In a packed stadium at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Astro Hockey turf in Melville, the University’s hockey squad thumbed the University of Pretoria Tuks team 4-2 in the final match of the Varsity Hockey tournament. On Monday, 23 May 2016, the UJ orange army clinched the top honours for the third consecutive year!
Tuks led 1-0 at half-time, but UJ striker Ryan Crowe crafted a superb equaliser in the 39th minute after excellent combination play.
With an electrified crowd cheering the home side, UJ, the two teams had tight defence lines.
The final match had almost taken the same shape as the semi-final game where UJ came from behind to equalise and win the match on penalties after a 4-4 full-time match draw.
It appeared that the 1-1 score had given UJ the fire to press even harder. The initial Penalty Corner (PC) attempt was butchered but UJ reacted quickly and Heyns fired high into the net for the home fans to go wild as their boys went 2-1 up.
With 11 minutes on the clock Le-Neal Jackson broke away but was brought down by Tuks’ shot-stopper Kriek and John Wright had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. The penalty took the reigning champions into a 3-1 lead with just nine minutes remaining.
Tuks retaliated with an immediate goal in the 54th minute, taking the score line to UJ 3 Tuks 2.
Tuks came straight back to earn a PC soon after the re-start, but UJ first wave Jackson streaked off the goal line at astonishing pace to run down the PC flick, carried the ball on and combined with the Player of the 2016 Varsity Hockey tournament, Taylor Dart, before getting the ball back to fire a shot that Du Preez saved but Tyson Dlungwana, following up beautifully from right half, slid the rebound into the net for the 4-2 final score.
The UJ squad is set for the coming years as it is comprising outstanding youngsters – the likes of Dlungwana, Courtney Halle, Amkelwa Letuka and friends – in just their first year at varsity.
FNB Player of the Tournament: Taylor Dart (UJ)
Samsung Super Striker: Keenan Horne (Maties)
Mugg and Bean Star Saver: Hendrik Kriek (Tuks)