EASTERN Province, buoyed by vociferous home support, did exceptionally well to hold the star-studded Southern Gauteng side to 0-0 at half time before losing 2-0 in their opening match in the SA women's hockey interprovincial at the KC March astro yesterday.
Southerns threw everything but the kitchen sink at EP, yet were unable to reap any reward for the plentiful penalty corners and goal shots from field play as home team goalkeeper Michelle Cremer pulled off a series of brilliant saves.
The EP defenders, too, were incredibly brave in putting their bodies on the line to snuff out the efforts of Southerns captain Pietie Coetzee and company.
At the other end, EP had two or three clear-cut chances and on another day young star Toni Marx and captain Liesel Dorothy might have buried them.
But four minutes after the changeover, Southerns went ahead when Christine Roos picked her spot after the Johannesburg side had worked the ball well upfield.
In the 44th minute, penalty corner injector Lisa Deetlefs made it 2-0 after the ball came back to the SA player following a goalmouth melée.
In other A section matches, a classy Northern Blues outplayed KZN Raiders 5-2 and WP came back from a 2-0 half-time deficit to edge Free State 3-2. The fleet-footed North West side outran a gutsy Border 7-3.
In the B section, the EP Settlers had a fine start, defeating Southern Cape 6-0.
Today's fixtures are (at KC March unless stated):
Section A, 12.00: KZN Raiders v Free State, 2pm: WP v Northern Blues, 4pm: Southerns v North West, 6pm: EP v Border
Section B, 8am: Mynahs v KZN Inland, 10am: Wits v Southern Cape, 2pm: SACD B v Mpumalanga, Westering High, 8pm: SACD A v EP Settlers