The final Varsity Hockey fixture saw UJ and Maties battle it out in expert style
On the back of an epic Varsity Hockey season, teams from competing universities around the country converged on the University of Johannesburg this weekend for the final play-offs, semi-finals and grand finale. After three rounds of non-stop nail-biting action and exhilarating excitement, it was the players from UJ and Maties who came head to head in the final match of this year’s unforgettable programme.
And what a final it was. Superb and top quality hockey from both sides, with each team equally committed and determined to take home the cup, tonight’s final was hard fought all the way. But it was ultimately UJ who took the Varsity Hockey title on home soil by beating Maties in a dramatic penalty shootout. After a dominant start by Maties, which saw the Stellenbosch side take a 2-0 lead, UJ bounced back in front of screaming home crowds to reach an even 2-2 in the third and final chukka of the evening. With the score deadlocked at 2-2 by the end of the final chukka, tonight’s final came down to a heart pounding penalty shootout. The first to score was UJ’s Clint Panther and when Mark Fourie’s effort went wide, UJ were 1-0 up with Taylor Dart’s goal sealing the win for UJ. Gerald Mphopho was the FNB man of the match, Clint Panther was the Samsung Super Striker whilst Jason Briggs was named the Mugg and Bean Star Saver.
And after weeks of intense adrenalin and action, the last two days leading up to this evening’s final did not disappoint. Sunday saw high action and determined play as UP-Tuks and UFS-Kovsies gave it their all against Maties and UJ respectively for a spot in the season’s final. But with Maties securing a hard-fought 1-0 victory over UP-Tuks and UJ delighting fans with their dominant 2-0 victory on home turf over Kovsies during yesterday’s semi-finals, today saw a tense play-off for third position between UP-Tuks and Kovsies. Two stunning goals from Matthew Guise-Brown saw UP-Tuks secure a 2-0 victory and clinch the bronze, leaving UFS-Kovsies in overall fourth position. The fifth and sixth position play-off saw UCT beat NMMU’s Madibaz 2-1, with the play-off for positions seven and eight ending in a 2-2 draw between Wits and Rhodes.
“Varsity Sports, as a high-performance competition platform for budding university athletes to compete on, is seeing many promising young sportsmen and women successfully compete at these events and, in the process, gaining the recognition they aspire to,” says Trent Key, Marketing and Sponsorship Executive for Varsity Sports.
Now in its second year, the Varsity Sports programme brings much of the excitement often seen at a US college sporting event, such as glamorous cheerleaders, pyrotechnics, thumping music, screaming fans and a generally well-choreographed show, at one of six sporting code events, including athletics, hockey, football, netball, rugby sevens or beach volleyball.
“It’s all about ‘sportainment’, combining sport with a massive entertainment factor; to attract not only athletes, but friends, family, alumni and communities at large, where the event, much like our American counterparts, becomes an all-day, fun-filled occasion,” comments Key.
Aired live on SuperSport Channel 210, the Varsity Sports concept is designed to capture the essence and excitement of university sport, where the best can test themselves against their peers. Market-leading brands sponsor the platform, with FNB, Samsung, Mugg & Bean and Jet as the lead sponsors for Hockey. Says Lee-Ann Cullingworth, Marketing Manager at Mugg & Bean: “We are proud to be associated with Varsity Hockey and are committed to promoting the future development of hockey as a sport, to nurture young, future stars and let them shine. Ultimately, our goal is to see these future stars represent our country in the SA Men’s national side, of which Mugg & Bean is also a proud sponsor.”
Be sure not to miss the Varsity football which commences on the 21st July 2014.