SA lose to Netherlands and face Aussies in semi-final | SASCOC - SASCOC

SA lose to Netherlands and face Aussies in semi-final

By Mark Etheridge
at Hartleyvale

South Africa will take on Australia in the semi-finals of hockey’s Investec Challenge in Cape Town on Saturday.

That, after Thursday night’s final round robin games saw South Africa go down 3-1 to a slick Netherlands outfit at a windy┬á Hartleyvale astro-turf complex.

A goal by Irene van den Dassen in the 14th minute saw the Dutch leading 1-0 at halftime. The visitors had the ball in the net again six minutes later through captain Maartjie Paumen but the goal was over-ruled after consultation by the match officials.

South Africa certainly had their chances in the first half but the Dutch defence was up to everything world leading goalscorer Pietie Coetzee could throw at them.

Chances also went begging when, after some good work by young Quanita Bobbs down the middle, Sulette Damons first blazed high and wide from out left and barely a minute later telegraphed a shot that was easily read by the imposing figure of ‘keeper Joyce Sombroek..

And at the other end Sombroke’s counterpart, Sanani Mangisa was a busy figure, pulling off a great save from a crisp reverse-stick shot by Ellen Hoog.

The second half didn’t get off to the start that coach Giles Bonnet would have wanted as Paumen scored a scrappy goal three minutes after the resumption. Mangisa had already made another great save when Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel had found herself unmarked.

The Dutch wrapped the game up to all intents and purposes with Paumen netted from a penalty corner 13 minutes into the half. It was her 125th goal, a record by a Netherlands player.

Consolation came South Africa’s way when, with three minutes to go, co-captain Marsha Marescia netted with her second attempt after another penalty corner.

But Bonnet will take heart from his charges. Shelley Russell was her usual dynamic self down the right flank, and while Coetzee couldn’t find the mark on this occasion, she remains a constant threat.

And lets not forget that this Dutch side is slickness personified with great pace on and off the ball, confident decision making and, all importantly, an ability to bury the majority of chances that come their way.

After beating the Hockeyroos in the round-robin game, South Africa will have high hopes of advancing to the final on Sunday where, they will in all probability, have a second crack at the Oranje machine.

England will be the Netherlands’ opponents in Saturday’s first semi-final. In Thursday night’s earlier game, Australia beat England by the same margin as the Netherlands-SA game.