Tuesday 24 July 2018

Ladies are now in second place.

The SA ladies diving down to the puck.
Both the South African Masters Men and Elite Women Underwater Hockey Teams started their Underwater Hockey World Championships campaigns with victories in Quebec on Friday

Both lost their 2nd group games on Saturday and ended the weekend with victories to keep them in strong positions for the play offs.

The SA Masters Men beat New Zealand comprehensively 12-1 and the SA Elite Ladies started the defense of the world championship title with a 2-1 victory over hosts Canada

For the Master Men, Dirk Tromp scored 3 goals, Willem Zykstra and Darren Hanner 2 each and Nico van der Merwe, Marius Branquinho, Brent Borstlap, Emile Spies and Jack van Blerk each scoring a goal.

For the SA Elite Ladies, it was the youngest 2 members of the team that opened the score with Zandre Coetzee breaking the ice and Eleanor de Kock adding the winner. This was a repeat of the 2016 Worlds these 2 youngsters also opened the scoring for SA. Both ladies come from Pretoria although Eleanor currently studies and plays in Johannesburg. 

For Zandre, it was her 4th (out of 5) World Championships that she scored the opening goal for her team.

The SA Elite Ladies, who are sponsored by SpiderTech Tape, Defy and Shanahan Engineering, are the defending World Champions after winning Gold in Stellenbosch in 2016 with coach, Roger Bester.

The SA Ladies lost their second against long time rivals Columbia 2-1 in a very hard fought battle. South Africa took an early lead after a penalty goal by Captain Jeanie van der Merwe, but they conceded 2 goals in the 2nd half with the last in the final minutes. A huge effort by the SA ladies in the final minutes could not get them the equalizer they wanted. The SA coaches where not happy that the Colombian ladies got more than 20 stick and glove infringement calls against them without a team warning or players being sent to the sin bin

The game can be watched at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP57oP1DHZk it includes an interview with SA player, Zandre Coetzee at 47:53.

On Sunday the SA Ladies beat Great Britain 4-3 with Zandre scoring a hat trick and Eleanor scoring the 3rd, making it a good day for the youngest members of the team.

On Monday morning the SA Ladies beat Spain 3-2 in a very physical match with SA Captain Jeanie van der Merwe scoring 2 penalty shots and Eleanor de Kock scoring the final goal. The Spain Ladies are coached by South African Elize Viviers who currently stays in France. Elize is a former SA Elite player and world champion and also former coach of the SA Elite men.

On Monday afternoon, the ladies beat Argentina 10-0 in a festival of goals that saw a hat trick for Roxi Wolmsley and 2 goals for new cap, Marli Pelser.

The ladies are now firmly in second place behind Columbia in group A and with their last game against the Netherlands coming up on Tuesday, they look set to end there barring a major upset.

The standings in both groups are:

Elite Womens - Elite Womens Group A

1 W Colombia155-0-0355-0-0
2 W South Africa124-1-0854-1-0
3 W Great Britain93-2-01053-2-0
4 W Canada72-2-11252-2-1
5 W Netherlands62-3-01552-3-0
6 W Spain41-4-11961-4-1
7 W Argentina00-5-02950-5-0

Elite Womens - Elite Womens Group B

1 W New Zealand155-0-0355-0-0
2 W France103-1-1553-1-1
3 W Australia82-1-21152-1-2
4 W USA72-2-11052-2-1
5 W Germany31-4-04851-4-0
6 W Belgium00-5-04550-5-0
The SA Ladies then face the winner of the A group 6th seed and B group  3rd seed  (probably Australia) in the playoffs and then most likely New Zealand in the Semi Finals and likely Columbia in the finals if all goes according to plan from here.

The support of Spidertech Tape was very evident with some of the ladies wearing tape for small niggles or for support on joints taking a lot of strain. The Defy and SpiderTech Tape branding also made a appearance on the fins in the pool.

The SA Masters Men won their second game against Columbia 10-1 and they are certainly looking good at this stage. The 10 goals where again evenly spread between most of the players and Leon van der Merwe, who did not score in the opening game, also got 2 in this time.

The SA Masters Men lost 3-2 against France on Saturday in a very tight game with opportunistic scoring from the French making them the better team on the day.

On Sunday evening (SA Time) the Masters Men beat the current World Champions, Australia 4-1 in a very good game and the SA Men certainly made their mark as one of the teams to be reckoned with in this competition.

On Monday the SA Masters men beat Great Britain 4-1 and Argentina 8-1 to leave them in a strong position behind log leaders France. The log standings looks like this:

Masters Mens

1 MM France186-0-0366-0-0
2 MM Australia186-1-0976-1-0
3 MM South Africa155-1-0865-1-0
4 MM Canada124-2-0964-2-0
5 MM USA93-3-01163-3-0
6 MM Great Britain62-4-01662-4-0
7 MM Colombia31-5-03161-5-0
8 MM New Zealand31-6-04171-6-0
9 MM Argentina00-6-04360-6-0
The games schedule and results are at https://uwhscores.com/t/worlds2018/team/46

The SA Elite Ladies received generous contributions from SpiderTech Tape, Defy, Shanahan Engineering and several small businesses, family members and supporters. This helped them a lot since they are all amateurs and have to raise the money to prepare for and go to the World Championships, themselves. The stress of fundraising puts a strain on the players and reduces the amount of training camps and preparation that can put in. SpiderTech Tape and Defy certainly gave the ladies a huge boost in this regard.

The SA Elite Underwater Hockey Ladies Facebook page is .at www.facebook.com/saeliteuwh/ and the World Championship website is at http://www.uwhworlds2018.ca/ and their Facebook pageat.www.facebook.com/uwhworlds2018/

Past and future press releases are loaded on Zandre Coetzee's LinkedIn page at https://www.linkedin.com/in/zandrewitblitz/

The SA underwater Hockey Federation website is at www.sauwhf.co.za

For more information on the progress at Worlds, contact De Wet Coetzee at:

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