JOSH MYBURGH

The Maties hockey weekly five-a-side tournament is in full swing.

Five-a-side hockey is a shorter, quicker variation of the game, aimed at gripping the spectators’ attention with high paced skills and goals, not to mention a level of freedom and space not known in the full eleven-a-side format.

Maties hockey is currently hosting this inter-res five-a-side tournament, which takes the place of the summer league tournament which would usually run during this time of year.

“I do think introducing this new format is going to be successful, as we have a lot of 11-a-side hockey during the year,” said Reggie Smith, club manager at Maties Hockey Club.

“This is a great way to start the season with fun, fast-paced hockey, and chilling during games supporting your mates with a drink.”

Games are twelve minutes a side, with a three minute halve time break and played on a standard five-a-side sized field. Players can score from anywhere on the field, however no hitting is allowed, therefore players may only bunt, push or slap the ball, and any ball that is deemed dangerous will be blown. Challenges are awarded during the game when there is an infringement within the eleven-meter area, preventing a probable scoring opportunity. The challenge is essentially a one-on-one contest between the player taking the challenge and the goalkeeper, which adds to the excitement of the fast-paced game.

The league aims to promote the social aspect of the game and helps players to interact and enjoy the physical benefits of the sport, while having fun and enjoying the shortened format of the game, which may be new to some.

“The tournament is mainly about having fun and experiencing hockey in a more vibrant manner, testing new skills as a hockey player,” said Tim Coxon, a member of the Olympus men’s five-a-side team.

Two teams face each other on the one half of the astro, with a further two teams on the other half, allowing supporters to watch two games at once. This promises more action and ensures that players and spectators are not standing around waiting for long periods of time.

It also allows more residences and PSOs to participate, as it is easier to field a side of only five players and thus ensure that each residence and PSO can participate each week, which decreases the number of forfeited and cancelled matches.

PHOTO: Armin Prinsloo