The final of the South African Men’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament (IPT) was won 3-1 by Tuffy Western Province after the Capetonians led 3-0 at half-time at Tuks Astro in Pretoria Saturday but Southern Gauteng will reflect on a host of missed chances.
The difference was essentially the brilliant finishing of WP striker Lloyd Norris-Jones who stunned the big hockey crowd with three breath-taking first-half goals.
Norris-Jones opened the scoring in the sixth minute off a penalty corner variation.
In the 15th minute the fleet-footed marksman took advantage of a counter-attack after concerted Southerns pressure to make it 2-0 with a world-class strike.
Southerns then had six chances to WP’s three during the remainder of the second quarter but once again it was Norris-Jones who delivered a lesson in lethal finishing on the cusp of half-time (30th minute) for a memorable hat-trick.
Southerns keeper Rassie Pieterse made two top saves soon after half-time to match WP shot-stopper Jacques le Roux’s outstanding work in the first half.
Southerns then had a purple patch for the rest of the third quarter but couldn’t breach the WP defence.
The goal finally came for Southerns in the 50th minute, with 10 minutes left, after the pacey Julian Hykes earned a penalty corner. Lance Louw delivered the corner injection, Gonsalves effected the trap at the top of the strike zone and Miguel da Graca sent the ball soaring into the net.
Southerns got in two direct shots in the last 10 minutes, while Pieterse made a fine save from Pierre de Voux but Southerns’ dominance in the dying minutes could not be converted into the goals they so desperately needed.
(11th/12th) KZN Mynahs 4 North West 2; (9th/10) Free State 4 KZN Inland 2; (7th/8th) SG Wits 6 WP Peninsula 2; (5th/6th) KZN Raiders 3 EP 2; (3rd/4th) Northern Blues 2 SA U21 0; (Final) WP 3 Southern Gauteng 1.
By Jonathan Cook