The fourth edition of the CTM Premier Hockey League gets underway on Thursday at the Randburg Astro with a few tantalising match ups, new look teams and of course some new coaches guiding the various teams. With world class coverage from SuperSport, the CTM PHL promises to raise the game once again.
The opening day offers supporters the tantalising prospect of repeats of the 2019 finals with first the Blyde River Bunters taking on the Madikwe Rangers before the Drakensberg Dragons play the two-time silver medallists the Addo Elephants. The early opportunity for the runners up of 2018 to get one up on their victors of the prior year is the definite highlight of the first day of action.
Another change in 2019 is that the opening weekend sees the double fixtures. With teams needing to hit the ground running it will be imperative for the experienced players to hit the ground running and the unknown factor that comes with the “New Generation” pool of players drafted offers an exciting prospect.
In the men’s tournament the Dragons feature four players from the successful FIH Hockey Series Finals in India and along with the signings of the experienced duo of Ignatius Malgraff and Miguel da Graca on paper they look a very tough team to beat. The Maropeng Cavemen, winners in 2016 and 2017, will look to try and reclaim their crown with addition of Dayaan Cassiem a major boost for them. The Golden Gate Gladiators will once again be the South African U21 side and it will be the first opportunity for Neville Rothman to see how his team will fare.
In the women’s tournament the Blyde River Bunters look a fantastic side already with Phumelela Mbande, Celia Evans, Marizen Marais and Izelle Verster featuring from the most recent Supergroup South Africa squad. With Marcelle Keet in charge they also have a fantastic coach who will look to continue her brilliant start as a head coach last year. The St. Lucia Lakers will be a massive threat with the superb spine of Erin Hunter, Kara Botes, Tegan Fourie, Lilian du Plessis and Quanita Bobbs. While you can also not right off Shaun Hulley’s Orange River Rafters, the 2017 champions, with Cheree Greyvenstein and Dirkie Chamberlain the outstanding names.
The 2019 CTM Premier Hockey league will be played over three weekends culminating in the final taking place on 4 August.