Tough Run-In for FNB Wits Rugby

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HARD BALL: Captain of FNB Wits Devin Montgomery drives through FNB NWU-Pukke’s defensive line during their match at the Wits Rugby Stadium on Monday evening. Wits have not won a game since being promoted to the Varsity Cup. Photo Jay Caboz

Story and Photos by Jay Caboz

FNB Wits took a beating after FNB NWU-Pukke ran in a haul of 10 tries to, losing 71-25 on Monday nights Varsity Cup match held at the Wits Rugby Stadium.

Despite the overwhelming score line, Wits put up a good show and for the majority of the game were in running contention. But the visitors from North-West University tore through Wits defence in the second half with 5 unanswered tries leaving Wits in the dust and one try short of a salvaged bonus point.

“We were incredibly happy with our performance in the first half, we just have to learn to play for 80 minutes,” said Wits captain Devin Montgomery.

The score line opened a minute after the starting whistle when Wits flanker Thato Mavundla ran the ball over the line from a driving maul deep in Pukke’s half.

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TRIES FOR CHARITY: A fan waits for the kick-off between FNB Wits and FNB NWU-Pukke. The pink ball is a new introduction to this year’s Varsity Cup and allows players to add a R2 000 donation if they score for their team during the “Rugby that Rocks Time” period. Wits Rugby Club supports Usindiso Ministries, a shelter that offers support, assistance and care to teenage girls, abused women and their children. Photo Jay Caboz

The ball continued to roll in Wits’ favour after Carel Greeff broke through Pukke’s defensive line and put another try in.In the 15th minute Pukke shook off their shock and responded with a try of their own to bring the score to 16-5.
Pukke put another eight points on the board when SJ Niemand drove over the try line.

Wits were able to extend their lead by another two points after converting a long-ranged penalty to end the first quarter. The home team managed to extend their lead to 10 points when they scored what would be their last try of the match.

Play continued to swing in both halves with Wits making some crunching tackles. But Pukke gained some level footing after scoring another try to decrease the deficit. The final nail on the coffin was drawn when Pukke put in two more tries to end the half 31-25.

The second half remained a contest until 15 minutes in when the floodgates opened. Pukke ran in five more tries which completely overwhelmed Wits’ defence. The visitors size and field play was just too much for Wits to handle.

“Yes we took a beating, but a lot of the points we conceded were from mistakes on our own behalf and turning over the ball,” said Montgomery. “We have UJ [University of Johannesburg] next week and it’s a more familiar game to us than this week. We are looking forward to it.”

The result leaves Wits hanging in last place on the log, two points behind 7th Ikeys (UCT). Wits will need to put in a good performance against UJ, who are currently sitting 3rd, to draw some points ahead of their clashes with bottom of the log teams.

jay@witsvuvuzela.com

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Hockey Men Take First loss on their Cheeks

By Jay Caboz

Wits Men Hockey still intend to push for a first place finish regardless of narrowly losing their first game of the season 4-7 against Wanderers A.

The students “never say die” attitude was just not enough to scrape an upset against a Wanderers side that could field a full bench of former and current South African national hockey players.

Wits started the game well with a number of positive manoeuvres through the field. They seemed likely to open the scoring but could not find a gap to the back of the net through Wanderers keeper Michael Smith.

Shots were exchanged in both halves but with little effect until Wanderers won a penalty corner in the 8th minute. Wits keeper Cole Zondagh rushed the top of the Wanderers castle but was not quick enough to intercept a slip which was then slammed home courtesy of a Wanderers drag flick.

The shot was contested by the Wits side after it looked like it was illegally hit but the goal was not overturned.

Wits were able to shake off the goal and came back with a response in the 12th minute when Wits’ Jared Povall executed a slip drag of his own during a penalty corner that finally beat Smith.

Wanderers’ adopted an unconventional press system which gave Wits a number of problems. As a result Wits’ conceded a number of turnovers in their own half. A succession of dubious tackles resulted in Wits giving away a field goal in the 13th minute and then another in a penalty corner in the 15th to put Wanderers two goals ahead.

The cushion was broken in the final minute before half-time when Wits’ Stuart Philip managed to scramble a shot on target during an overtime penalty corner. It was Wanderers’ turn to contend the goal after the ball had “left the playing circle twice” rendering the corner over. Their query was ignored by the referees.

Wanderers dominated the opening period of the second half and Wits, uncharacteristically, did not seem to have an answer. Wits conceded two more field goals and another goal from a penalty corner to put the score at 2-6 in the 34th minute, with six minutes of play.

But the game was not quite set and buried. Wanderers’ Lance Louw was sent marching off with a five minute penalty for complaining to the referee, and gave Wits a chance of coming back.

Povall slotted a penalty corner and then three minutes later in the 40th minute made a brilliant deflection to beat Smith and score a hat trick. But it was too late for the Witsies who conceded another goal in the dying seconds to end the game 4-7 against the students.

jay@witsvuvuzela.com

Wits beats out Crusaders

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Wits defenders tackle Crusaders forward Sarah Harley.

Wits defenders tackle Crusaders forward Sarah Harley. Pic: Jay Caboz

Playing in their first game of the Indoor Season, Wits 1st Women’s Hockey put to bed a half-asleep Crusaders 1st with a comfortable 5-3 win, at the Fourways High School Indoor Hall on Monday evening.

From the start of the game Wits’ manoeuvres up front proved to be too difficult to keep track of for the Crusaders defence.  One of Wit’s new signings, Kirstin Simone, found herself with acres of space in the 7th minute at the top of the D and neatly slotted the first goal of the game.

Shortly after, Simone found herself in a similar situation and calmly dribbled the keeper to put Wits 2-0 up in the 10th minute.

Crusaders’ Des Miller managed to get a grip on the game for her side after she pulled a goal back just before the stroke of half time in the 19th minute.

The second half  saw Crusaders begin to have more and more of an influence on the game.  But Wits Captain Jamie Martin halted the Crusaders build-up after she dribbled the Crusaders goalkeeper, on counter attack, in the 23rd minute and gave Wits a two goal cushion.

Thanks to a brilliant piece of individual play by Crusaders striker Sarah Harley, Crusad

Wits Striker Kirstin Simone takes a shot shortly into the first half.

Wits Striker Kirstin Simone takes a shot shortly into the first half. Pic: Jay Caboz

ers managed to pull another goal back to bring the score to 3-2.

Wits sat back and cushioned a steady stream of pressure from Crusaders. As a result Wits conceded a number of penalty corners. But Crusaders didn’t take advantage of the corners, mainly thanks to some acrobatic aerial saves from Wits goalkeeper Zimisile Shanghe.

Crusaders ended up committing too many players forward leaving too much space for Wit’s strikers, who positioned themselves for the counter attack opportunities. Wits defender Demi du Toit found Simone once again unmarked on the side boards high in Crusaders territory. Simone duly converted leaving the score line at 4-2, and completing a hat trick for herself.

Crusaders threw in a final gamble by substituting their keeper with another striker and opting to play with six outfield players. The strategy seemed to be paying off as Crusaders continued to have shots on target. But Wits’ Martin cornered a lone defender and slotted a 5th goal.

Crusaders Heidi Tessendorf managed to squeeze in one final goal in the 38th minute but it was a case of too little too late for the losing team.

The final whistle blew with Wits winning the match 5-3 and announcing their introduction to the 2013 season.

 

Hockey Women fail to stand against Jeppe St Andrews

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Shooting High: The Wits Hockey Women, in blue and yellow, watch as a shot by Jeppe St Andrews midfielder Jules Cass, in black and blue, goes toward the goal. Wits lost the game 6-3.

Shooting High: The Wits Hockey Women, in blue and yellow, watch as a shot by Jeppe St Andrews midfielder Jules Cass, in black and blue, goes toward the goal. Wits lost the game 6-3.

By Jay Caboz

The Wits Hockey Women lost their second Indoor Premier League match  3-6 against Jeppe St Andrews at the Fourways Indoor Stadium on Monday night.

Wits got off to a good start at the beginning of the game. They produced a number of neat plays along the board and managed to get behind Jeppe’s defence to test the keeper. The pressure continued to build for the Witsies and within the fourth minute Wits were rewarded with a penalty corner. Witsie and former South Africa U21 defender Demi du Toit stepped up to slam home a drag flick from the top of the D to put Wits up 1-0.

Jeppe managed to shake off the goal and soon after began to turn the tide against Wits.

Wits conceded a number of interceptions along the forward line which allowed Jeppe to counter attack in force. This proved too much to handle for the Witsies as they conceded a pair of penalty corners. In the 11th minute Jeppe’s Roxanne Turner drew the sides level with an un-saveable drag flick in the bottom right hand corner.

Jeppe’s Jules Cass, a former Wits student, added another goal from a penalty corner in the 15th minute.

One minute before halt-time, Wits manage to scrape the scores level after Witsie striker Jaime Martin found a gap in Jeppe’s defence to set up an easy tap in for Wits’ Gabirela Garcia.

During the second half Wits struggled to get the ball out from their own 16 yard hits, this was mainly due to a change in strategy from the Jeppe side who stepped higher in defence preventing most of the ball getting to the Wits forwards. Jeppe showed great composure and awareness and pulled any chance of a victory away from Wits.

In quick succession Jeppe scored two goals in the 22nd and 25th minutes to put Wits 4-2 behind.

Wits came back with another goal from Du Toit in the 27th minute, this time taken from a penalty stroke.

Wits goal keeper Zimisile Shange was peppered with a number of shots from all corners of the D. The students were lucky to leave just two more goals unanswered in the 29th and 33rd minute as Jeppe put the score line to 6-3.

Wits coach Peter de Lange threw in one final gamble by replacing Shange with an extra outfield player with three minutes to go. The change in strategy was ineffectual in returning a goal but did manage to stem the flow of goals as players were able pick up loose unmarked players.

After a comfortable 5-3 win last week Wits’ hopes of keeping with the top competitors in the league took a major knock after the loss.

jaycaboz@witsvuvuzela.com

Witsie defneders Kirsti Morely Jepson (left) and Demi du Toit (Middle) tackle Roxanne Turner from Jeppe St Andrews

Witsie defneders Kirsten Morley-Jepson (left) and Gabirela Garcia (middle) tackle Roxanne Turner (right) from Jeppe St Andrews

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A Wits striker narrowly misses a shot to the far post during their match against Jeppe St Andrews

 

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Gabriela Garcia watches the ball lift off a Jeppe St Andrews player.

 

90 Years for Freedom

The 13th edition of the Vuvuzela has a new design!

The image is a photographic composite of an image from the Wits Archives of political activity on campus, right, and life at Wits now, left. In this edition, we took a look back at how the university has evolved to its present state, and what it is doing to become one of the top 100 universities in the world.

Image by Jay Caboz