BECC 2023 | A Golden Final Day Awaits
The pool stage of the 2023 Belgotex Elite Club Challenge is out the way with all eyes turning towards the finals to be played on Saturday evening at Riverside Sports Club. And while we may be looking forward to the finals let us look back at how each of the four finalists secured their spot in the final on Day 2.
Women’s Pool A - Riverside
Riverside had earned a solid but not spectacular 2-0 victory in their opening game which gave them the upper hand. They knew they held the cards as they aimed to defend their title.
They took on a Crusaders team littered with quality and experience who had failed to impress in their morning fixture against Phoenix.
Nomnikelo Veto opened the scoring for Crusaders who were desperate to add the attacking product to their game. But Ruby Kraus flipped the game on its head for the hosts as she struck twice to give a 2-1 lead at the first interval. They would have to wait 40 minutes before Kraus finished her hat-trick to establish an unassailable lead.A late Bernie Coston goal set up a grand stand finish, but Riverside held on to secure a spot in the final once again.
Women’s Pool B – WPCC Beavers
Having opened their tournament with a come-from-behind victory over Wanderers their task was simple enough. Avoid defeat against Kearsney and qualify for the final and a chance to finally lift the title that had evaded them for so long.
The Beavers couldn’t have asked for a better start netting through Nicole Koenig as early as the 2nd minute. That goal may have given the impression that the Cape Town ladies would romp to a victory, but Kearsney showed a tremendous rearguard, led by Karen Bowyer and pulled level through Malikah Hamza in the second quarter.
Despite great efforts from Kearsney Andrea Leader and Erin Coetzee stretched the lead before Rebecca Kaps and Brady Wiseman added two more after Hannah Shirley had pulled one back with the best drag flick of the tournament. The 5-2 result mirrored their game yesterday and they now meat the hosts in the final.
Men’s Pool A – Riverside Rapids
The Riverside Rapids took the hard route to the final. On the opening day they needed a shootout to secure victory against Morningside. This morning they played out a cracking game against PHBOBS in which they trailed 1-0 (Matthew Davies scored) before leading 2-1 thanks to Shaun Baker and Veeshan Govender. Unfortunately for the hosts they found themselves trailing again after a Devin Allen brace, but Mitchell Jagga levelled matters sending the game to a shootout. For the second time in just over 12 hours Riverside bagged the bonus point setting up a grand stand finish against Beaulieu.
The defending champions were dismissive of the challenge when they saw off Morningside 5-0 in the morning game and were heavily favoured to win the evening showdown. And despite Riverside taking the lead through a Darryl Lotter goal, expectancy raised for Beaulieu when Dalpiarro Langford restored parity. But Jonty Robinson was the hero netting twice to secure a spot in the final for the hosts at the expense of Beaulieu.
Men’s Pool B – Central
Tournament new-comers Central had quickly grasped the title as favourites and run with it. An all-star clash with WPCC saw them pull out a brilliant performance to win 4-2. It was a much harder slog in this morning’s game against Kearsney with Connor Beauchamp scoring the only goal of the game as the Hounds put up an incredible defensive display.
The result meant that Central would face Wanderers needing only a one goal defeat to progress to the final. They instead produced a ransacking performance to seal a massive 7-2 victory and make themselves the out right favourites for the final. South African captain Dayaan Cassiem netted a hat-trick while further goals were added by Connor Beauchamp, Carlon Mentoor, Daniel Buyns and Corben O’Ryan. Wanderers scored a great goal through Cody van Wyk and the game’s final goal in Max Pike, but they were truly outclassed on the day by very good Central side.