The 2019 South African Hockey Senior Interprovincial tournament got underway at the University of Free State in Bloemfontein yesterday.
It runs until Thursday next week.
With South African sides doing well at the African Hockey Road to Tokyo 2020 event, there is a great deal of momentum going into the tournament. Players who are trying to impress the national coaches will be looking at this as a major opportunity while others will look to cement their spots.
In the Men’s A Section all eyes will be on defending champions the KZN Raiders who are without their 2018 gold medal coach Sihle Ntuli. Their two goal scorers in last year’s final are also unavailable this time around.
KZN Raiders have several national players in Jethro Eustice, Jonty Robinson, Matt de Sousa, Taine Paton, Mo Mea, Siya Nolutshungu, and Gowan Jones. They are joined in Pool A by the Northern Blues and both Western Province sides with some tantalising matchups.
Pool B of the A Section is headed by last year’s runners-up, Southern Gauteng, an incredibly star-studded side.
South African Men’s hero Nic Spooner will be looking to add to his goal tally from last year’s final.
Colin Fielding’s side is littered with big names including Rassie Pieterse, Brynn Cleak, Gareth Heynes, and Owen Mvimbi to name but a few. They will take on the SA U21 side, their “B” side Witsies, and Eastern Province.
In the Women’s A Section defending champions Southern Gauteng will once again be heavily favoured. The squad that has been announced features 10 capped outdoor players, including 2019 Premier Hockey League player of the tournament Lisa Deetlefs.
They also feature a host of players that won the SA Women’s Indoor IPT earlier this year. They are joined in Group A by SA U21, Northern Blues and Eastern Province.
Last year’s runners up, Western Province, seek to go one step further this year and will be looking up to Jade Mayne to continue with her fine form shown in the Premier Hockey League.
Having Dirkie Chamberlain in their numbers is a great addition to the team from last year, while the likes of Andrea Leader, Stephanie Botha and Angela Welham will be expected to do duty for the Cape side.
They are grouped in pool B alongside hosts Free State, SPAR KZN Raiders and North West.
Eight teams will play out the Men’s B Section tournament while 10 will be looking to win the women’s B section and gain promotion to the A Section.
The A section matches will be streamed live free on the Shoott South Africa Facebook pages.