- Published on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 14:43
- Written by Andrzej Ogonowski
This weekend sees the conclusion of the UCT Internal League hockey competition.
The League is one of the more popular internal leagues at UCT, with approximately 380 players regularly turning up on Sunday afternoons for matches at the UCT and Hartleyvale Astroturf fields.
Although the leagues are typically dominated by teams with large numbers of players who play for various league sides, a Monday test, inclement weather or a big Saturday night out can often leave teams short of numbers, thus instantly leveling the playing field and often leading to some surprise results.
The Men’s A-division consists of 8 teams, with Average Joes (17pts) remaining undefeated to book a semi-final place alongside Leo Marquard (15pts), Smuts (15pts) and KnOBS (10pts). One of the bigger surprises of the season was at the other end of the table, where the traditionally strong Mavericks (5pts) had one of their worst seasons in recent memory.
Nevertheless, the defending internal champions managed to avoid finishing bottom by 2pts, leaving Ikhaya (3pts) to take the wooden spoon – despite having beaten Mavericks 5–4 when the teams played in early August.
In the B-division, Mongooses (12pts) look to be the favourites to gain promotion after finishing ahead of Rochester (11 pts), although both NSH Too (9pts) or Res Inc. Guys (7pts) could still beat them in the play-off rounds.
The Women’s League consists of 16 teams competing in a single division with 2 pools. In Pool 1, Crackers (21pts) didn’t drop a point on their way to claiming top spot ahead of Hot Shots (13pts), with defending champions Ayoba (13 pts) narrowly missing out of the semi-finals on goal difference.
In Pool 2, Panthers (19pts) and Wombats (16pts) finished comfortably ahead of nearest rivals Res Inc. and Stripped Kittens (both 10pts) to also qualify for the semis. At the other end of the table, FemSH (0pts) took home the wooden spoon, losing all their games and accumulating a mammoth goal difference of –52 in 7 games.
Results aside, the matches are also an opportunity for teams to show off their creative talents. The NSH and iKhaya men’s teams are renowned for their dress codes, with ‘Pyjamas’, ‘Hipster Trance Party’ and ‘Black Label Transformers’ being some of the more imaginative themes on display throughout the season.
Fitting in with UCT’s culture of innovation and research, certain matches are also used as a testing ground for several experimental law variations. One example is NSH’s innovative ‘rolling’ substitution rule, where exiting players have to physically roll over the sideline before a substitute is allowed on the field.
The top teams from the divisions will now play each other in the semi-final rounds, with the finals being hosted on Saturday, August 25th at the UCT Hockey Club. The event is hosted in conjunction with FilmSoc, and is one of the more popular events on the UCT student calendar.
The evening starts off with the ladies final at 6pm, followed by the traditional Bushies–Kwags clash – a game in which hockey sticks are replaced with brooms, rakes, vacuum cleaners and other household items. The men’s final then ends the evening’s match schedule, followed by post-match celebrations in the UCT Hockey clubhouse.