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Tough debut for KZN

The KwaZulu-Natal Inland team at the SPAR Women’s Hockey Interprovincial Tournament face a tough debut on day one of the A Section at the Tshwane University of Technology hockey stadium in Pretoria Tuesday.

KZN Inland tackle a Southern Gauteng team that is packed with international experience.

Player for player, the unheralded KZN Inland combination under coach Kegan Walters are on a hiding to nothing against Southerns, who have SPAR South Africa Captain Marsha Marescia at the helm alongside her current national team-mates Lisa Deetlefs, Roxanne Turner and Julia Cass.

Coach Ryan Millela can also call on the former top striker in world hockey, Pietie Coetzee, as well as recent national players Fiona Butler, Sharne Bailey and Tsoanelo Pholo, not to mention a host of experienced provincial players.

SPAR SA national Coach Jenny King said in Pretoria Monday that this could well be Southerns’ year.

King said Coetzee, who retired at a relatively young age from top international hockey, is not contemplating returning to the national fold but is enjoying being back in the provincial set-up.

Coetzee has maintained her close links with the game as the University of Johannesburg hockey coach, and made a number of explosive appearances as an impact player at the recent University Sport SA tournament in Bloemfontein.

“Pietie is still capable of scoring amazing goals and will probably be most effective in short bursts, while I think we might see her in more of a midfield role than as an out-and-out striker,” said King.

The South African Coach said that Bailey, who took time out to start a family, was putting in a lot of work to get back into the national side.

The Inland squad is extremely young and includes promising St Anne’s and KZN Inland U18 striker Rachel Froneman, yet there are a host of players with SPAR IPT experience, including Michelle Henwood, Kara Stella, Taryn Miskey, Sade Simons, Annie Smith and Sian Eustice, so a tournament of this stature is not something with which they are unfamiliar.

However, without an Intercity League between the leading clubs in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, the modest nature of KZN Inland Premier League hockey matches does not easily lend itself to PMB Collegians and PMB Varsity players facing tried and tested international players with confidence a week or two later.

B Section President’s Cup:
Mpumalanga 3 Free State 0; Border 2 Northern Cape 1; Boland 1 SA Country Districts 1; Northerns B 1 Southern Cape 0

A Section:
WP vs Wits (12.20pm); North West vs WP Peninsula (2pm); Southern Gauteng vs KZN Inland (3.40pm); KZN Coastal Raiders vs Northern Gauteng (5.20 pm).
B Section President’s Cup: EP vs SACD (9am); S Cape vs Boland (Tukkies 9am); Namibia vs Free State (10.40am); N Cape vs Mpumalanga (Tuks 10.40am).