IMPROVING: Wits hockey team has a team talk over one of their short penalties which they failed to convert in their game against UCT. Photo : Luca Kotton
Wits hockey are second last on the Varsity Hockey log, after two bonus points and a draw in this weekends’ fixtures in Bloemfontein left them just two points above Rhodes University.
The first game on Saturday was against the home side, University of the Freestate (UFS), who started with a flurry of goals. Wits found themselves 4-0 down after 25 minutes but somehow managed to salvage a bonus point with a great second and third chukka display. Wits spirited performance left the game ending 6-4 to UFS in a high scoring game.
Barry Morisse, Wits link said,” We really didn’t have a good game but lots of positives to take forward- to grab a bonus point after being 4-0 was a great effort. Lots of hard work to do still though. ”
The crucial clash for Wits came against Rhodes, who had also only accomplished one draw up to that point in the fixture list. The match ended in a 1-1 draw after Rhodes led the match.
Matthew Povall, Wits half said, “It was a game we really should have won. We had many chances but never converted.”
The last game of the second leg of the tournament, hosted by UFS saw Wits play University of Pretoria in their final game, late on Monday afternoon. Wits narrowly missed out, 3-2 to the second placed Pretoria team but managed to salvage another bonus point.
Wits hockey coach, Mark Sanders, after picking up four valuable points this weekend said,”It’s been a tough weekend but the improvement from last weekend is good. We’ve created more chances but failed to convert a lot. Defensively we grown and stepped up to show that we can carry out simple instructions and follow the plan.”
Wits last group game will be against University of Johannesburg, the host team, on May 17 before the playoffs take place the same weekend.
READY FOR ACTION: Number seven,Jaryd Povall and his Brother,number six, stand in front of coach, Mark Sanders.
THE NUMBERS three to seven add a unique aspect to the Wits hockey club.
The men’s hockey squad includes brothers, Jaryd and Matthew Povall and three brothers, James, Craig and Michael Daniels. Between them, they hold three to seven of the 21 jersey numbers in the team.
Do the brothers come as a package, or is it a coincidence that all the brothers were picked for the squad? Wits Hockey coach Mark Sanders says, “They’re all good enough. That is the only coincidence.”
Interview with the two sets of brothers
Wits Vuvuzela spoke to the two sets of brothers and, perhaps naturally, found some rivalry between the sibling groups.“There are only two of us Povalls, so at least we don’t need a team bus to travel to
games and training,“ says Matthew. The Daniels brothers respond with laughter, and Craig adds, “Yes, two’s a company, threes a party.”
The Daniels brothers say it doesn’t matter to them that the Povalls are brothers. They are simply two team members, the same as everyone else in the squad. The Povalls say the three brothers are dynamic, hardworking and bring good energy to the team.
Commenting on the Povalls, Craig Daniels said, “They are brothers too, so sharing that experience of playing with someone that is so close to you is always special – especially at the level we are playing…Them being
brothers just contributes to how well they know each other on and off the park, which helps.”
All the brothers believe that being siblings and playing as team mates brings a different feeling to a team. The Daniels brothers stick up for each other, but also realise each of them can stand up for themselves. They are brothers and team mates on and off the field.
Since people were asking about the Daniels brothers on Twitter, Wits Vuvuzela posed the question: which set of brothers do they believe is more appealing to the ladies. “Definitely the Daniels’…We’re a lot more fun,” says Craig with a wink.
Another player, John Tatham, also has two brothers who play hockey, and if they were part of the team, it would be even more of a family affair.
Varsity hockey tournament
The Wits hockey team will be looking to improve on this past weekend’s performances, which saw them get only one point from three games. They will play the second leg of the Varsity hockey tournament this coming weekend in Bloemfontein against Kovsies, Rhodes and Tuks.
The Wits Hockey Club are looking to do well in this year’s varsity hockey tournament, with the first leg starting on home turf tomorrow.
The tournament sees eight varsity teams competing in three rounds of fixtures in the Wits University set of matches before they move on to the next tournament.
PASSIONATE COACH: Mark Sanders,Wits men’s hockey coach, shows his player, Matthew Povall a trick or two. Photo: Luca Kotton
Wits hockey coach, Marc Sanders, is optimistic of his team’s chances at the tournament. He believes the key to success is a solid start. He hopes Wits will finish in the top four of the competition.
Sanders, speaking to his team in practice, says, “I like my team to train like they’re in second place and play like we are in first place.”
Wits’ first game is against Maties (Stellenbosch University) on Saturday afternoon, a team that Sanders considers Wits’ toughest opponents.
The next two matches will be against Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University on Sunday at 12h45 and the televised game on Monday will be against the University of Cape Town at 18h45.