Crunch time as varsity hockey heads into knock-out stages
Maties are coming off the back of a 15-2 thumping of defending champions UJ, a result that saw the Johannesburg outfit fail to qualify for the knockout stages.
JOHANNESBURG - Maties head into today’s semifinal against NWU as firm favourites to win the competition having gone through the group stages as the only unbeaten team.
The men from Stellenbosch are coming off the back of a 15-2 thumping of defending champions UJ, a result that saw the Johannesburg outfit fail to qualify for the knockout stages.
Leading goal scorer in the competition Dayne Samboer was at it again as he netted a superb hat-trick to take his tournament tally to eight goals.
NWU on the other hand just scraped into the top four, sneaking in on goal difference ahead of UCT, who they beat 4-0 in the final round of group matches.
The match between the two in round four of the competition saw Maties edge their North West opponents 6-5, Reece Arendse netting a field goal in the final minute of the game to secure the hard-fought victory.
The second semifinal sees Tuks lock horns with Wits, in an all Gauteng derby match. Tuks finished the regular season in second place, six points behind Maties, winning five of their seven games.
The Pretoria outfit are coming off the back of an 8-0 win over UFS Kovsies, a result that came after back-to-back losses to UCT and Maties respectively.
Wits, meanwhile, head into the clash having won back-to-back games against UFS and Madibaz in round six and seven respectively. The previous meeting between the teams took place in round three, where Steven Paulo netted two minutes from time to give Guy Elliot’s chargers a narrow 6-5 win.
Both match-ups promise to be tightly contested encounters given the way the group matches panned out.
Maties, will however undoubtedly be tipped to go all the way and claim their first Varsity Hockey title, while the remaining semifinalists will be hoping to upset the form book.
The first semi-final between Maties and NWU gets underway at 17h00, with Tuks and Wits doing battle at 18h45.