Wits takes sixth in varsity hockey

In the play-offs yesterday, Wits hockey lost to Pukke leaving themselves and the small audience disappointed. But the team was chuffed to take sixth place in the varsity hockey tournament.

Final invite

FIELD GOAL: Wits hockey’s bench watch the game in suspense as their teammates attempt to fend-off Pukke’s centre forward. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Wits hockey team finished the varsity hockey tournament on a low yesterday when they lost round eight’s play-offs against Potchefstroom University (Pukke) 0-2 on the Wits astro turf.

The match started off badly for Wits after Pukke’s number 12, Stephanie Baxter scored a field goal within the first two minutes of the game.

The first three quarters of the game was intense and quick with a back and forth banter after Pukke’s first goal. But after Pukke scored their second goal in the beginning of the last quarter, Wits hopes seemed to have crumbled as their play started to slow down.

“We are a bit disappointed after this game, but we are happy with achieving sixth in the tournament, which was our goal,” said Wits’ captain Wendy Panaino.

Pukke went into the game with a great defensive tactics and put pressure on Wits’ weakness to convert opportunities. Wits’ centre forward struggled to keep the ball and execute goals.

Pukke hockey coach, Elun Hack believes his team’s defence was strong “but the offence let us down because they didn’t stay composed inside the 23.”

According to Wits hockey coach, Pietie Coetzee, her team’s energy was low and they didn’t accomplish what they planned for the game, but they exceeded everyone’s expectations in the tournament.

“Our weakness lies in that we are a young, inexperienced team, although there is unity and a fighting spirit amongst the girls,” said Coetzee.

Wits faced Pukke in round five last Friday and walked away with a 3-2 win. The tables turned yesterday and Pukke grabbed fifth place in the tournament.

Both teams saw the Varsity Hockey tournament as preparation for the University Sport South Africa National Institutional Hockey Championship end of June, which will be hosted in Pietermaritzburg by the University of KwaZulu Natal.

HOCKEY: Wits hockey show signs of improvement

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

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.


Wits Hockey equalise in the last seconds against Madibaz

Madibaz (NMMU) in blue and Wits in yellow in focus during their Varsity Hockey tournament match on Wits turf yesterday afternoon. Photo: Tendai Dube

Madibaz (NMMU) in blue and Wits in yellow in focus during their Varsity Hockey tournament match on Wits turf yesterday afternoon.       Photo: Tendai Dube

In a foul-filled and frustrating game, Wits University drew one all Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in the Varsity Hockey tournament at home yesterday.

NMMU, or the Madibaz, held a 1-0 advantage up until the last seventeen seconds of the game when Wits netted a goal to level the game.

The first chukka of the game was filled with fouls and green cards instead of goals with NMMU’s Chad Cairncross of the Madibaz getting the first warning within the two minutes off the turf.

Craig Daniel made the first real goal attempt for the Witsies that ended up just high of the post and the team found themselves with two fouls from both Matthew Povall and Michael Daniel before the first third was over.

The Madibaz found some luck in the last two minutes of the first third, when a Witsies’ foul resulted in a penalty. Madibaz Steven Dent then made short work of it, putting the score at 1 – 0 to the NMMU boys.

The second chukka began with a power play for the Madibaz but the boys failed to take advantage of the opportunity when Shawn Pautz was given a green card, soon after Wits captain and goalie, Cole Zondagh had received one too.

Madibaz (NMMU) in blue and Wits in yellow in focus during their Varsity Hockey tournament match on Wits turf yesterday afternoon. Photo: Tendai Dube

Madibaz (NMMU) in blue and Wits in yellow in focus during their Varsity Hockey tournament match on Wits turf yesterday afternoon. Photo: Tendai Dube

Brandon Downes was served with a yellow card, leaving him on the sidelines for the rest of the match.

“A tense game, playing guys who are quicker than us, sometimes we slip and make bad decisions, its just moving on. We played with ten players three times today and we didn’t concede when we had a player off and that’s all that matters,” said Wits captain Zondagh regarding the numerous fouls.

The Wits goal in those few seconds drew the score, 1 – 1 and had the home fans cheering in surprise.

“They were naught one down the whole event until about seconds before the final and they scored and came back, I tell you I have goosebumps, I’m proud of my team,” said Erika Venter, sports officer for Wits Hockey.

“I really feel like we did play really well, we just didn’t take our opportunities when they were given to us, we should have won the game but the boys really did put in an effort and I’m really proud of them,” said Jessica Dignon, manager and conditioner for the Wits hockey boys.

Zondagh won the super saver title for the second time in just as many days and Ignatius Malgraff from the Madibaz was named man of the match.

Wits will be playing against University of Cape Town (UCT) tonight at 18:45.

HOCKEY: Wits Men suffer 5-1 loss to Maties in first match of varsity tournament


FIRST ROUND: The dying seconds of the last chukka saw Maties Men’s hockey side net in 2 goals which added to the 5-1 victory over the Wits Men’s hockey side. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

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.

Dribble away

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).



Wits optimistic of success in varsity hockey tournament

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

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.