In what seemed to be a certain loss for the University of Johannesburg (UJ) hockey team semi-finals match against Wits during Varsity Hockey on Monday, 16 May 2016, drama unfolded as UJ bounced back with a bang. Amidst the 4-0 Wits lead euphoria, both teams knew that there were still a weighty 26 minutes left in the match – and the more experienced UJ side gradually clawed their way back into this thriller-in-a-thousand.
The neighbours led UJ 4-0 in the first few minutes of the game.
However, first up was Brynn Cleak who netted for UJ, in the 51st minute, during a Power Play, which gave the men in orange a bonus goal to whittle the deficit to two goals.
Yet, Wits was still 4-2 to the good and the general consensus amongst seasoned observers, that nine minutes might not be enough for UJ to draw level.
But the UJ men were not prepared to entertain any thought of that ilk.
Two minutes away from the Wits winning the match, UJ’s Cleak secured another goal for the orange army, bringing the score to 4-3.
With Wits leading the men in orange 4-3, UJ responded with captain Gareth Heyns’ 59th minute penalty corner strike to level matters at 4-4, sending both teams into penalty shootouts.
Into the penalty shootout showdown this amazing match went – and once again the big-match temperament of the UJ men prevailed as goalkeeper Matthew Martins played a key role in his team taking the shootout stakes 3-1.
UJ went into loud cheers knowing they will be hosting the final Varsity Hockey showdown on Monday, 23 May 2016 at UJ’s Astro Hockey turf in Melville. This will sure be another classic when the UJ hockey team lock horns with UP-Tuks for 2016 Varsity Hockey glory.
Entrance to the final will be free, and the match kicks off at 18h45.