Lloyd's late winner | SASCOC - SASCOC

Lloyd’s late winner

By Mark Etheridge

Lloyd Madsen’s debut international goal saw our national hockey side beat Belgium 4-3 in the BDO Champion’s Challenge Trophy at a rain-soaked Salta, Argentina on Sunday.

The win saw South Africa once again return to winning ways, after going down 4-1 to Pakistan Friday, in their third game of the tournament.

Our next opponents are China who downed Canada 3-1, also on Sunday.

The South Africans had first use on a saturated pitch, due to the fact that they were playing in the bottom-four of the eight-team tournament.

In fact captain Austin Smith said that such were conditions that the team weren’t even sure they’d see action.
“The roads outside the hotel were soaked, and more rain was predicted. We were the first game up, 9am, and when we arrived at the field the organisers had done all they could to drain the pitch but it was still very heavy underfoot and made ball transfer very tricky.”

The South Africans soon went 1-0 down courtesy of a Jerome Dekeyser score. Things got quickly worse when Dekeyser, the Belgians’ corner specialist, scored again shortly after the restart, meaning SA were 2-0 down after just 14 minutes.

“We were faced with a colossal task ahead if we planned on making the 5th/6th play off,” said Smith. “The spirit of our team was once again tested, and in true South African form we fought back! The start of that comeback came through Wade Paton in the 17th minute when he got a quick reverse stick shot past the Belgium keeper. Minutes later the equaliser came from Jonty Robinson, only his second international goal, and what a time to score it! 2-2 at half time was probably a fair reflection on the game at that stage.”

The South Africans started the second half with just nine players after yellow cards were shown. But they stuck to the task and were dominating and Belgium then scored against the run of play through Cedric Charlier to make it 3-2.

“The turning point of the game came when Belgium were rightfully awarded a penalty stroke for a deliberate foul in the circle. Brendan Botes made a spectacular stick save to keep us in the game 10 minutes from the end of the game. With only five minutes on the clock Justin Reid-Ross rocketed a penalty corner flick in to make it 3-3. A fantastic finish under a great deal of pressure.

“By this time Belgium had also been given two yellows and looked tired. In the 70th minute their captain was also carded and with the numerical advantage on our side we found the extra player in the remaining seconds of the game. The ball fell to our free centre back Lloyd Madsen who had no hesitation and attacked the circle, firing the ball into the bottom right hand corner for a much deserved victory for Team South Africa!

China are going to prove a tough nut to crack for South Africa. Said Smith: “We have a poor track record with China, losing to them eight times in the past two years, the most notable of those at the Beijing Olympics when they scored a corner in the dying moments of the 11-12th play-off position. So we are are more than keen to break their winning streak!

In other action the host country, Argentina lost 3-2 to New Zealand and will miss out on the finals. In the other semi-final Pakistan faced India in an all-Asian encounter, with Pakistan coming out tops 6-3.

Pakistan now play New Zealand in the final with the winner winning automatic promotion into next year’s Champions Trophy.