Namibia: Hockey Title Race Blown Wide Open

SAINTS dropped their first points of the season when Windhoek Old Boys held them to a thrilling 1-1 draw in the Bank Windhoek Field Hockey Men's Premier League on Friday evening.

DTS, meanwhile, scored an impressive 6-1 victory against Wanderers on Saturday to blow the title race wide open, with Saints now holding just a two-point lead over DTS at the top of the log.

On Friday night, Saints dominated possession, but could not capitalise on their chances, while Old Boys keeper Jacobus Coetzee also brought off some fine saves.

Saints already won a short corner within the first minute of the match, but Coetzee saved a shot by Nico Neethling.

Saints continued to pile on the pressure, but Old Boys took the lead against the run of play when Matthew Mouton rounded off a quick counter-attack after only six minutes.

Saints struck back, winning two short corners in quick succession, and finally opened their account when Cody van der Merwe scored from another short corner midway through the second chukka.

Old Boys also had their chances with the youthful Matu Karikairiua and Matthew Mouton putting in some fine runs, but Saints finished stronger and nearly won the match in the final chukka.

Coetzee pulled off some fine saves from Fagan Hansen and a Cody van der Merwe short corner, and after constant pressure in the dying seconds, Hansen finally stabbed the ball over the line, but the goal was disallowed for obstruction in the build-up to the goal.

It was the first time in five matches that Saints had not collected maximum points, which sees their lead at the top of the log cut to two points, after DTS' 6-1 victory against Wanderers.

Saints lead the log on 14 points from five matches, with DTS second on 12 points and Old Boys third on 10 points.

On Saturday, DTS scored a convincing 6-1 victory against Wanderers, with their 15-year-old striker JP Britz stealing the limelight with four goals.

He opened the scoring with a field goal on 13 minutes and added a second five minutes later, and when Lenard Fick immediately added a third, they went 3-0 ahead at the half time break.

DTS stepped up the tempo in the second half and two more field goals by Britz and another by Percy Barthram put them 6-0 ahead, before Armando van Wyk scored a late consolation goal for Wanderers.

The Women's Premier League, however, has turned into a one-horse race with Saints pulling away from the rest of the field after another impressive 6-0 victory against Old Boys.

Old Boys did well to contain them for most of the match, but Saints' pressure became too much towards the end, when they scored four goals in the final 10 minutes.

Azaylee Philander opened Saints' account five minutes into the second half, while Kiana Cormack soon made it 2-0, sweeping in a shot from a short corner.

Saints bombarded Old Boys' goals in the final quarter and Philander completed her hat-trick after two goals in two minutes, while two more field goals by Cormack and Joane van Rooyen completed a commanding victory.

It was Saints' second victory within three days after they beat Wanderers 3-0 on 2 October, with Dania Meyer, Jaime Gillies and Joane van Rooyen scoring their goals.

On Saturday, Unam edged DTS 2-1 in a close encounter.

Lidia Simon put Unam ahead from a short corner just before half time, but Arina van Rensburg equalised for DTS at the end of the third chukka.

Ester Beukes, however, secured the victory for Unam with a field goal in the final chukka.

Saints are now the runaway leaders on the log with 18 points from five matches, while Unam and Old Boys are both on seven points from four matches.

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