SA men go down 6-0 to Aussies in London | SASCOC - SASCOC

SA men go down 6-0 to Aussies in London

By Mark Etheridge in London

Defender Andrew Cronje celebrated his 100th Test Cap as our men’s hockey side opened their Olympic campaign with a tough match against Australia at the Riverbank Arena on Monday.

But that was pretty much the only thing that the South Africans celebrated as they went down 6-0, the same six-goal margin suffered by our women’s side who lost 7-1 to Argentina on Sunday.

The Group A preliminary stage match got underway at a cracking tempo in breezy conditions and the floodlights switched on under cloudy skies. It was immediately  end to end action and Australia had the first penalty corner in the fifth minute but the effort from the left was nicely blocked by a combination of defenders.

A nasty collision between Thornton McDade and Aussie ‘keeper Nathan Burgers saw both men receiving treatment.

Shortly after that tempers flared in the Aussie area and Tim Deavin was handed a green-card and a two-minute penalty for lashing out.

Then in the 16th minute it was Australia who were handed a penalty stroke after a hand prevented the ball entering the goal and captain Jamie Dwyer beat Rassie Pieterse to put the Aussies 1-0 up.

With nine minutes to play South Africa had a let-off when a shot by Glenn Turner rattled Pieterse’s left-hand upright.

And a minute later a lovely through ball found Kieran Govers unmarked in the SA D but Pieterse did well to clear.

With five minutes to play Australia  looked to have doubled their score but a television referral showed ball had come off an Aussie foot before entering the net.

Less than two minutes before half-time Australia did in fact double their score after Matthew Butturini slid home after an attack down the left flank.

On the stroke of halftime SA’s Wade Paton was shown a green card and given a two-minute suspension.

The second half saw South Africa looking a way more composed and effective side and they strung some good passes together, with England based player Ian Haley showing some nice touches.

Eight minutes into the half Aussie No5 Chris Cierello was given a tw0-minute suspension. Immediately after his suspension ended he was in action and had a shot saved after a penalty corner. From the very next penalty corner his shot was too good for Pieterse and the 2008 Olympic bronze medallists were 3-0.

It got worse for coach Gregg Clark’s men a minute later as Dwyer netted his second score from a goalmouth mel├®e and SA were looking rather ragged.

But the South Africans refused to lie down and Thornton McDade did some good work down the left and Mark Knowles was given a five-minute yellow-card suspension.

SA had a let-off with 15 minutes to go when Russell Ford rounded Pieterse but duffed his reverse-stick shot with an open goal beckoning.

But the relentless Aussie onslaught showed no sign of letting up and with 12 minutes to go Dwyer bagged his hat-trick as he nailed his second penalty stroke.

With just under 10 minutes to play Lloyd Norris-Jones had a nice run down the left but not even a full-stretch dive failed to deliver an effective cross.

Things got worse with eight minutes to go as the Aussies unlocked the SA defence once again and the shaven-headed Glenn Turner made it 6-0.

Pieterse then pulled off a fine save with three minutes to go and from the resulting counter-attack by the South Africans, Aussie Simon Orchard’s game was over as he was handed a yellow card and five-minute suspension.