Kings and queens of Eden Hockey
KNYSNA - The two teams from Old Oaks Knysna Hockey Club successfully defended their titles in the finals of the 2021 Eden Hockey Senior League, beating Crusaders Ladies and Quarry Men 2 in the process.
Both Old Oaks Men and Old Oaks Ladies enjoyed near-flawless runs into their respective finals with no losses suffered and a few goals conceded the only blemishes on their records. Having finished top of their logs after the semi-final stage, they were to play the finals at home in Knysna on Saturday 11 September.
But, before the climax of the season could take place, Wanderers Men and George Men were scheduled to clash in the playoff for seventh place in the men's competition. Unfortunately for Wanderers, George were determined to make their trip to Knysna worthwhile. A resounding 5-1 win for George saw them secure seventh place with Mike Hazell scoring the only goal for Wanderers.
It wasn't long before it came time for the final of the ladies league, with Old Oaks Ladies facing a Crusaders side hell-bent on preventing Old Oaks from securing their fifth consecutive title.
Their determination and fight showed in the first quarter as they held the home side to a 0-0 scoreline. Just after the 20-minute mark, however, Donné de Wet handed Old Oaks the lead and the game went into half-time at 1-0 to Old Oaks. A brilliant performance from Crusaders' goalkeeper Marie-Louise Nel and her defensive line ensured they stayed in contention throughout the game, but a Charné de Wet goal in the third quarter secured the title. The match ended at 2-0 to Old Oaks Ladies, who walked away with their fifth consecutive title in the Eden Hockey Senior Ladies League. The men's final was up next with the two sides that finished top of the log in the regular season facing off in what was to be a brilliant game of hockey. Undoubtedly buoyed on by the success of their female counterparts, Old Oaks Men were faced with a young and strong Quarry Men's 2 side hungry for the title. The home side got off to the best possible start thanks to an early goal from James Chauncey that put Old Oaks 1-0 ahead. Nick Olivier followed that up with a goal of his own shortly after to give Old Oaks a 2-0 lead going into the break at the end of the first quarter.
A goalless second quarter meant the score stayed the same going into the third quarter and second half. The third quarter was action-packed, though, as Quarry 2 pulled a goal back, but not before Olivier scored his second goal to restore Old Oaks' two-goal lead at 3-1. Chauncey thought he had scored his second and Old Oaks' fourth goal of the game, but his effort was disallowed due to a stick block in the build-up to the goal. Nonetheless, Old Oaks' efforts were enough to win the match 3-1 and ensure they hold onto the title, successfully defending their 2019 triumph.