The Southern Cape mens hockey team.

SOUTHERN CAPE NEWS – In a titanic battle, the likes of which have never been seen before at the SACD Hockey Tournament, Southern Cape had to fight back after trailing 1-4 against the strong Northern Free State and won the championship for the fifth time with a score of 5-4.

The team showed tremendous character and fighting spirit at the tournament which was held at the Rhodes Astro Turf in Grahamstown.

The Southern Cape side have won the pre-vious four SA Country Districts Tournaments and were targeting a record 5th consecutive title, as well as being the Province with the equal highest number of tournament wins in history.

A squad of 15 players were selected from the local league and had been training since March. The team spirit built up over those practices was going to prove hugely influential during the week. After having 1 point after 2 games each game became a final and the team responded well and qualified for the semi-finals were they beat Inlands 2-1.

They then met Northern Free State, who had beaten them in the pool game earlier in the week. After just 20 minutes the Southern Cape side was up against it and were trailing 4 -1.

A comeback never seen on tour before then followed and the game ended 5 – 4 to Southern Cape. The character shown by the team was truly remarkable and a comeback of such proportions will surely never be repeated.

The team’s results during the week are: Monday – Southern Cape 1 – 1 Mpumulanga; Tuesday – Southern Cape 2 – 5 Northern Free State; Wednesday – Southern Cape 4 – 2 Western Province; Southern Cape 5 – 0 Eastern Gauteng; Thursday – Southern Cape 10 – 1 Eastern Priovince B; semi finals – Southern Cape 2 – 1 Inlands; finals – Southern Cape 5 – 4 Northern Free State.

Chad Conlon, the team’s highest goal scorer was also named the most promising player at the tournament. The Southern Cape team were also given the Gryphons Trophy, a trophy awarded to the team showing the best spirit on and off the field during the week.

Four players, Marc van Staden (capt), Chad Conlon, Nigel Leverton and Girshwin Sparks (non-travelling reserve), were selected to the South African Country Districts team which will participate in the IPT B tournament in Bloemfontein at the end of August.

According to team manager Donald Oli-vier, thanks must go to the team sponsors, for without them the week would not have been possible. They are Group Editors – George Herald, SportsCentre, Princess Hockey, Grants Sports, Mountain Ridge Spur – Riversdale, Southern Cape Hockey Union, Tony Conlon, Andrew Moolman, Networkwise, Adidas, FNB, Denneoord Multi Save & Liquor Store and York High School.

“A special mention must be made to various people who contributed financially towards the team. You know who you are. Thank you,” he said.

Two of the team members also reached personal milestones. Jason Slater achieved 100 caps and Sheldon Elan-Puttick 50 caps.

Ref: George Herald