After 3 long years I will finally be at an IPT, but only spectating


It’s been three long years since I last played in the 2011 Inter-Provincial Tournament Final in Johannesburg, South Africa. Looking back at that game, it’s one I would rather forget. We, Western Province, ended as runners up and I left the field five minutes into the second half with a broken hand, which also resulted in my missing the African Championships two weeks later on.


In 2012 I missed IPT, as did almost all of the national players who participated in the London Olympics. Given the time we had spent training in preparation for the Olympics and the pressure and intensity of the Olympics itself, we were all advised to take three weeks off away from hockey.  This would allow our bodies and equally importantly our minds time to recover from such a long phase like the Olympics. The timing of IPT was poor and subsequently the overall quality of the IPT was a disappointment, which was a shame.


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In 2013 I was again unable to attend IPT due to the Dengue Fever I contracted a few weeks prior to the tournament while on tour with the national team in Malaysia. After 8 long days in two different Malaysian hospitals I was booked off all sport for 8 prolonged and boring weeks. It was a huge disappointment as the tournament was in my home town, Cape Town. It was, however, great to see the home side raise the trophy as the 2013 Champions.


Why won’t I be playing this year?


So with just less than a week to go before IPT begins I was eager to get to Durban and finally compete in another IPT. You can imagine my concern when I had to stop training early on Thursday night when what felt like a bolt of lightning  struck the lower half of my left hamstring. I straight away realised I had done something and it was now only a matter of finding out how serious it was. An ultra sound with my club doctor in Holland a day later confirmed what the physiotherapist has suspected, a small tear in my hamstring. Prognosis: two weeks of recovery work. It’s a bitter-sweet scenario because although I’m gutted to be missing out on playing in another IPT it could have been far worse. A major tear could have meant 6-8 weeks out!

So I will have to wait until 2015 for another opportunity to compete at an IPT, barring any other misfortune. I will, however, be in Durban to watch the competing teams and of course have a keen eye on who’s performing well and likely to be included in the national squad for the coming year.


Why do we have IPT?

IPT is a mandatory tournament for all South African players wishing to make themselves available for the senior national team, as directed by SASCOC. I do however think the IPT is important for a number of reasons.

-       It gives selectors a chance to see how players have developed orare developing over the past year or years.

-       Selectors can easily compare current national players to those pushing for a place in the team.

-       Younger players are exposed to a higher level than their usual domestic league, which often isn’t nearly competitive enough.

-       As a player you are once more tested in a tournament style of play which for players going on into the national team is a crucial skill to master. League hockey is totally different to tournament hockey for a number of reasons. More on that another day.

-       Hockey is a family sport and there is a great camaraderie  amongst players. During IPT you are playing alongside players from your province whom you would normally be playing against. It may not seem like an important point but I definitely think it helps to bridge the gap between clubs in provinces.

-       Representing your province in an honour. Selection is not easy and to be named as one of the best 16 players in your province gives you a great feeling of pride. So naturally when you get to the tournament you want to win it!


My very best wishes to everyone competing in this year’s IPT in Durban!