The annual Greenfields Senior Interprovincial Nationals (IPT) hockey tournament, organised by the South African Hockey Association (SAHA), took place from 25-30 April at the Randburg Hockey Astro in Johannesburg. Hosted by the provincial venue sponsor, Southern Gauteng Hockey, the tournament featured some of South Africa’s best senior male and female hockey players.
The Northerns Blues, also known as Northerns, is the section of Gauteng that represents Pretoria and its surrounding suburbs. This season’s Northerns team consists of a number of UP-Tuks hockey club representatives in both the women’s and men’s teams. The Northerns’ women finished in first place at the tournament, and the men’s side finished in fourth place.
The Northerns ladies consisted of UP-Tuks hockey club manager and current SA Women’s captain, Nicolene Terblanche, and UP-Tuks hockey players Kelly Kaulback, Celia Evans, Marissa Poolman ,Chané Hill, Charné Martell, Izelle Verster, Claire Gibbings, Jacinta Jubb, Anél Luüs, Megan Anderson and Jessica Dollar.
The team from Pretoria stole the show with their display of skill throughout the tournament, with a 4-0 semi-final victory over North West, where the likes of Martell, Kaulback and Terblanche were key players. This set up a final showdown against hosts and defending champions Southern Gauteng. The final gripped supporters from the start and resulted in a sudden death penalty shoot-out. The ladies from the north held their nerve to claim a 4-3 victory, which is their second title in three years.
The UP-Tuks contingency was strong with the likes of Estiaan Kriek, Keagan du Preez, Matthew Guise-Brown, Timothy Hallé, Michael Marki, Kewan Harries, Nicholas Berichon, Onke Letuka, Pablo Talbot, Grant Glutz, Ashley Kemp, Dirk van der Spuy and Dario Lourenco all representing Northerns. The Northerns men were beaten in their semi-final by the SA u/21 team with a score of 5-3, which also resulted from a sudden death penalty shootout. Their bronze medal play-off ended with a score of 5-2 at the hands of the Kwa-Zulu Natal Raiders.
The hockey season now moves on to club level where UP-Tuks will be hoping to build on the lessons and successes of IPT and dominate as defending champions of the Northerns Blues Hockey League.