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Varsity Cup Tournament

There was huge excitement in the NMMU Madibaz Woman's camp with the announcement of the inaugural Varsity Cup (VC) Tournament. The VC tournament would allow many of our players to showcase their talent on national television and it was a great advert for Madibaz Hockey and hockey in general in our country.

Squad

The rules of the tournament enabled us to select 18 players to play per weekend. The squad would comprise of 24 players. The squad was as follows: 

Results

 

Week 1:

The first weekend of VC would take place in Potchefstroom. Our first weekend would be a big test for our ladies as we were scheduled to come up against the likes of Kovsies, Pukke and Wits. The first two games would be important for us in terms of ascertaining the standard of the tournament, and get some points on the board. Kovsies and Pukke are powerhouse teams so it was an awesome opportunity for our ladies to test their skills against the best in the country. The results for the first weekend did not go as planned. We only managed a win against Wits, and made the game a lot tighter than what it should have been. Keisha Arnolds scored two cracking short corners in the 1st chucker. Please see the results below.

Game 1: NMMU vs. Kovsies

Lost 0-4

The ladies conceded three soft goals in the first chucker and could not manage to get attack with purpose. We managed to create more chances in the second chucker but were unable to convert the pressure into goals. We thus conceded a fourth goal in the final chucker.

Game 2: NMMU vs. Pukke

Lost 1-5

We again conceded an early goal in the first chucker. We equalised and had an excellent chance to make it 2-1 however we missed the chances we had. Pukke came out stronger in the 2nd and third chucker to run away victors 5-1. I feel the girls ran out of steam in the last chucker and the game became stretched, which helped Pukke exploit the poor marking in our 25 yard area.

Game 3:

NMMU vs. Wits Won 2-1

Keisha Arnolds scored two early goals for us from PC’s we obtained from our constant pressure. We did not manage to score more goals and convert the easy opportunities we had. Wits hit back with a straight hit from a PC and we just managed to hang on for our first points in VC. I feel we should have obtained a bonus point from this game by scoring more than four goals in the game.

Week 2:

After the first weeks performance I was looking for a much improved performance as we had 2 key players back in the squad. This weekend we would play against UJ, Maties and UCT. All the games would take place at UJ hockey facility. Since we have beaten UCT and UJ in the past we were confident to obtain at least 4 points this weekend. We ended up losing all our games. I was not impressed with our performance since we were continuing to make the same errors over and over.

Game 4:

NMMU vs. UJ Lost 0-4

We were all confident before the game since we have beaten UJ last year at our annual SASSU tournament. The game started with the worst possible start when we conceded a goal within the first 2min of the game. We conceded an own goal in the most bazaar fashion with the new own goal rule brought in this year by FIH. It was very frustrating to concede a goal of this nature. We quickly found ourselves 3-0 down in the first chucker. It was nearly impossible to come back from our poor performance in the first chucker. We played better in the 2nd and 3rd chucker but it was a case of a little too late.

Game 5:  NMMU vs. Maties

Lost 0-7

It seemed to be a behaviour of the team to start off slowly and concede soft goals. The ladies don’t seem to adhere to simple rules on the park like marking and tracking players in the 25yard area. We did not compete at all and were completely beaten by a better team however I was not happy that we made it seem to easier for them to beat us.

Game 6:  NMMU vs. UCT

Lost 0-3

This was one of the games the team targeted to obtain points from. We have beaten UCT before and the team was confident that we could pull it off. Once again no different to our previous games we conceded goals in the 1st chucker. This became like a sickness that killed us before the 2nd and 3rd chucker started. We lost 0-3 in the end and I was very disappointed as the game plan was not adhered to.

Week 3:

The finale weekend of VC would come to an end in Pretoria at TUKS University. We had to play the home team and based on our poor performances we would play for 7/8 position on Monday evening.

Game 7: NMMU vs Tuks

Lost 0-3

Even though we lost the game I was happy with some aspects of the game. The team had finally listened and we looked to be improving. It was an encouraging result in terms of the things we manage to get right in patches of the game.

Game 8 (7/8 Play Off): NMMU vs Wits

Won 2-0

Since we played against Wits earlier in the tournament we were confident we would win this game. Tristan Schroder produced to spectacular goals. The first was a solo run down the left and touch line. The second was a clean backstick finish in the bottom corner of the goal box. The girls were really anxious on the bench since Wits game back strongly in the 3rd chucker. We ended up winning the game 2-0 which meant we would end 7th in the competition.