#TuksHockey: Tuks' stunning defensive display shatters Maties' title dreams

Posted on May 19, 2016

The hordes of Stellenbosch University (Maties) fans were heartbroken when the Varsity Hockey semi-final went the way of Tuks in a nail-biting muscle-up at Maties Astro on Monday night, but, as a senior figure in the coaching world said: 'Semi-finals are a different animal'.

The lone goal of this high-class clash, described by a hockey fan who has watched hundreds of matches featuring the best teams in the world as 'awesome in its intensity,' was scored by Tuks striker Stephen Cant. He conjured up his unique brand of magic to breach the goal line and make the decisive strike three minutes before half-time.

Underrated Tuks goalkeeper Estiaan Kriek also made an immense contribution, exemplifying the contention that , when a team is continuously defending, their shot-stopper is key to keeping them in the game.

Another factor in Tuks' success was their ability to maintain structure and composure within the three lines of defence, the midfield and the forwards. In their defensive make-up, Tuks were simply brilliant and the contribution of the tower of strength that is Kewan Harries cannot be emphasised enough.

An enthused SuperSport television viewer in Randburg sent a message via WhatsApp saying that it was the best game of this Varsity Sports competition to date. Another fan watching from the comfort of his TV lounge phoned in to say that the passion of the players was 'palpable'. 'You could almost reach out into the screen and touch it,' said his teenage daughter.

The father went on to say that Tuks keeper, Kriek, 'had a complete blinder' and that the umpires (Cape Town-based international umpire Sean Rapaport and Pretoria-based official John Wright, who is going to his fourth Olympic Games in Rio in August) 'were crucial to the spectacle as they made sure that the match did not lose momentum keeping interventions to a minimum, which they must have found quite difficult at times, such was the physicality and pace of the game.'

Legendary world-record goal scorer Pietie Coetzee (who was in the SuperSport commentary box alongside another SA hockey great, Gregg Clark), summed up the essence of this memorable match perfectly: 'Extreme action all the time.'

To be fair, the superb defending from Tuks kept Maties at bay and,on another night – and perhaps against the same Tuks team (the league-phase game saw Maties destroy Tuks 6–1 just three days earlier) – they might have scored in customary fashion.

In closing, the fan from Randburg added: 'When Tuks keeper, Kriek, saved from the penalty spot at a critical point in the game, you knew it just wasn't Maties' night.'


FNB Player of the Match: Hendrik Kriek (Tuks)

Mugg & Bean Star Saver: Hendrik Kriek (Tuks)

Samsung Super Striker: Stephen Cant (Tuks)


- Author Jonathan Cook

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