Only the Wineland Wings were assured of the semi-final spot going into last weekend’s fixtures, but they were quickly joined by the Orange River Rafters when the Blyde River Bunters beat the St. Lucia Lakers in a 2-1 win inspired by Celia Evans, giving themselves a hold of fourth spot for the time being.
Former Wing’s player Stephanie Baxter had opened the scoring for the Lakers to put the Bunters on the verge of elimination but Celia Evans first and later Miecke Flemming turned the game on its head and confirmed a 2-1 win that eliminated the Lakers.
The Madikwe Rangers were then able to add their name to the semi-final list as Kristen Paton inspired the team to a victory to deny the Wineland Wings a perfect group stage. The seven-goal thriller was arguably the game of the weekend as both teams held the lead at different points and a last-minute winner decided the game.
The Rangers opened the scoring with a superb top right corner drag flick by Antoinette Louw, but early in the second quarter Jade Mayne forced the equaliser through a superb run. Mayne’s goal was the 200th in the CTM Premier Hockey League history. The Wings then completed an early comeback as Sylvia van Jaarsveldt celebrated her recall to the national team by catching Lisa Deetlefs in possession and finishing past Modipane.
Lisa quickly atoned for that error though as she went up the other end and finished off a penalty corner won by Toni Marks with a trademark slap. Deetlefs then finished her second with a slap into the opposite corner to make it 3-2 to the Rangers. The Wings then had a sensational save by Zimi Shange to thank for keeping it to one goal and rewarded her with a leveling goal through Stephanie Botha, the 50th women’s goal in this year’s PHL.
Zimi Shange then made another sensational save to keep the scores level but she could not deny Tamlyn Kock after more Paton good work and the Rangers had sealed their spot in the final four.
Daisies Book their Semi-Final Berth
The last place in next weekend’s finals was decided in the final game of the group stage. After going into the break at 0-0 the Namaqualand Daisies were in dreamland as they took a 1-0 lead against the Rafters through an Ashleigh Thomas penalty corner.
It got even better for the Daisies when they took a 2-0 lead through Jean-Leigh du Toit with a bullet strike but the gave was given a breath of life when Charne Maddocks finished a goal mouth scramble with just three minutes remaining.
The Rafters poured forward looking for an equaliser and pulled Cheree Greyvenstein off, but the gamble backfired as they conceded a last-minute penalty corner and Jean-Leigh du Toit made it 3-1 expertly.
The Daisies had made the semi-finals and confirmed that for the first time in four seasons the Blyde River Bunters would not medal!
CTM Premier Hockey League – 28 July Results
Blyde River Bunters 2- 1 St. Lucia Lakers
Madikwe Rangers 4- 3 Wineland Wings
Orange River Rafters 1-3 Namaqualand Daisies
CTM Semi-Final Fixtures
Wineland Wings vs. Namaqualand Daisies
Orange River Rafters vs. Madikwe Rangers
Photo 1 Caption: The Orange River Rafters pictured in action against Namaqualand Daisies at the Randburg Astro Hockey Stadium on Sunday, 28 July, 2019, where the Daisies bagged a 3-1 victory. Photo: Marcel Sigg
With editing by gsport