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Hockey’s double delight

It was a great day for South African hockey on Thursday as both our men and women’s side recorded convincing victories on different continents.

First up, the men beat eight-time Olympic gold medallists India 3-1 in Delhi after leading 2-0 at half-time, the goals coming from a Lloyd Madsen penalty stroke in the 21st minute, Ian Haley on the half-time whistle and his younger brother Craig in the 55th minute. Ace penalty corner drag-flicker Sandeep Singh netted for India in the 49th minute.

Then in Randburg Marsha Marescia’s women’s side beat arch-rivals Spain by the same tally.

Speaking from Delhi, a delighted men’s captain, Austin Smith said: “It was a great performance and the first time the South African men’s team have have beaten India since 2004. “We moved the ball exceptionally well and put India under a lot of pressure, closing down their space, while our basics were far better.”

The five-Test series now stands at 2-1 to India after they won the first and second Tests 4-0 and 2-1 respectively.

Later in the day a fired-up Investec South Africa women’s team leveled the series 1-1 with two to play. The first international was drawn 1-1 while Spain won the second 3-2.

Carlota Petchame opened the scoring for Spain but goals from Lenise Marais, Pietie Coetzee and Kim Hubach sealed South Africa’s win and set up intriguing fourth and fifth Tests on Saturday and Sunday at the same Randburg venue.

In the second minute Kate Woods moved the ball to Lesle-Ann George, who relayed to Shelley Russell, the superb attacking midfielder making ground before lashing a rising shot that was gloved away by goalkeeper Isabel Barguno. Spain immediately countered and Marais saved on the line before brilliant SA keeper Sanani Mangisa made a crucial save.

With the first quarter drawing to a close, Mangisa made a glove save, as did Barguno from Pietie Coetzee. At 12 to half-time Spain won a hotly-disputed PC, which SA somehow managed to scramble away but six minutes later the Spaniards’ use of the long ball evaded the defensive screen once again and Carlota Petchame smashed high into the net (1-0).

SA had a great chance two minutes from half-time when strikers Sulette Damons and Coetzee combined but it was not to be. But they didn’t have to wait long as two minutes after the break a neat SA move earned their first PC and trapper Lenise Marais recovered quickly from the wayward injection pass to score the equaliser from the edge of the strike zone (1-1).

Three minutes later George supplied a defence-splitting pass to Coetzee whose powerful shot dribbled off the keeper’s pads over the goalline for a soft goal that nevertheless heralded her 228th in 231 Test matches (2-1). Soon after, Coetzee’s third PC brought out a stunning stick save Barguno low to her right. Midway, Spain’s third PC was intercepted by first wave Damons and soon after Coetzee was stick-checked in the strike zone.

The variation left saw Kate Woods’s power shot strike a defender in the goals with Barguno beaten and Kim Hubach slotted the penalty stroke for 3-1 in the 54th minute.

From the re-start Russell set up Chamberlain, who effort was superbly saved before Kathleen Taylor forced another top save. Spain then missed an open goal, which summed up their night.


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