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Tuks celebrate successful two-year plan of revenge

Tuks

Just moments after Tuks had beaten Maties in the Varsity hockey-final at Stellenbosch Guy Elliott (coach) would have been celebrating a plan coming together.

Tuks’ 5-0 victory last night didn’t just happen – it was two years in the making. Peabo Lembethe (Tuks captain) said already after Tuks lost against the University of Johannesburg in the 2016 Varsity final that Elliott started planning as to how Tuks were going to win the next tournament.

‘Nothing was left to chance. We started working harder during training, focusing on getting stronger and fitter in the gym. More importantly over the last two years, Guy kept on reminding us that if we take care of the small stuff, the bigger picture will take care of itself. Last night we reaped the dividends of our commitment. I’m chuffed as to how we played. All credit must go to our coaching staff,’ said Lembethe.

Tuks may have surprised many by being the dominant team right from the start. Within the first seven minutes, Sam Mvimbi outfoxed the Maties defence with brilliant foot and stick work to score a two-point goal.

For the next 23 minutes, Tuks were unrelenting, and Maties had to pull out all the stops to prevent another goal from being scored. However, something had to give. The continuous pressure led to Maties conceding a penalty-stroke just before halftime and Bradley Sherwood made no mistake to take the score to 3-0.

The second half saw the two teams more evenly matched. Maties had opportunities to score, but Hendrik Kriek (goalkeeper) was up to the challenge. Steve Paolo scored Tuks’s third goal during the ‘Powerplay’ to give Tuks a 5-0 lead.

Apart from Sherwood who seems to step up to the plate every time it matters while Mark Chong also impressed last night with his continuous work rate.

According to Lembethe, the plan was to put Maties under pressure from the start.’In our previous games, we tended to be reactive in our play. When we scored, we settled down to see what our opponents were going to do, or we only upped our game after conceding a goal. Tonight we took the game to Maties for the duration of the match.’

Paulo who has scored seven goals for Tuks during the tournament said afterwards that he and his teammates are ‘super stoked’ about winning the Varsity Tournament.

‘We have worked hard for this. Strategy was key to our success. Guy gave us the plan, and we worked hard to stick to it. We are a team, and everyone seems to put the team first naturally. I think that is why we have been successful.’

Elliott was rightfully quite emotional after his team’s success. ‘What will stick with me forever is not winning the trophy and medals but my journey with the players and the coaching staff. Everybody played their part and that’s why this is such a special memory.’

Tuks have so far won three of the four Varsity Tournaments. They are also the cricket and athletics champions. Last year Tuks won seven tournaments in total.

Photo: Lambethe being congratulated by Bradley Sherwood, by Reg Caldecott


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