The hockey club has once again had a very busy month with league games, junior tournaments, Riverside tournament and planning for the Masters Hockey Tournament coming up in August.

Senior Hockey
With the senior league past the halfway mark, our 8 Men and 7 Ladies teams have been playing great hockey, accommodating various fixture changes and producing some excellent results. Well done to all our players and good luck with the last few weeks of league.

Our Men and Ladies 1st teams headed down to the annual Riverside Belgotex Elite Club Challenge Tournament in Durban. See below from our Men’s 1st Team Captain, Stu Spooner:

Thursday, 11th July, the Wanderers 1st men’s and women’s hockey teams travelled down to Durban for the Belgotex Elite Club Challenge, hosted by Riverside Hockey Club. Both teams setting out to defend their titles they won in 2018, so an action-packed weekend of quality hockey was awaiting both teams. Wanderers Hockey Club had hosted the qualifiers for the tournament earlier in the year.

The ladies were up first against a strong Crusades team on Thursday evening. The ladies put in a strong performance but couldn’t break down a good Crusaders team, final score 0-3 Crusaders.

Day 2, Friday morning the men’s side started their campaign against Western Province Cricket Club (WPCC), the Wanderers men’s were clinical and efficient in front of goals, ending 8-1 victors, setting a good tone for the tournament.

The ladies game followed the men’s fixture, in a must-win game against the host club Riverside. The ladies put in a solid and clinical performance, emerging 2-0 winners, setting up a must-win ‘semifinal’ against WPCC later that evening.

The men were up again after a short turn around period of 3 hours, against a strong Beaulieu team. Wanderers started well scoring two goals in the first 2 chukkas, but they were put under huge pressure in the second half. A good defensive display was on show by the Wanderers men, getting a hard-fought 2-1 win.
Semifinal time for the ladies on a rainy Friday night, winner of this game would face Crusaders in the final on Saturday evening. They started the game well, getting a well-earned goal from a penalty corner in the first half. They put in a superb defensive effort in the second half keeping WPCC ladies at bay. Wanderers managed another goal right at the end of the game to seal matters and get them into a well-deserved final.

Day 3, the men’s side were up early for their game against old foes Old Eds. The game was very open, with both side showing signs of fatigue. The Wanderers men created some good goal scoring opportunities but couldn’t put their opposition away completely, game ended 2-0 in favour of Wanderers. This meant, due to the Round Robin format in the men’s section, that the men only needed a draw to defend the title and setup up what promised to be a very entertaining ‘final’ against the hosts Riverside later that day.

Finals time for the ladies, they got off to a good start creating some good chances, while on the other side having to put in a massive defensive effort to keep the Crusaders players at bay. Crusaders went into the break 1-0 ahead. The second half was much the same, Crusaders managed to be a lot more clinical and eventually emerged 4-0 victors, having not conceded a single goal the whole tournament. The ladies put in some great performances over the weekend and can hold their head up high.

The Men’s final got off to the worst possible start for the Wanderers team, conceding a goal in the first 5min of the game, putting them on the back foot for the first chukka. The men regrouped and were playing the hockey that everyone was used to seeing and started dominating the fixture. As the game went on the Wanderers men created numerous chances but conceded another goal against the run of play. Eventually they cracked the Riverside defense, getting a much-needed goal, which also set up a helluva exciting last 10min. A goal line save from a Riverside defender from a PC with zero minutes on the clock, and Riverside had beaten Wanderers and were champions.

Massive thanks to all the coaching and support staff for the efforts over the weekend. Both teams played some fantastic hockey over the weekend and had loads of fun.

Stu Spooner

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Masters

The hockey committee are busy with the final planning for hosting some of the Masters Hockey Tournament fixtures. Being one of the biggest events in the hockey calendar, we are proud to welcome teams from all over the country to the Wanderers Club. Good luck to all teams and we encourage people to come down and support good hockey played in a great spirit.
Thursday 8 August – Saturday 10 August, 8am – 5pm.

Junior Hockey

After a very busy, fun filled 6 months, the outdoor junior hockey season is coming to an end. Our last practice was held on Saturday 20 July, with parents playing games against their children. The skill on display and the vibe at the astro was wonderful to see. A big thank you to every coach, parent and child who continue to make Wanderers Junior Hockey a happy place for growth and development of our youngsters. Well done. A special mention to Lorcan Nurse for all his time and commitment, thank you.

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The Wanderers Bugs were also involved in 2 Tournaments in July, KHOSA (Krugersdorp) and Shumbas/UJ. Well done to all our hockey stars and thank you again to the parents and coaches who effortlessly get involved and bring their children to these tournaments on early, cold, winter mornings. The last tournament of the year will be held in Benoni on 3rd August, good luck!

Lastly, our u13 Boys and Girls will be competing in the annual Champ of Champs tournament on the 4th August. Wanderers are the reigning champs and we wish the players and coaches best of luck in their preparation and at the tournament. We back you!

A happy, fun busy time once again this month down at the Astro. Thank you to every member for their continued support and commitment.

Gill Pringle

Dates to Diarise:
3rd August – Benoni Junior Tournament
4th August – Champ of Champs
8-10th August – Masters Hockey Tournament
24th August – Ladies Black Velvet Lunch
14 September – Hockey Dinner