The University of Pretoria did what needed to be done as they beat the University of the Witwaterstrand 5-3 in a penalty shootout after the second semi-final ended 6-6 at the Tuks astro on Monday evening.
The final match of Day Four proved to be a thriller as the Gauteng rivals pushed each other hard despite the chilly conditions on the Highveld.
Wits took the lead in the 10th minute as Kingsley Botes netted a superb field goal which was followed up by Brandon James’s goal from a short corner. It must be said that James has had a fantastic run in the second leg of the Varsity Hockey tournament with the sharpshooter regularly proving his weight in gold for Wits.
Tuks got themselves on the scoreboard in the 23rd minute as Mitchell Currie successfully converted a short corner which was followed by another goal from a penalty corner to Bradley Sherwood eight minutes later.
Sherwood levelled matters with 11 minutes left on the clock but Wits regained the lead moments later as James sunk yet another goal.
The last five minutes saw a frenzy of goals in which the lead exchanged hands twice as Sherwood gave Tuks the lead for the first time in the match as he bagged his hat-trick before James secured his own hat-trick and gifted Wits the lead once more.
The drama continued right until the stroke of full-time as Peobo Lembethe smashed in a goal to bring the score to 6-6 which forced the teams into a penalty shootout which Tuks won 5-3 which ensured their passage into the Varsity Hockey final.
Goals: Mitchell Currie, Bradley Sherwood (3), Peobo Lembethe
Goals: Kingsley Botes, Brandon James (3)
FNB Player of the Match: Brandon James (Wits)
Mugg & Bean Star Saver: Duncan Fischer (Wits)
Samsung Super Striker: Bradley Sherwood (Tuks)
Tuks: 1. Hendrik Kriek (GK), 3. Onke Letuka, 4. Mitchell Currie, 6. James Redfern, 7. Sam Mvimbi, 8. Peabo Lembethe (c), 9. Steven Paulo, 10. Michael Forrest, 15. Bradley Sherwood, 19. Matthew Davies, 22. Mark Chong.
Subs: 5. Jared Cass, 11. Ashley Kemp, 13. Matthew Butler, 16. Nicholas Pio, 20. Christian Kriek, 21. Tim Halle, 23. Sizwe Mthembu.
Wits: 1. Duncan Fischer (GK), 2. Gareth Riley, 4. Cody van Wyk, 6. James Brandon, 7. Michael Marki (c), 8. Jaryd Thomas, 11. Chris Makaba, 12. Chad Futcher, 17. Rusten Abrahams, 18. Kamal Ramburuth-Hurt, 19. Kingsley Botes.
Subs: 5. Brad Riley, 10. Thabang Modise, 13. Bryce Cressy, 14. Sean Donaldson, 15. Michael Horan, 21. Tristan le Forestier, 23. Sizwe Nyandeni (GK).
By Dan Lombard