The Maties Men’s hockey side were true to form as they secured a 5-1 victory over Wits Men in the opening match of the Varsity Hockey tournament on Saturday.
The Wits side, playing on their home ground, had anticipated a tough match against the team from Stellenbosch, seen as their toughest competitors.
Two minutes into the first chukka, Maties earned themselves a short corner which was quickly deflected by Wits defence line.
Maties keeping Wits inside their half of the court regained the ball as they attempted another denied goal which resulted in another short corner.
The second short corner looked promising as Maties’ Shannon Boucher gained a rebound from Keenan Horne.
After a failed short corner by Wits, Barry Morisse managed to shoot a clean shot after a brave dribble inside the Maties’ D (the shooting arc), with only just two minutes left of the first chukka.
Maties then equalised with a well executed goal. With just a minute left, Wits’ Brian Rowe attempted a brave shot which went over the goal post, leaving the first chukka score at 1-1.
Wasting no time in the fast paced match, Maties regained the ball quickly after Wits threw a wide overhead in the second half.
What seemed like a failed short corner as Maties’ Shannon Boucher’s drag got deflected, Rob Edwards gave Maties a 2-1 lead as he slapped the ball into the goal post from the top D nine minutes into the 2nd chukka.
Wits fell short as a well executed dribble from Stuart Philip to Michael Daniel who slapped a strong pass towards the top D was received by no one, making Wits fall behind.
In the last chukka, Wits came back with much needed determination to score as Brandon Downes beautifully swept the ball to Craig Daniel who executed a meticulous dribble to James Daniel, witnessing a deflected goal attempt coming from James Daniel which made Wits supporters cringe.
Maties’ Jordan Turnbull scored the 3rd goal and was rewarded as the man of the match. The last dying seconds of the last chukka saw Maties score 2 goals, making the final score 5-1 over Wits.
Applauding his team’s hardwork, Wits Men’s coach, Mark Sanders said: “We played very well. I think that Maties were a little bit surprised by us going up one null and they had to fight a little bit harder and not a walk in the park as they had expected. We can take a lot of positives from this.”
“Definitely we can improve on the marking, a little bit tighter. I think we gave away some easy goals from the marking. We just need to step it up I mean we had good chances to score we just needed to be a little bit more clinical in the last 25,” Sanders said.
The second round will see Wits take on NMMU (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University).