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Hippos Mens Hockey Teams Finish in Super Style

Written by Pritchard Matambo   

Hippo HockeyHippo and Huletts hockey teams wrote a piece of history in the hockey circles. Hippo landed the coveted 2012 National league title for the 4th time in a row after losing only once and drawing once. As if that's not enough, they went on to win the HAZ Cup on the 22nd to the 23rd of September at Arundel.

National League

HockeyIn the National league, the top two teams from the three provincial leagues (Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo) come together to form a Champions league. Masvingo was represented in the National league by the Lowveld champions Hippo Hockey and debutantes Huletts. By right, the league winner goes on to represent Zimbabwe during the annual Africa Cup for Club Championships. This year Zimbabwe being the hosts, has been awarded two slots - therefore the top team on the log and the winner of the HAZ Cup would be the 2 representatives.

Hippo Hockey team were crowned the 2012 National Hockey League Champions for the fourth year following their remarkable season. The team were unstoppable throughout the season and proved beyond the imagination that they are the Zimbabwean Heroes. The sharp edged Hippos proved too hard to harness as they went on a scalp collecting tour. They lost their first game of the league to Enthusiasts and from that wake-up call, they never looked back. Their draw against the stubborn rivals, Huletts, meant that Hippo only lost 5 points and finished at the summit on 25 points, 22 points ahead of bottom placed Old Georgians. It has been a very challenging season for Hippo as being the title holder, they have been "the team to beat" throughout the season but hard work, perseverance, and above all team work helped them to retain their title.

HockeyPrior to the commencement of the league, Huletts were the obvious underdogs and little was expected of them because lack of national level experience. However they rapidly earned a "never die" reputation and were dubbed the leagues "Party Spoilers" upsetting the traditional clubs from their perches. They only lost to siblings Hippo and Enthusiasts in the early part of the season before surprising the Bulawayo Giants BAC to a 3-3 draw in Bulawayo on BAC's home turf. This was the turning point for the team and they went on a ruthless rampage to finish the season in second position after amassing 20 points from 10 games. This has earned them a berth in the Continental championship tournament as Zimbabwe's 2nd qualifier. In the history of Zimbabwe hockey, there has not been a debutant club that has represented the country at that level thus making this feat history for Huletts. By virtue of their second placed finish in the National League, the Huletts team also qualified for the HAZ Cup where they didn't disappoint.

HAZ Cup

HockeyThis year's HAZ Cup final over the past weekend saw 4 teams qualifying following knockouts at provincial level. The teams drawn for the clash were the traditional powerhouses Hippo, Eradicators, BAC and new comers Huletts. Besides the HAZ Cup trophy, the winner of the showdown was to gain the honour to represent Zimbabwe in the African Cup for Club Champions in December this year.

Hippo clashed with Eradicators in a mid-day encounter on the first day. It was their second battle this season and Eradicators were keen to make amends after going down in the final of the Mantra Tournament earlier this year. As has become trademark, it was a gruelling encounter which could have gone either way. Eradicators drew first blood after converting a penalty when Hippo's left back Patron Chikanya was adjudged to have handled in the area while making a last ditch clearance. The Harare team held on to the slender lead until half time. However Hippo's experience, composure and team work ensured that the second half was totally different. The team re-grouped, refocused and stuck to the coach's strategy and out played the Harare's 2012 giants all systems out. Hippo went on to harvest 6 goals finishing the tie 6-2.

In the second match of the day, it was a clash of the Lowveld teams. Huletts, who have this season been branded "party spoilers", were at it again against their hometown rivals as they steam rolled to a 5-4 win over Hippo despite going down 1-3 before half time.

HockeyHuletts second game saw them come from 0-2 down at half time to earn a deserved 2-2 draw against Eradicators and set a date with Hippo in the final match of the HAZ Cup. It was the first time ever for Huletts to play against Eradicator and the draw was a fortunate finish for the Harare team who were lucky not to go down to the "Party Spoilers" who missed several match winning chances.

The Huletts' zeal was finally extinguished in the finals as they were outclassed by their older siblings. The team ended up as losing finalist in the always volatile derby match. They put up a strong fight in the first half and went to the break losing 1-0 but had a lot of hope as they seemed to be matching the tempo. The second half was a different kettle of fish and the incensed Hippos ran amok and handed their counterparts a margin beyond their reach. Typical of finals, the tempers flared and play was physical with no love lost between the brothers—the umpires had to struggle to contain the flare ups. Huletts saw defender Edwin being shown a red card for a second bookable offence and that opened the flood gates putting to an end to their hopes of another surprise. Hippo went on to win the match 6-0.

Newcomers Huletts hockey team's impressive performance during their debut season is the obvious talking point. This meteoric rise to fame will no doubt be looked at closely by all in the hockey circles. Will the team be able to keep form at continental level and into the next season?

This remains as a tale for tomorrow…

National League Final Log Standing 2012

PositionTeamPlayedWinDrawLosePoints
1 Hippo 10 8 1 1 25
2 Huletts 10 6 2 2 20
3 BAC 10 5 1 4 16
4 Enthusiasts 10 4 1 5 13
5 Kings 10 2 1 7 7
6 OGs 10 1 0 9 3
 

Comments 

 
+1 #2 brighton 2012-10-01 19:35
well done boys, keep the fire burning. you are simply the best
 
 
+1 #1 Cmber Ctoleh 2012-10-01 06:13
It's not inside, it's on Top. Well done!
 
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