NWU’s Varsity Hockey team can take heart from a stellar tournament

Maties' Rob McKinley and NWU's Killian Ludick collide as they tussle for possession in the Varsity Hockey semi-final at Tuks Stadium on Monday, 14 May. Maties won this match 2–0 on penalties to send NWU out of the tournament. Photo: Christiaan Kotze.SASPA
Maties' Rob McKinley and NWU's Killian Ludick collide as they tussle for possession in the Varsity Hockey semi-final at Tuks Stadium on Monday, 14 May. Maties won this match 2–0 on penalties to send NWU out of the tournament. Photo: Christiaan Kotze.SASPA

Sport can be a cruel mistress as the NWU men’s hockey team found out this past week. They were dumped out via penalties against Maties in the semi-final stage of the 2018 Varsity Hockey tournament at Tuks Stadium on Monday, 14 May.
The NWU lost 2–0 in the shootout, after a brave and belligerent display in the semi-final against Maties which ended 2–2 during normal time.
The NWU could well feel hard done by after a number of calls did not go their way. This was particularly true for Gertjie Lamprecht’s disallowed goal from the edge of the shooting circle. A still frame photo shows that the ball had crossed the line but the call was not overturned. Maties benefited from this as their keeper, Rob McKinley made brilliant saves in the shootout to take his side to the final.

There was never a dull moment for Sheldon Rostron’s men during the tournament, which started on Friday, 4 May. They picked up some fantastic wins and experienced agonising defeats along the way. Their most polished performance came in the pool stages against UCT on Sunday, 13 May, which they won 4–0. Other victories included a last-gasp 8–7 win against Wits and a challenging 4–2 victory against the NMMU Madibaz.

The players who impressed during the tournament were Gertjie Lamprecht; the captain, Sinoxolo Mbekeni; the goalkeeper, Mthokoza Mbotho and the regular goal scorers, Killian Ludick and Pierre Botma.

Overall, NWU’s Varsity Hockey coach, Sheldon Rostron was pleased with his side’s performance during the tournament, although the outcome against Maties wasn’t what he had desired.

‘The outcome is one thing but I believe we performed really well for the duration of the tournament. Our intention against Maties was to defend as hard as we could and catch them on the counter. Our main objective was to end mid-table and we surpassed that with a phenomenal performance,’ he said.

Rostron also emphasised that the culture of the NWU hockey club has been one of the main reasons for the men’s side’s progression from a bottom of the table side to title contenders.

‘We started playing in the top leagues against top teams and although the learning curve was big, we managed to gain BMT from playing top sides.
The growth has been tremendous and the players’ confidence levels and my confidence in their abilities have increased. I think everyone can be truly proud of what we achieved.’

The NWU’s next big assignment is the USSA Hockey tournament that takes place in Bloemfontein from 2–9 July.

AJR

AJR

http://www.nbcarsales.co.za/

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Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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