USSA 2016 hockey review

THANDO CELE
The 2016 edition of the annual University Sports South Africa (USSA) hockey tournament took place from 4-8 July in Johannesburg and was hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). At this year’s tournament UP finished second overall in the mens’ and ladies’ divisions after narrow losses to the University of Stellenbosch and North-West University (Pukke) in their respective finals.
The candy striped men and women played through the group stages of the tournament unbeaten. These performances swept aside the University of the Free State, the University of Johannesburg, Varsity College Durban and tournament hosts Wits with a complement of points to show for it.

The ladies’ final against Pukke was gripping as both teams showcased their skills at the highest level of university sport to be crowned the best in the country. The UP-Tuks ladies ultimately went down 1-0 after a run of promising displays throughout the tournament. A vast improvement in performance was notably seen and rewarded with a silver medal and overtook the disappointment of last year’s fifth place finish. 

The men’s final was a tight affair that went right down to the wire. Coming back from 0-2 down, Tuks fought back to tie the game at 2-2 and take it to penalty shoot-outs. The shoot-outs ultimately proved to be UP-Tuks’ undoing as the men went down 3-2 in a final that had all in attendance on the edge of their seat.
The success of USSA 2016 will allow both UP-Tuks teams to shift their focus on to the Northern Hockey League, with the league resuming this semester. Both teams will be intent on once again being crowned champions of Northern Gauteng.

 

Photo: SASPA.

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