In­con­sis­tent Fish Hoek will try and crack tough-nuts Cen­tral

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - AL­LAN ISAACS

THE men’s and women’s Grand Chal­lenge league re­turns to­day with a full round of fix­tures. There has been a four-week break for the school hol­i­days.

All the ju­nior in­ter­provin­cials took place, the var­si­ties par­tic­i­pated in the USSA Week – where Maties were crowned cham­pi­ons – WPCC par­tic­i­pated in the an­nual Green­fields tour­na­ment and all the clubs com­peted in the PSI in­door tour­na­ment at the start of the month.

The busi­ness end of the league kicks off to­day with Cen­tral host­ing Fish Hoek at Vy­gieskraal in the pick of the men’s en­coun­ters.

Cen­tral have ac­quit­ted them­selves well on their re­turn to the top-flight and have proven to be tough nuts to crack at their home turf. Fish Hoek dis­man­tled Cen­tral in the first-round en­counter at Wyn­berg and won 4-2.

Cen­tral have im­proved im­mensely in de­fence and ad­dressed their per­ceived weak­ness. The mid­field is where they are strong­est and it could be the area where the game is de­cided. Bernard Greybe has also been a tower of strength be­tween the sticks and is one of the stand­out goalkeepers in the league.

Fish Hoek, mean­while, have been in­con­sis­tent but are ca­pa­ble of push­ing any team in the league. How­ever, their depth seems to be their Achilles heel and if a top player is side­lined, they strug­gle. At full-strength they are ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive.

There are three league matches left in the cam­paign and the league is WPCC’s to lose as it stands. They have a healthy 13-point lead, but Maties have two games in hand and should claw back six points.

WPCC have a fairly easy out­ing Women’s Grand Chal­lenge PWLTFA 10 9 0 1 55 10 28 11 8 2 1 19 13 25 11 7 2 2 38 14 23 11 6 4 1 31 22 19 10 3 5 2 11 19 11 10 3 6 1 22 34 11 10 1 7 2 10 38 5 11 0 11 0 3 39 0 Maties WPCC S West Con­berg UCT Pinelands Vic­to­ri­ans Cen­tral

Pto­day against a dis­ap­point­ing Pinelands out­fit and they should come away with max­i­mum points.

WPCC’s next match is against UCT, who took them to the wire ear­lier in the sea­son. The Ikeys have the po­ten­tial to beat any side on their day.

For the women, it’s a straight shootout be­tween Maties and WPCC. The crunch game is next week­end when Som­er­set West host Maties.

The stu­dents haven’t beaten Som­er­set in their last three clashes and this could set up a league-de­cider against WPCC in three weeks’ time. Fix­tures Women’s Grand Chal­lenge: UCT v Maties, Som­er­set West v Vic­to­ri­ans, WPCC v Pinelands, Cen­tral v Con­berg. Men’s Grand Chal­lenge: UCT v Maties, Langa v Vic­to­ri­ans, WPCC v Pinelands, Cen­tral v Fish Hoek.

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