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Big shock for WP

Three time defending champions Western Province will not play in this year’s SPAR Women’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament semi-finals.

It was a day for the historians as the last time WP were not in the final was 10 years ago, and no-one seems to remember when last they did not make the semi-finals!

Western Province and the KZN Coastal Raiders drew 1-1 in the crucial Pool A match at the Tshwane University of Technology. Captain Kate Woods’s WP side had to win; Raiders had nothing to lose as they had already qualified for the semi-finals.

But, one side looking on and desperate for Raiders to do them a huge favour were Northerns Blues who needed the match to end drawn at least, as they were almost certain to beat, or at least draw with, Witwatersrand in their last Pool A match.

And Raiders did them that favour. In one of the most gutsy performances in IPT history ÔÇô mirrored the day before when Northerns shocked WP 1-0, the Durban girls opened the scoring through captain and England and Great Britain central defender Crista Cullen before playing their hearts out to allow Province just one goal, through Anche Nortje, and the final score read 1-1.

Northerns duly did their side of business with a hard-fought 4-0 win over the brave Wits girls ÔÇô and the semi-finalists were set.

Earlier, Southern Gauteng had beaten fellow Pool B contenders North West 4-3 in an exciting encounter to finish top of Pool B with the Potch girls second.

Friday sees Southerns meet Northerns in a Gauteng derby semi-final at 3.40 pm with Raiders tackling Captain Lesley-Ann George’s North West combination at 5.20 pm in the second semi.

The Raiders’ IPT stats are even more mindboggling. They last won IPT 22 years ago and were last finalists eight years ago.

The late match between strugglers in Pool B, Western Province Peninsula and KZN Inland, saw the score 0-0 at half-time before ending deadlocked 1-1.

In the B Section President’s Shield, the outstanding Eastern Province line-up – with captain and Athens 2004 Olympics player Liesel Dorothy leading from the front and doyenne of EP women’s hockey coaching Linda Bedford providing the tactical know-how ÔÇô are already through to the final.

Also through to the final with a round of pool matches to spare are Border ÔÇô and the prospect of a B Section Eastern Cape derby final on Saturday is one to savour.

A Section
: Southern Gauteng 4 North West 3; KZN Coastal 1 WP 1; Northerns 4 Wits 0; KZN Inland 1 WP Peninsula 1
B Section: Border 3 Mpumalanga 2; Namibia 4 Northern Cape 2; EP 5 Southern Cape 2; Northerns B 7 Boland 0

A Section:
WP vs WP Pens (12.20 pm); Wits vs KZN Inland (2 pm); Northerns Blues vs Southern Gauteng (3.40 pm); KZN Coastal Raiders vs North West (5.20 pm)
B Section: Mpumalanga vs Namibia (9 am); Boland vs EP (Tuks 9 am); Free State vs Border (10.40 am); SA Country Districts vs Northerns B (Tuks 10.40 am)