Maties withstood a Pukke onslaught in the final chukka to progress to the Varsity Hockey final with a tense 3-2 win in the second Varsity Hockey semi-final at the NWU-Puk Astro turf on Monday night.
Both teams literally put their bodies on the line and they fought tooth and nail for a spot in the final against Tuks. Tarryn Glasby was the hero for Maties as her goal just before the break was the difference between two evenly matched hockey giants.
Maties scored first after six minutes through Minke van Heerden as the away side stamped their authority from the get-go. Pukke did not want to let their supporters down and continued in their search for an equaliser with Elmien Jacobs and Lerato Mahlangu probing in attack.
The crowd at the NWU-Pukke Astro turf was vocal in their support and chanted the customary “here we go Pukke, here we go” loudly every time Pukke forced a short corner from the Maties defence. Pukke kept most of the territory and possession in the first chukka and got a deserved equaliser after a goalmouth scramble with Courtney du Preez tapping in to make it 2-2.
It was all to play for as the second chukka got underway and both teams played with extra urgency as all caution went out the window. It was classic counter-attacking action as Pukke and then Maties came close from penalty corners at both ends of the turf.
Pukke’s Marine Kock was in excellent form and made a great save with her right foot to keep the home side in the game. Pukke continued to press for the lead and came close on a few occasions without further disturbing the scorekeeper before the break. Maties took advantage of this with 30 seconds of the second chukka remaining to take the lead through a Tarryn Glasby penalty corner special. Maties were definitely the happier of the two sides with this 3-2 lead at the break.
The game was getting tenser by the minute in the third chukka with Maties hoping to get further ahead and Pukke looking to get into the lead for the first time in the match. Glasby once again came close but Pukke’s defence stood firm to keep it to 3-2 with one final chukka to go.
Pukke was on the attack for most of the final 15 minutes and came close to getting the elusive winner with Anneke Beukman chipping a deflected shot inches over the net. Desperate defence from Maties’ Lenta Cullinan also kept the home side at bay with a great block that had her hurting from the impact.
Pukke called for the Powerplay in the final two minutes as excitement and expectation rose to a fever pitch. Each pass and shooting opportunity was cheered, but Maties somehow managed to withstand the immense pressure to book their spot in the final.
Mugg & Bean Star Saver: Dunelle van Taak (Pukke)
FNB Player of the Match: Page Alcock (Maties)
NWU Pukke: 2
Goals: Courtney du Preez (Field Goal),
Goals: Minke van Heerden (Field Goal), Tarryn Glasby (Penalty Corner)
Pukke: Marine Kock, Jocelle Deysel, Jessica de Bruyn Smith, Lindi Anker, Carli Pretorius, Lerato Mahlangu, Carli Rheeder, Dunelle van Taak, Anneke Beukman, Elmien Marais, Charne Maddocks,
Subs: Hope Nkosi, Miecke Flemming, Lori Hyde, Courtney du Preez, Kerrin Klaaste, Meeghan Klomp, Jamie Flowers.
Maties: Nicole Le Fleur, Lenta Cullinan, Simone Strydom, Heather Mc Ewan, Paige Phillips, Sandiswe Tabata, Tarryn Glasby, Natasha Rootenberg, Georgia Grobler, Page Alcock, Minke van Heerden
Subs: Stephanie Botha, Simone Strydom, Lida Kotze, Danielle Cairns, Aimee Pote, Polly Mashau, Alegra Dijkstra, Kirsten Block
By Wouter Pienaar