorothy, Nicole Kemp, Lindsey van Niekerk, Liesel Dorothy, Stacey Middleton, Kim Erasmus, Samantha Badman, Toni Marx, Elan van Vught, Zimitrie Meyer, Christine Dorwood, Tammy Meyer.

The Settlers team is: Angela Sanderson, Anja van Eeden, Bridgette Kohne, Cassie Lister, Catherine Meier, Donay O'Reilly, Gillian Forbes, Keisha Arnolds, Leshae Kops, Lousie Pretorius, Magie Young, Nicole December, Razaana Ajam, Sadie Niekerk, Shona Niekerk, Theresa Gerber.