Elite Encounters: Epic Endings and Electrifying Moments

Elite Encounters: Epic Endings and Electrifying Moments

4 Jul

6 Jul

Outdoor Hockey

Elite Encounters: Epic Endings and Electrifying Moments

The Belgotex Elite Club challenge comes at you faster than Cheslin Kolbe on a counterattack, and there is no time to rest in the quest for glory. Following opening day battles and bruises, the teams had a double-header day, creating a feast of hockey that threatened to rival any banquet you might experience on a luxury cruise ship.

The probable identity of the first finalist was revealed in the opening game of the day when day one victors, Central Hockey Club and Beaulieu, clashed to decide who would make it two out of two. It was a pulsating battle worth every second of the early wake-up call. Central led 2-1 through Mustapha Cassiem and Reuben Sendzul, with Tumi Ramphele scoring for Beaulieu. Sendzul completed his second tournament hat-trick, and Dayaan Cassiem got in on the action, making it 5-1 to the defending champions. Beaulieu showed their trademark resilience, pulling goals back consistently with Dikgale and Langford starring for the men in white. But for every move they made, Central countered with precision, ultimately sealing a 7-5 win and knowing they had one foot in the final.

They didn’t just put the second foot into the final; they dived headfirst like a bush dive after an entertaining night out. Dayaan Cassiem netted four, thrilling South African fans ahead of the Olympic Games, as Central pulverized Wanderers 8-2, securing their place in the second consecutive Elite Club Challenge final.

Pool B would also see a decider, but that would come in the final game of the night. Before we got there, both opening day victors (WPCC and Riverside) needed to follow up their opening day victory with their second obligation. Both did exactly that, with Riverside and WPCC victorious by scores of 4-0 against PHSOB and 6-0 against MCC respectively. This meant that when the two locked horns, there would be enough tension to make Dricus du Plessis and Israel Adesanya take notice.

The game didn’t lack mettle, fight, or heat. Matt de Sousa was in imperious form for the Badgers, and his team was superb in their fight, winning 2-0 with Cameron Ryan getting the final goal. The victory consigned the hosts to the third-place game, while WPCC would have the opportunity to emulate their 2015 counterparts. A Western Cape final will decide who is top dog in the Cape.

In the women's tournament, there is only one perfect team that remains standing, and that team is the 2019 winners, Crusaders. They have secured a place in the final after two fantastic victories on day two complimented their opening day victory.

A tough battle was expected against Riverside for the visitors, but once again Sylvia van Jaarsveldt, who has been selected for the SA Masters team for the World Cup, showed that there are plenty of miles in the legs still with a brilliant double strike. SA Legend Lilian du Plessis gave the hosts hope, but van Jaarsveldt and Kavanagh put it away with the brilliance of a magician pulling off the ultimate illusion, leaving them on the brink of the final.

They secured that place when they ran into a 5-0 lead against Beaulieu despite a late scare as Beaulieu scored three unanswered goals. But the job was done and the chance to end 5 years of waiting is there.

They would probably have expected to be meeting defending champions WPCC in the final. But the defending champions have relinquished their crown. Despite a victory on day one both their games on day two ended in draws which saw them not do enough to secure a spot in the final. They earlier drew to Phoenix 2-2, in a game in which they snatched a last-minute equalizer through Brady Wiseman, before a 1-1 draw with Wanderers ended their chances of Progress.

For Phoenix, much like the mythical bird they are named after, their rise in the tournament was crowned with a first ever final secured. After the earlier draw against WPCC they smashed a Kriekie van Wyk and Izelle Cillers inspired 4-0 victory over PHSOB. Their attacking threat and defensive counter punch reminds you of the likes of Carlos Alcaraz in that you just don’t know where they will be beaten.

It’s a mouthwatering final that awaits as the Gauteng based sides will decide which part of the province the trophy goes home to. Will we have a first-time winner or will it be a second victory five years in the waiting.

All the action on final day is live on SuperSport as well as on the SuperSport Schools app.

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