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

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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.

 

Witsie saves SA U21 hopes for IPT semi-final – Jay Caboz

Demi Du Toit, Under 21 South Africa and Wits hockey defender, made all the difference in the final moments of their Inter-Provincial (IPT) match with Western Province at the Kaspersky Randburg Astro on Tuesday.

The Women’s SA U21 hockey squad managed to scrape out a 1-1 draw with Western Province in their pool matches at the Kaspersky Randburg Astro on Tuesday.

Du Toit made a last-ditch diving clearance on the goal line, during the last minute of play, to help secure the U21’s hopes for making semi-final place in the tournament. SA U21 now sits comfortably in first place ahead of Western Province.

The match marked her fifth year appearing for the green and gold since she made the squad at 17.

Kirsten Morley-Jepson, Gabby Garcia and Jamie Martin (Captain) are also representing Wits in the South Gauteng Provincial B side, Witsies.

For Du Toit every moment on the field is about being accurate, composed and patient.

What is your training programme like?

Our training programme is specified per person. We play with heart rate monitors and are all a part of a programme called “moves count” on the internet. The watches monitor our heart rates, how hard we are working and the effect training has on our bodies and this data is loaded onto the site. Our conditioning coach analyses the data and makes a programme to ensure we are training at the correct intensity and in the correct manner to be at our best.

What has been the hardest challenge you have faced since making the side?

I have been struggling with injuries this year and it’s very frustrating having to sit on the sideline when all you want to do is play.

How much further do you have to go before you can make the senior SA women’s squad?

It’s going to take a lot more hard work, focus and a determination. I believe I have what it takes to be in that team one day and I will put in the work to get there. I have the support, opportunity and faith to make my dreams come true.

How do you balance you commitments?

I still am not actually sure how I am doing it. I attempt to face one day at a time and the result is late nights, lots of stressed out, freaking out moments, cramming sessions and a whole lot of running around exhausted. I however have an incredible family, best friend and classmates who are my support group. They help me tremendously, keeping me in line, helping me with assignments, due dates, training and a lot of time well needed down time away from both hockey and university.

How has the season with the Wits Women gone?

Wits First ladies ended the season in 6th position in the premier league accompanied with a good performance at the South African Universities tournament. The first team ladies got a new coach in Pete de Lange this year. He came into the team with a world of knowledge. He changed our attitudes, pushed us hard and taught us so much.

For more links click below

Wits men seal the deal against Crusaders

Men’s hockey hunt for bonus points

New hockey turf

Du Toit hat-trick squares varsity hockey derby

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No World Cup for SA Under 21 Witsie

Published in Vuvuzela, September 14

By Jay Caboz

Demi Du Toit has been chose to represent South Africa in the Junior World Cup Qualifiers to be held in October.

WITS hockey player Demi du Toit has been chosen to represent South Africa in the Under 21 Junior World Cup Qualifier Tournament to be held at the Kaspersky Randburg Astro in October.

Should the team win the tournament, they will automatically qualify for the Junior World Cup, to be held in Canada in June next year. But Du Toit will be unable to play in this as she turns 21 this year.

“Last October I was told I had been called up into the Junior World Cup squad to join them at camp. However turning 21 in 2012 meant that I was ineligible to participate in the Junior World Cup, meaning that I would only be able to play in the qualifiers should I be selected for the team.”

Du Toit is not the only one. A further five players in the squad also exceed the age limit. Kaila Flemming, Christine Roos, Lisa Hawker and Nicole Kemp will not be able to go.

Du Toit (the only Witsie), Flemming and Roos are among the five players who were selected from Southern Gauteng. Four were chosen from Western Province, three from the Free State and Northern Gauteng, two from Amathole (formally Border) and one from Eastern Province.

She is disappointed at not being eligible, but Du Toit still hopes to make the women’s senior side in the future. The eligible players were included in the squad to help strengthen it specifically for the qualifying tournament.

U21 SA are firm favourites to win at Randburg and have been scheduled to take on the likes of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

“In order to make the SA woman’s squad, it’s going to take a lot more hard work, focus and determination. I believe I have what it takes to be in that team one day and I will put in the work to get there,” said Du Toit.

Du Toit most recently represented U21 SA in the Senior Interprovincial Tournament (IPT) held in August at the Randburg Astro. They finished in fourth position overall after losing to Northern Gauteng. The Witsie contributed significantly to the side as one of the top defenders as well as a penalty corner specialist.

“I first played in green and gold when I was 17. I made the U18 South African team. We played a series against Australia and Zimbabwe later that year. The same team then took part in the U21 IPT the following year.”

For Du Toit, every moment on the field is about being accurate, composed and patient. She accepts that balancing her university work and her hockey schedule is her greatest challenge.

jay@witsvuvuzela.com

Wits men seal the deal against Crusaders – Jay Caboz

by Jay Caboz
Published in the Vuvuzela Edition 17, 27 July 2012

A hotly contested match ended with the Wits hockey men beating Crusaders 2-1 last Sunday.

The win pushes Wits into fourth position in the premier league. This places them above Crusaders by just one point. At this stage Wits have three more matches left in the season, only one more than Crusaders.

From the start, Wits applied heavy pressure on the Crusaders’ defence. The strategy has proven to be effective throughout the season. On Sunday, Wits forced the Crusaders’ defence and midfield line to make crucial errors, giving Wits a number of shooting opportunities.

Five minutes into the half, Wits goalkeeper Carl Zontag was judged to have been fouled deliberately in his own defensive area. Crusaders striker Jonathan Martin was shown a yellow card with a ten-minute suspension off the field.

Wits took immediate advantage of the 10-man side. With an impressive display of individual skill, striker Max Cobbett put in the first goal of the game from a tight angle with a reverse stick shot.

Crusaders appeared switched off for the rest of the half. They conceded another field goal thanks to a good base line run from Witsie Jarryd Povall, who set up fellow team mate Devon Campbell.

Wits went into the halftime break with the two-goal lead.

The second half saw a revival from Crusaders. Wits’ defence, which had seen little action in the first half, was put under considerable pressure and Crusaders managed to pull off a single goal courtesy of a deflection by Brendan Hayes. Despite the added pressure, Wits remained calm and managed to hang on to their slim goal lead.

At the other end, Wits produced a number of chances to increase their score but failed to take their opportunities, which included six penalty corners.

“I was happy with the win,” said Geoffrey Scott, Wits Captain. “We went there and got the points we needed. It wasn’t our best game but it’s a positive sign when we don’t play our best, yet still walk away with 3 points.”

If Wits keep their fourth place position, it would be the best result the Wits Men’s A-side has had in a number of years – especially since they played for relegation at the end of last year’s season.

Wits faces one more tough game, against Jeppe A on August 11. Jeppe is currently third in the log. At this stage bonus points in the other two matches are essential in order for the Wits side to stay fourth.

jaycaboz@gmail.com

Men’s hockey hunt for bonus points – Jay Caboz

By Jay Caboz

Published in the vuvuzela, 20 July 2012

 

The hockey men earned a win and a much-needed bonus point after beating Jeppe B 8-1 in their Premier League match on Saturday at the Randburg Astro.

The men’s team desperately needed to win by five goals. This would earn them the bonus point needed to catch up to the top four teams in the league.

In a slow-to-start game, Wits spent the first half struggling to score. Most of the play occurred in Jeppe’s half. There were a number of wayward shots despite Wits’ strikers being in good positions to score.

There were some tense moments when Jeppe B managed to get out of their own half and counter attack. However, their shots lacked firepower and were easily saved by Carl Zontag, Wits’ goalkeeper.

Wits continued to put pressure on Jeppe B’s defence but with little effect, until striker Andrew Hofmeyer managed to score late into the half after a tight scramble near the goal line.

“We had control for much of the game but struggled in the final third during the first half…only being 1-0 up at half time,” said Zontag.

Wits continued the second half from where they left off. They dominated play and, shortly after restarting, Matthew Povall capitalised his chances by adding another two goals to his impressive tally for the season.

Jeppe B managed to pull a single goal back toward the end of the second half, against the run of play, to bring the game to 3-1.

“The pressure and patience paid off as goals came more steadily through a couple well executed shorties and flicks from the Povall brothers, Matthew and Jay. In last 10 minutes the flood gates opened and we scored four more,” said Zontag.

Robert Morisse executed a well-planned penalty corner to give Wits their needed bonus point.

Wits did not stop there. They put in a further two more goals to end the game 8-1.

The goal scorers were as follows: Andrew Hofmeyer 1, Mark Tathum 1, Barry Morisse 1, Robert Morisse 1, Max Cobbett 1, and a hat trick to Matthew Povall.

The win secures Wits’ 5th position on the log. Wits is now two points behind log leaders Crusaders. They play against them this Sunday (July 22) at 12.45pm, Randburg Astro.

The hockey side comes fresh off a winning streak at their USSA tournament held in Johannesburg during the holiday break. They took gold in the B section, placing the side among the top eight universities in the country.

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Hockey player makes his come-back with a crushed skull

When a hockey ball caused 50 fractures to Andrew Hofmeyr’s skull, double vision and an almost complete loss of taste and smell, most people thought he was out of the game forever.

But this weekend, he made his first re-appearance for the Wits Men’s first team since 2009. Hofmeyr was hit in the face after a defender from the University of the Cape Peninsular miss-cleared a hockey ball into the Witsie’s path. He was representing Wits Hockey in a South African Students Sport Union tournament, held in Bloemfontein.

He broke his nose, suffered a collapsed sinus and fractured cheekbones. Two pieces of his skull had penetrated the first membrane of his brain. He leaked brain fluid from his nose for 10 days after the game. “I remember everything. I didn’t see the ball coming. After I got hit, one of my teammates just said, ‘Lie down Andy’. The umpire was saying that I must get off his turf and that I was bleeding all over it.”

“The doctors took an x-ray and said that I had broken my nose and would suffer from a minor concussion.

They gave me some pain killers and a splint for my nose and sent me back to the tournament.

“I spent the week in Bloem drinking and partying. We didn’t know anything was wrong.”

This was where the problem started, said Hofmeyr.

“After a week with the double vision at the tournament, I had to walk with my head sideways and wear an eye patch in order to see properly.”

When he arrived back in Johannesburg, Hofmeyr was sent to a brain specialist. “The doctors said that the alcohol I drank saved my life. It thinned my blood and prevented any clotting, which could have caused severe brain damage.”

Hofmeyr underwent two surgeries. The first removed the fragments in his skull, added a metal plate to reinforce his fracture and reconstructed his nasal passages. The second removed the fragments obscuring Hofmeyr’s vision. The operations cost just under R250 000, of which Wits covered R15 000 and his hospital plan the rest.

“They [doctors] said that I stood a 10% chance of ever regaining my sense of taste and smell…” Six months later, Hofmeyr was back on the hockey field. “When I arrived at trials everyone thought I was mad. I played the entire season with double vision,” said Hofmeyr.

This year, Hofmeyr, now studying Health Sciences at the University, decided to compete with the men’s side for the first time since his injury. He underwent a final surgery to fix his eye sight in 2011 and now has complete vision.

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Wits men keep winning

Wits hockey steals the show

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A last-minute strike by forward Robb Morris sealed a thrilling 7-6 victory for the Wits men’s hockey team against Morningside Country Club (MCC) on Tuesday night at Fourways High School.

A shaky start to the game by Wits saw them concede five goals in the first 15 minutes. They had to come back from behind after struggling to put the ball in the net.

With five penalty corners and several one-on-ones with the MCC goalkeeper, the game looked set for an MCC win.

Wits’ strategy of playing with a high court press finally paid off as defender Matthew Povall managed to break the drought with a pair of neat goals late in the first half.  Wits piled extreme pressure on the opposition’s defence who struggled to get the ball into the midfield from their back line.

MCC conceded a penalty shortly after the second-half whistle, which Wits converted to reduce the deficit to 3-5.

MCC adopted a more attacking approach putting in a high lying striker, Tim Schultz, who caused difficulties for the Wits back line.  MCC managed to score a field goal immediately after the re-start making the score 6-3 to MCC.

In a good passage of play the Witsies’ strike force took full advantage of its scoring opportunities and managed to bring the score line back to 6-6. Leg work by the Wits forwards created a series of turnovers which resulted in more shots on target.

MCC were able to get a few counter-attack opportunities but a stalwart defence by the Wits goalkeeper, Cole Zondagh, kept the ball out of the net.

Wits continued to hassle the opposition defence. With three minutes of play left Morris put in the final goal of the game to put the Wits side ahead for the first time.

In a final-minute twist, Wits’ defence was broken and forced into a last-line save that was converted in a penalty corner.  The shot was saved by Zondagh giving Wits the win.

The win is Wits’ second on the trot since the beginning of the season and puts them in a safe mid-table position.