I don’t want to distract you too much with useless text, so I will keep this short. This video showcases the great story that is Austin Smith, our golden boy of South Africa hockey for the last decade. It also showcases the great guy that he is and that if you have a dream, that you should follow it regardless of the set backs or obstacles.
I thoroughly enjoyed this as it felt genuine and gave real insight into what his life is like as one of the very few professional hockey players that South Africa has. He is one of the main reasons that I became so passionately involved in hockey as he did his job shadowing in high school with my class at Pinelands North Primary school. He also got me watching the Hoofdklasse in which his team Den Bosch play in.
Summer League is almost back and fixtures have finally been released. Not only do we have the Summer Series starting today, we will now be able to play some hockey again starting from Monday the 30th of January!
Check out the fixtures below:
It is great to see that the new water based turf at WPCC will be in use! COME ON HOCKEY SEASON!
Fabian Gregory, the current coach of the South Africa Men’s team, has called up three exciting youngsters from the Cape. The three young lads will be included for the upcoming 2017 Summer Series challenge taking place from Friday at Hartleyvale. The three youngsters could get their first taste of international hockey against two top tier nations in Belgium & the Netherlands.
The three youngsters are:
Che is an ex-Wynberg Boys’ High School pupil having just finished Matric. He plays his club hockey for Western Province Cricket Club and will be heading off to the University of Johannesburg for his studies. Che is a lightning quick forward with silky hands that leaves defenders for dead. He has a remarkable maturity for his age and lead the Wynberg team as their captain last year on their way to winning the Boys Premier League. Once he gets past the initial jitters of playing with the big boys, I think he will show his true class. I am sure he will be one cog of the 2022 Commonwealth team and more than likely a future leader of SA hockey for many years.
Mr Hobson is an absolute rock at the back. Again, another player with leadership qualities, Andrew captained both Paul Roos and Boland. He lead Boland brilliantly in their march to taking gold at the 2015 IPT, and a very respectful 4th in 2016. Andrew has a little more experience than the other two having played numerous times for SA u21 already, as well as a full season playing for Maties 1st side while still being at school. Hobbo is comfortable playing out from the back, excellent in 1v1s and combined with his maturity and leadership experience, I think he will be able to hold his own at international level. Anyone dare to call him the next Rhett Halkett?
The most volatile of the three, but the most likely to bring fireworks to the field. With tricks on the ball that are naked to the normal eye, “Yaanie” has the flair and skill to put top defenders to shame. Currently plying his trade for Bishops & Central 1st teams, he had a remarkable season last year scoring goals from impossible angles, all on his own, and making it look as if it was just another day on the training field for him, this is one youngster to watch. You were warned here first Belgium & the Netherlands, don’t give this boy too much space to shoot reverse stick from the base line. He will try it, and all you will see is “Dayaan” on the back of his stick as the ball flies into the net.
Summer League entries are now open! I absolutely love summer league. It is far more social, and allows you to get back into the swing of things, get a little fitness going, but more importantly have an absolute jol with your mates. I run a team called The Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies and the amount of gees that we bring to the turf is said to be bordering on legendary after three short years. Enter your team now!
– Summer League matches will commence in the week of 30 Jan 2016
– Summer league games will cost R225 (Incl VAT) per team per game.
– Summer league fixtures will be played on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings
– Duration of matches will be 50 minutes per game (25 Minutes per half with 2 minute halftime changeover)
– Please ensure that you fill in the NOTES SECTION on the online entry if you have any special requests
– Please note that we can only accommodate 6 teams per division – First come first serve
– Please click on the following link to enter your summer league teams : https://goo.gl/hrFE5p
Please ensure that that you confirm your teams entry with your club chairperson before just going ahead – Please also note that clubs will receive invoices for the teams entered and that it is their responsibility to ensure that these invoice are paid to WPHU.
Please note that the closing date for entries is Tues 17 Nov (TODAY!) – No late entries will be accepted.
I hate doing this, but this got me to the point of frustrated that I had to share my feelings and see if I wasn’t alone.
Hockey is a small sport in comparison to the major sports in our country like football, rugby, cricket etc. This means that we aren’t afforded the luxury of massive funding and huge support teams. Don’t get me wrong, I think the contributions that people make towards SAHA and WPHU are massive and very difficult to put into words. I think not nearly enough credit is due to those people who spend hour upon hour hustling for a sport they love, for often not even a “thank you” from the majority of players. That is one of the reasons that I started this site, and hopefully I will get to showcase some of those people soon!
However, I think this upcoming Summer Series is a chance that is being missed to do two major things.
- Raise the profile of hockey considerably
- Raise funds for the union
Now instead of simply moaning like the majority of people do, I am going to try provide some ideas around how we can move towards solutions. No these aren’t full blown solutions, but steps to start moving in that direction. Sunday the 29th sees three games take place, and I can just feel that that opportunity to create a great day of hockey is going to be missed somehow.
Firstly, there needs to be a shift in the way that we market a summer series like this. There is little to no cohesion across any social channels for WPHU or SAHA. The banner designed is distorted, clearly rushed, and frankly doesn’t scream “professional hockey setup”. Hell, the one I designed isn’t great but it certainly is better. Feel free to ask for a few changes to mine SAHA and you can gladly use it for free!
Spending a few bucks on paid advertising specifically to the Cape Town region and you would get thousands more exposed to the idea of coming to watch a few international games. This doesn’t take much and in fact as little as $10/20 would be enough. Shout if you want a $20 donation to reach an extra 10 000 or so eye balls WPHU. Tell me one of the sponsors wouldn’t donate a few thousand to be the one-off sponsor of this series?
This one is a tricky one. By charging an entrance fee to each game, there are some funds raised for WPHU which is great. But R50 a game? That seems a bit steep to me. Yes it is international hockey, but hell, even if you made it free I doubt Hartleyvale would be packed. Also, for someone like me who wants to sit and watch nearly every game, R50 x 11 days = R550 is a bit out of my budget. I think this costs does prevent a number of people from attending extra matches. How about charging per match day with two tiers available? R20 gets you in for the days where there is only one game. Hell, even R10. While on the few days where there are a few games to watch, then you can charge R40/R50. I know R50 “per game” currently gets you in for however many games there are, but I think we are missing an opportunity for the one-off games.
A big hat tip needs to go to the volunteers that sit and manage the sales at the gate. Perhaps this could be outsourced to a school and kids could count this towards their community service? #JustAThought
This one is difficult because it does require a few resources. However, I would love to see information made available about the squads that are taking part. Take a look at the South Africa & Dutch squads. Let the general peeps in the crowd learn who the players are and allow the international superstars to shine! Sure, a lot of them won’t be here because of the Hockey India League, but without global superstars, it does become more difficult to follow. It would be amazing if we could get team lists printed so that you could learn the players names and get youngsters excited as they follow the game that bit more closely.
The End Story?
The end story is that we need to try and raise the professionalism of our sport, and take a far more business aligned approach to the game. This is difficult and requires a change in thinking as well as the input from people with the necessary skill set – something not easily available. I know this sounds like I am moaning, and essentially I am, but it is because I want this sport to realize its full potential. After watching the Junior World Cups, this country has plenty of talent, but now we need to take the next step in raising the profile of our game in an attempt to continue to drive it towards the mainstream.
I Want Your Ideas
Share your ideas with me and let’s start a discussion. Perhaps you have a killer idea or have the skill set to try and help raise the game. Maybe even you know of someone who might want to sponsor something in one way or another.
P.S please feel free to tell me I am an idiot, but you are only allowed to do that if you contribute some better ideas 😉
UPDATE – 17-1-17
I have been asked if I will be covering the games at all. I will try and do my best with very brief status updates with the end result of each match, but this is easier said than done. I haven’t been asked by WPHU or SAHA to cover anything (*wink wink*). Jonathan Cook normally covers international games on home soil and he does an incredible job at this. However, I don’t see someone else covering the series in a less formal format as a bad thing! I know The Pundits.co.za always love some good hockey banter!
Another idea I had would be to leverage the days where more than one games take place and create Facebook events around those days. This is where information sharing will really kick off and allows the games to spread organically as people invite their friends to attend. This would be a great marketing move for Hockey Point, but I feel that might step on some toes over at WPHU & SAHA. Feel free to ask for some assistance in setting this up if you want 😉
We are in for some serious hockey in Cape Town from Friday! The Dutch have been at a training camp in Stellenbosch since the 12th of January and below is the list of players that we will be seeing in action for four games. While some big names are missing due to taking part in the Hockey India League, we still have some big names present like Robbert Kemperman, Mirco Pruyser, Valentin Verga, Bob de Voogd & Mink van der Weerden.
Keep an eye out for Thierry Brinkman, Terrance Pieters & Jorrit Croon who are some up and coming youngsters. You can see the South African Squads here.
|Milan van Baal||Orange-Red|
|Pirmin Blaak (k)||Orange-Red|
|Gijs Campbell||Den Bosch|
|Thijs van Dam||Rotterdam|
|Jonas de Geus||Almere|
|Rik van Kan||HGC|
|Joep de Mol||Orange-Red|
|Sam van der Ven (k)||HGC|
|Bob de Voogd||Orange-Red|
|Mink van der Weerden||Orange-Red|
|Floris Wortelboer||Den Bosch|
Hockey season is nearly back upon us and what better way to start things off than with a Summer Series jam packed with international hockey? The 2017 Summer Series sees Chile, China, Netherlands & Belgium visit Cape Town to treat us to 18 action packed matches towards the end of January. Hockey Point has compiled a handy list of fixtures so that you don’t miss any of the action! Get down to Hartleyvale and see some of the top teams in the world take on our teams in Green & Gold!
Take a look at which players have made the squads for the upcoming series here.
The end of this month will see both our Men’s and Ladies national teams take on some fierce international competition in the shape of China & Belgium for the Women, and Netherlands & Belgium for the Men. Both series will take place in Cape Town and neither dates or venues have been confirmed yet, but the majority of games, if not all games, will be Hartleyvale more than likely.
With this series being largely a training exercise for the touring teams, both the Men’s and Ladies teams have added a youthful flavour to the rather large squads with the Women’s team consisting of 30 players and the Men 28. It is also great to see a number of u21 players getting the call up after two fairly successful Junior World Cup tournaments where we finished 14 for the ladies and 10th for the guys.
|Marelise van Tonder||NG|
|Kara Stella||KZN C|
|Jessica O’Connor||KZN C|
|Kelly Madsen||KZN C|
|Lilian du Plessis||SG|
|Kate Koening||KZN C|
|Gowan Jones||KZN C|
|Siya Nolutshungu||KZN C|
|Robin Jones||KZN C|
|Jethro Eustice||KZN C|
|Mohamed Mea||KZN C|
|Timothy Drummond||KZN C|
|Taine Paton||KZN C|
|Jonty Robinson||KZN C|
|Nqobile Ntuli||KZN C|
|Damian Kimfley||KZN C|
|Ross Hetem||KZN C|
The South African Hockey Association (SAHA) has officially unveiled Grays as its exclusive technical apparel partner for the next five years.
The Grays apparel sponsorship, which runs until the end of 2020, covers all SAHA outdoor representative teams – from under 18 through to the senior men’s and women’s international squads, all teams participating in the forthcoming SA National Hockey League, as well as SAHA coaches and match officials.
As part of the partnership, Grays has the exclusive right to produce official SA Hockey replica wear, supporters wear, fashion wear and other key hockey products and will also be launching an official SA Hockey endorsed e-commerce platform later this year. SAHA will earn a percentage of all revenue generated from these new revenue streams.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Grays on board as our official apparel partner. Grays is an iconic and global hockey brand and their partnership is a massive endorsement of our vision and strategy for hockey in South Africa. We are especially excited by their plans for the e-commerce platform, which is due to launch towards the end of this year,” said Marissa Langeni, CEO of SAHA.
Grays and its South African distribution partner, Leisure Holdings, are equally optimistic about the new partnership.
“Everyone at Grays is delighted to have secured South African hockey. Grays is the world’s leading hockey brand and as such is perfectly placed to support the exciting growth of hockey in South Africa.” added Richard Gray, Sales and Marketing Director at Grays.
“We really believe in the South African hockey revolution and see a sport that is on an upwards curve, from an interest and participation perspective. This is a true business partnership, with SAHA incentivised to help us grow the Grays brands in South Africa. We look forward to a very productive long term relationship,” concluded Brett Burnill, Director of Leisure Holdings.
The South Africa Hockey Association is the national governing body of field hockey in South Africa. SAHA focuses on the administration, development and co-ordination of all activities of the game within South Africa, in areas such as coaching umpiring and playing – at International, Provincial, Club and School level. SAHA is a member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the Africa Hockey Federation (AHF) and the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Grays was founded in Cambridge by world rackets champion H.J. Gray in 1855 and have built a worldwide reputation for supplying quality sports equipment; notably for hockey, racquets and cricket (under the Gray-Nicolls brand). The company has remained in family hands ever since and is now owned and controlled by 5th generation of Grays.
About Leisure Holdings:
Leisure Holdings is one of South Africa’s top distributors of sporting goods, with a significant warehouse and distribution network. Leisure Holdings currently supplies and has excellent working relationships with most the major retailers in South Africa and has extensive experience in managing the following brands: Arena, Grays, Gray Nicolls, Prince and Gilbert.
The second leg of the Varsity Sports Hockey continues this weekend in Stellenbosch at the Maties astro with games taking place from the 13th to the 16th of May. Games will kick off at 13h30 with the last game of the day being at 18h45 with the host taking part in the last game of the day on each occasion.
With the first round completed last week at UJ, we are set for another cracking weekend of top hockey action. There were a few surprises from the first round, but with teams now sizing each other up, we are in for some fireworks this weekend.
One of the main reasons that the Varsity Hockey is starting to make inroads in the game is the fact that the final two days of each round are getting TV coverage on SuperSport. This is great news and well done to SuperSport for providing the coverage and raising the profile of one of the most promising sports in our country. All games from rounds 7 & 8 will be on SuperSport most likely on SuperSport 7 – at the moment the schedule says “SuperSport Select SA”.
Each round of fixtures has a stand out clash that is sure to showcase the best of our future talent. Round 5’s pick has to be UJ vs Wits as the first match of the second round at 13h30 on Friday, with the Joburg based derby sure to bring some heated tackles. Round 6 is a no-brainer as UJ take on TUKS as 1 plays 2 as it currently stands at 17h00 on Saturday, with round 7’s biggest match up sees the two local sides go head to head with Maties facing UCT at 18h45 on Sunday on TV.
If you are in Cape Town, I think your weekend has just been planned for you! If you aren’t, well at least you can get comfy on the couch and still catch all the action.