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Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 - A Resounding Success!

The 2019 Belgotex Elite Club Challenge came, it saw, and it conquered in a superb and intense three days of high-quality hockey at Riverside Hockey Club. At the end of the tournament it was champagne for the women from Crusaders and the men from Riverside.

 Crusaders Ladies Champion

Crusaders, playing in their first Elite Club Challenge, set a record on the way to the title becoming the first team in the tournaments history to not concede a goal in the tournament. That resolute defence was built on the performances of Alex Kavanagh, Kara Botes and Erin Hunter playing ahead of the superb Mmatshepo Modipane in goal. Lisa Deetlefs was rightfully awarded the player of the tournament after inspiring her team consistently, while Sylvia van Jaarsveldt winning top goalscorer meant the Johannesburg team cleaned up during the awards.

Crusaders Ladies

National skipper Erin Hunter was glowing in her appreciation of the Belgotex Elite Club Challenge. “It really was great to be here and to play the top clubs in South Africa. It’s a massive bonus to have won it and we are really chuffed with that. Thanks to all the sponsors! We can’t wait to be back next year!”

Beaulieu were the other debutants to feature at this year’s tournament and did not disappoint. They play a lot of flair and have two hugely exciting prospects in Jesse Salo and Marvin Simons, while Julian Hykes proved once again how deadly he can be in front of goal. Although they finished fourth they will look back at their defeats against Wanderers and Riverside and know that they were merely minutes away from causing some massive upsets.

Alistair Fredericks, the Beaulieu Head Coach and former Olympian for South Africa, was full of praise for the tournament. “The Belgotex Elite Club Challenge is right up there in quality in terms of comraderies’, spirit and competitiveness. We are incredibly grateful to the sponsors and the organisers for having us here and we look forward to coming back in 2019 to try and win the trophy!”

Mark Hopkins proved to many watching why he was given the nod as South African Head Coach about 18 months ago as the Riverside tactics were spot on throughout. Their come from behind victory against Beaulieu was as superb as their defensive masterclass in the “final” against Wanderers. And if you were there you will know what I am talking about when I say Taylor Kelly-Stack should have been in England for the Cricket World Cup.

Mark Hopkins

Keagan Robinson, a South African Indoor player, once again put his hand up to be considered for the outdoor programme with a well-deserved player of tournament performance that was a massive part of his teams run to the final. I also felt that Miguel da Graca, for Wanderers, consistently shows you why there are calls for him to have earned more than his 50-odd caps for the country.

Wayne Phillips, the tournament director, shared his thoughts: “With having introduced the qualifiers this year, the event has taken another massive step up. It’s totally inclusive and competitive as all non-tertiary clubs can compete. The 2019 Belgotex Elite Club Challenge was nothing short of sensational and we can’t wait to have everyone back again next year. Thank you to all our sponsors and partners in helping us run the best club tournament in the country!”

Overall the Belgotex Elite Club Challenge has used 2019 to enhance its delivery, to grow the brand and most importantly to make the players the centre of tournament. There is nothing like it in South African hockey, long may it continue to grow!

Riverside Mens Champion

Written by: Jabu Barnard, Sports24Seven

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge {Day 3}

The Belgotex Elite Club Challenge Champions of 2019

The seventh Belgotex Elite Club Challenge came to a superb completion as the Crusaders women and the Riverside men were victorious in front of a fantastic crowd at Riverside Hockey Club on Saturday night.

The Crusaders had marched through their group stage with the type of domination that you associate with Barcelona or Real Madrid. They were strongly favoured against their Johannesburg neighbours Wanderers but would be weary of the rivalry factor biting as they sought their first Belgotex Elite Club Challenge.

Their expected domination fostered itself onto the pitch as Lilian du Plessis, Shevron Harrison and a brace from Sylvia van Jaarsveldt allowed that expected victory to manifest itself on the score sheet. 4-0 at full time meant that Crusaders had picked up their first Belgotex Elite Club Challenge to the delight of national skipper Erin Hunter and her team. It was the first time that a Belgotex Elite Club Challenge side had gone the whole tournament without conceding a goal, an incredible display of defensive awesomeness. 

Ladies Champion

The Men’s final group game between Wanderers and Riverside had worked out through the results as a virtual final. The hosts were the 2017 champions while the Wanderers were defending champions and ahead on the table before the game started, so a draw would be enough for them!

Riverside opened the scoring in the first half through Greg Last with a well taken penalty stroke and looked good value for the lead at the half time break. As the defending champions looked to get back in the game the Riverside men took the opportunity as a blistering counter attack was deflected home by the retreating Wanderers defence.

The Johannesburg boys refused to back down and created attack after attack to try and get back into the game. They met a wall of defence that would make Donald Trump proud as they struggled to break through the hosts armour. With five minutes to the end they finally got past Gowan Jones through the persistence of Tommy Hammond and the pestering of Brynn Cleak. The ending every tournament organiser dream of was presented as the crowd were on the edge of their seats!

In the final minute of the game Wanderers won a penalty corner. Were the stars aligning for their title defence? The pushout came and was stopped properly. Matty Brown fired in a blistering drag flick. The ball flew past the left shoulder of Gowan Jones like a Mercedes overtaking the backmarkers in F1. The ball was headed home. But Taylor Kelly-Stack had other ideas. The Riverside man standing on post produced a deflection that the Proteas could have used at the Cricket World Cup, denying Wanderers and settling the result. Riverside are the 2019 Champions.

Mens Champion

Earlier in the day the hosts Riverside kept their Belgotex Elite Club Challenge alive in one of the games of the tournament. Having trailed 2-0 to a Julian Hykes inspired Beaulieu Hockey Club, Mark Hopkins men surged back with Karl Oftebro and Kelly Taylor-Stack pulling level. They then went into a 4-2 lead with Ofterbro and Talin Fulton getting on the scoresheet. Beaulieu, who break with the ferocity of a pack of wild dogs, looked to bring parity into the game with Reza Rosenberg’s remarkable solo goal. But as they surged forward Riverside produced a remarkable goal of the tournament candidate. A sensational piece of play saw Greg Last pick up Oftebro who squared for Wigget to finish superbly!

Wanderers themselves had kept themselves in pole position with a solid 2-0-win Miguel da Graca and Ricky West showing experience in securing a table topping win for the Johannesburg Men and putting their first hand up to retain the trophy they won in 2018.

Old Eds themselves secured the third spot in this year’s tournament when they beat Western Province Cricket Club 3-1 in a highly entertaining early evening game. The result was hardly in doubt after a first half strike, but they were made to work incredibly hard by the spirited Cape side.

In the Women’s third place match Western Province Cricket Club ladies stormed back from a 2-1 deficit to Riverside to seal the bronze position with a 3-2 win. Romy Burger was the hero with the late strike after the earlier leveller was fired home by Lauren Penny.

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 – Day 3 Results (W)

3/4th Playoff – Riverside 2-3 Western Province Cricket Club
FINAL – Crusaders 4-0 Wanderers

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 – Day 3 Results (M)

Wanderers 2-0 Old Edwardians
Riverside 5-3 Beaulieu
Old Edwardians 3-1 Western Province Cricket Club
Wanderers 1-2 Riverside

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 – Final Standings (M)

  1. Riverside
  2. Wanderers
  3. Old Edwardians
  4. Beaulieu
  5. Western Province Cricket Club

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 – Top Goal scorer

(W) – Sylvia van Jaarsveld – Crusaders
(M) – Julian Hykes – Beaulieu

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 – Player of the tournament

(W) – Lisa Deetlefs – Crusaders
(M) – Keagan Robinson - Riverside

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 {Day 2}

Wanderers make their mark and it’s an all Johannesburg Women’s final

After the superb starter that was the Belgotex Elite Club Challenge opening day, looking at the fixtures for day 2 and picking the game you most wanted to watch was more as difficult as picking your meal at a David Higgs restaurant. Fortunately, you didn’t have to choose and like a buffet could get a little bit of everything.

Four morning games and four evening games allowed certain team to make their statements of intent while the crowd were being brilliantly entertained by MC Melody Miya, the Sherriff. In a titanic battle of flair vs. Structure it was Beaulieu who blinked first as Old Eds emerged victorious via a shootout after a 1-1 draw. Keenan Wax had opened the scoring for the debutants but Old Eds fought back with Berne Burger equalizing. As much as both sides tried to break the deadlock, Kriek in goals for Old Eds and Sizwe Mtembu in goals for Beaulieu were in control throughout.  Kriek got the last laugh as his save in the shootout secured the victory in the first Gauteng derby of the day.

Old Eds

It was a business-like performance from the Crusaders ladies as the two day one victors took each other on early on day 2. Crusaders will be heavily fancied in the tournament as on paper they have a squad with more national players than any of the other teams, but they knew the old mantra of games are not decided on paper. They were clinical in a 3-0 victory against Western Province Cricket Club.

Crusaders Ladies

The buffet of hockey continued as defending champions Wanderers opened their campaign with a bruising bonus point victory over Western Province Cricket Club. If any team had laid down a marker so far for the tournament, this was it as the Joburgers poured forward time after time creating opportunities with a regularity that would impress most die-hard hockey fans. Namibian star Brynn Cleak was pulling the strings like a puppet master with goals flying in with regular occurrence. With the game ending 8-1.

The last of the morning games and this course of the Belgotex Elite Club Challenge offered a redemption opportunity for Riverside and Wanderers after their opening day loss. The Johannesburgers were the team to fill their stomachs with the opportunity winning 2-0 and keeping alive their hopes of progress into the final tomorrow night.

After a short break like a sorbet between courses the teams were back in action for the evening session with the headline match being a Gauteng derby between Wanderers and Beaulieu in the men’s tournament and a virtual semi-final between Wanderers and Western Province Cricket Club.

Beaulieu looked to make a statement against Wanderers but were unable to put the cherry on top of a good performance being wasteful with their goal opportunities and a missed penalty stroke. Their 15 penalty corners either found resolute defence or missed chances. Wanderers are not a team you want to give too many opportunities too because the likes of Tommy Hammond and Miguel da Graca don’t need a second invitation. It was Hammond on this occasion that fired home a bullet that ultimately proved to be the match winning goal in a 2-1 win for the table topping defending champions.

Riverside kept alive their tournaments hopes by winning a more tepid encounter than may have been expected initially but set themselves up for a shot at the title with a 2-0 win over Western Province Cricket Club. Mark Hopkins, the former South African Men’s Coach, will be happy that Riverside got the job done, but will know they have two mammoth games tomorrow if they are to regain the trophy they won in 2017.

As that game headed towards its completion the heavens opened as Durban produced what only Durban can produce in a mist-like rain that enveloped the Riverside turfs. That drizzle may have doused the fire in the Nando’s truck, but it could not douse the Wanderers ladies performance as they secured their place in the final with a nail biting 2-0 win over Western Province Cricket Club. The match went down to the wire and only a late penalty corner goal when WPCC had withdrawn their keeper sealed the gold medal match spot for the defending champions.

The night closed with what had been billed as the game to look forward to, but ultimately was a dead rubber as the Crusaders weathered the slight technical delay to overcome the hosts Riverside to complete a 100% group stage for Robin van Ginkel’s team. The were spurred on by Lilian du Plessis, who is in some superb form, while the likes of Lisa Deetlifs and Sylvia van Jaarsveldt are constantly making magic happen.

With our bellies full after the first two days of the feast of hockey at the 2019 Belgotex Elite Club Challenge, its our hearts that will fill with the final day of action. Who will be the 2019 champions and join the prestigious honours board? All will be revealed in tomorrows action!

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 – Day 2 Results (M)

Crusaders 3-0 Western Province Cricket Club
Riverside 0-2 Wanderers
Wanderers 2-0 Western Province Cricket Club
Riverside 0-3 Crusaders

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 – Day 2 Results (M)

Old Edwardians *1-1 Beaulieu
Western Province Cricket 1-8 Wanderers
Beaulieu 1-2 Wanderers
Riverside 2-0 Western Province Cricket Club

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 – Day 3 Fixtures

09:00 – Wanderers vs. Old Edwardians (M)
10:45 – Riverside vs. Beaulieu (M)
15:15 – Riverside vs. Western Province Cricket Club (W)
17:00 – Old Edwardians vs. Western Province Cricket Club (M)
18:45 – FINAL – Crusaders vs. Wanderers (W)
20:00 – Riverside vs. Wanderers

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge {Day 1}

BECC 20109 | Beaulieu Brilliant, but Riverside and Old Eds steal the show

The seventh edition of the premier club tournament in South Africa, the Belgotex Elite Club Challenge at the Riverside Hockey Club, got underway with a seven-goal thriller between Beaulieu and Western Province Cricket Club. Beaulieu, who won their way into the tournament at the qualifiers in Johannesburg earlier this year, were taking part in their first tournament and opened against previous winners Cricket Club. Both teams served up a starter that would whet the appetite for the remaining tournament.

It was Marvin Simons, recently drafter to the Premier Hockey League, got the scoring underway for this year’s competition with a finish that belies his young years to give the debutants an early lead. Although they were finding Matthew Becker in good form in the Cape sides goal, Beaulieu threatened regularly through Julian Hykes, Gerald Mpopo and Reza Rosenberg. Against the run of play though the Belgotex Elite Club Challenge regulars pulled level with Dylan Thorburn finishing his chance superbly well. But the parity was short lived as a Beaulieu double through Julian Hykes from a penalty corner and Simons from a field goal made it 3-1 at the break.

The second half saw Beaulieu stretch their dominance as their questions were unanswered by the Province. Mpopo got himself on the scoresheet before he earned a green birthday card and a short rest on the bench. The misery was compounded though as the recently retired International star Hykes made it 5-1. There was time for a late consolation goal for nationally capped Ryan Crowe to end the first game 5-2 in favour of Beaulieu. A superb symbolic seven goals opening the seventh edition of one of the Belgotex Elite Club Challenge.

If the men’s tournament opened with a bang the ladies started with a more slightly reserved applause as the hosts Riverside took on Western Province Cricket Club. The Western Cape ladies were looking to start the tournament on a better footing than their male counterparts and did exactly that in a measured performance against the hosts and 2017 winners. This is a very different side from that championship side and Province were truly in control after taking the lead in the 12th minute. Gillian Barbour opened the scoring for the Cricket Club and it was extended when Lauren Penny netted a penalty stroke in the 47th minute.

A late penalty corner strike from Alex Robinson gave Riverside a glimmer of hope and as they poured forward to create opportunities they left gaps at the back which led to a Cricket Club penalty corner which was converted by Gina Sole to settle the match and give the Cape side the full four points.

The Crusaders featuring a host of players that featured for South Africa at the FIH Hockey series Final in Spain including skipper Erin Hunter and star defender Kara Botes. On paper they were the heavily favoured to open their tournament with victory over their neighbours Wanderers. Although they opened the scoring through Shevron Harrison in the 22nd minute, they had to wait until the 55th minute before the game was save. Lisa Deetlefs produced a trademark finish from the penalty corner to fire past Sanani Mangisa and make it 2-0.

A late third goal for the Crusaders through Sylvia van Jaarsveldt settled the result with a solid 3-0 win. The Wanderers ladies will be disappointed with the score line but pleased with large parts of their performance in a tough opening encounter.

If you were hoping that the opening day saved the best for last, your hopes would be satisfied as Riverside and Old Eds produced one of the finest games of club hockey you will ever see. A pulsating end-to-end classic that offered excitement, despair, joy and disappointment in equal measure.

The two sides stood up, faced off and looked to embody the spirit of heavy weight boxers as they slugged each other back and forward. It was thrilling and enjoyable to watch and ultimately a great advert for the club hockey game in South Africa.

Old Eds landed the first punch through Thabang Dikgale before Riverside landed an uppercut of their own in levelling through Karl Oftebro. With the score locked at 1-1 at half time, with some superb umpiring helping the flow, the two teams raised the tempo quicker than the minister of finance raises sin tax every year.

Day One

On the hooter for the end of the third quarter Dylan Swanepoel showed why he has been capped for South Africa with a superb PC to give Old Eds the lead again. Riverside fought back, and Taylor Kelly-Stack restored parity for a second time. David Leigh, who is the highest ranked player on the Old Ed’s Instagram page designed by David Leigh, converted with just four minutes remaining to justify his rating and to look like the points would be safe. But Riverside had other ideas.

Steve Wigget won the ball in his own D and launched a counter attack that landed at Taine Paton. Paton, who has just been called up to the SA Hockey Men’s squad produced a superb pass and Mondli Dlamini, wearing shirt 122 made sure he took the opportunity superbly sending the home crowd into delightful cheers. There was still a chance for Old Eds to win it though but good work by Taine Paton meant Ross Forbes fired wide.

With both sides securing two points for a draw, the two teams would play out a shootout to decide the extra point, which could be pivotal in a round robin tournament. Ultimately it was the cool calm head of Keagan Robinson that would settle the game and the 3rd point for Riverside in their quest to reclaim the title they won in 2017.

Day one of action produced an average of five goals a game with the defending men’s champions Wanderers yet to open their campaign. The Belgotex Elite Club Challenge promises a second day of sensational action, goals and excitement. All at the Riverside Hockey Club.

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 – Day 1 Results (M)

Beaulieu 5-2 Western Province Cricket Club
Riverside *3-3 Old Eds

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 – Day 1 Results (W)

Riverside 1-3 Western Province Cricket Club
Crusaders 3-0 Wanderers

Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2019 – Day 2 Fixtures

09:15 – Old Edwardians vs. Beaulieu (M)
09:45 – Crusaders vs. Western Province Cricket Club (W)
11:00 - Western Province Cricket Club vs. Wanderers (M)
12:45 – Riverside vs. Wanderers (W)
17:15 – Beaulieu vs. Wanderers (M)
18:45 – Riverside vs. Western Province Cricket Club (M)
18:45 – Wanderers vs. Western Province Cricket Club (W)
20:30 – Riverside vs. Crusaders (W)


Perfect pitch at the Belgotex Fairmont Easter Tournament

In March this year, Belgotex was proud to come on board as the Title Sponsor of the Belgotex Fairmont Easter Tournament. The primary focus of this event was to showcase the talent of up and coming players across 48 different teams through a competitive co-ed high school tournament. It was an exciting few days for all involved... with a perfect pitch, great support and an abundance of sporting talent, the tournament was a resounding success.

We all know the importance of sport in our schools and greater communities...  it helps to build stronger, healthier, happier individuals, as well as creating a safe space where people can come together and connect as a community. Hockey is one such sport which provides this kind of platform, and Belgotex is proud to be helping to lay the foundations for the growth of this fantastic team sport. We, at Belgotex, look forward to helping set the stage for many more such tournaments into the future. 


Belgotex Sport - Proud Sponsors of the Belgotex Elite Club Challenge 2018/2019

Battling it out at the BECC

While this festive tournament has been going for a few years, 2019 marks the first year where all clubs are required to qualify for participation in The Belgotex Elite Club Challenge Qualifiers. In previous years, the event was by invitation only. But in the spirit of healthy competition and inclusiveness, clubs gathered between 1 - 4 May to fight it out for a place in this renowned event. 

The spirit at The Wanderers Club was fantastic, fuelled by the many supporters that flocked to watch the nation's top hockey players battle it out on perfect pitches for a place in the finals, which takes place at Riverside Hockey Club. As the largest manufacturer of sports turf in South Africa, engendering a love for sport at school and club level is something that lies very close to our hearts. We look forward to being involved in the growth of this wonderful team sport over the next few years.