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Norris-Jones scores in his 100th Test as SA win 10-2

Our national men’s hockey team continued their fine goalscoring form as they beat Trinidad and Tobago 10-2 in the World League Round 2 match on Saturday, writes Jon Cook in Rio de Janeiro.

Coach Charlie Perreira’s men lead 6-1 at the break and it was a near-flawless performance, boding very well for their title hopes.

Marcus James shocked SA in the fourth minute to open the scoring but in the sixth minute Lloyd Norris-Jones drew SA level when he nailed a rocket reverse-stick rocket shot from an acute angle at the top right of the strike zone for a 51st goal in his 100th Test match (1-1).

In the 10th minute SA built a stunning move down the right, the ball going through seven sticks before centre back Jethro Eustice provided the final assist and Pierre de Voux slapped into the net for his maiden Test match goal (2-1).

In the 12th minute Norris-Jones finished off another sublime move with a superb strike as SA continued to switch the ball at pace across the full width of the Astro and in the process overload the T&T defenders onto one side (3-1).  Two minutes later midfielder Clint Panther finished off from close (4-1).

Three goals in just under five minutes signalled South Africa’s ability to turn on the charm almost at will and the challenge lies in maintaining this tempo, a high-octane brand of hockey that utilises the natural pace and athleticism of the men in green and gold.

The match evened out somewhat in the next 10 minutes until a De Voux snap-flick in the 25th minute after excellent SA preparation in the execution of the move made it 5-1.

The silky skills and intelligence of Tim Drummond enabled the classy midfielder to breach the defence in the 30th minute for a 6-1 half-time score.

Three minutes into the second half (38th minute) Austin Smith scythed through the left channel before teeing up Julian Hykes to smash a first-time backhand shot that clattered into the backboard (7-1).

As the rain then came teeming down, Ricky West and captain Rhett Halkett made superb flat-stick tackles as T&T threw everything into attack.

The Caribbean team then won a penalty corner in the 45th minute but a spreadeagled Rassie Pieterse in goal was up for it while Atiba Whittington’s slap on the rebound was cleared off the line by Drummond.

In the 52nd minute, great control and layoff by Miguel da Graca on the right-hand baseline saw Jonty Robinson upended in the strike zone by an overzealous defender and SA earned a penalty stroke that Matt Guise-Brown converted (8-1).

Taine Paton then fed Da Graca who slapped in at the near post for 9-1 in the 55th minute. In the 56th minute Hykes drilled a full-blast backhand into the backboard as SA proved they can be ruthless and relentless all in one (10-1).

Christopher Scipio finally pulled one back for the island team in the 57th (10-2).ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿SA meet favourites and world number 10 Argentina at 8.30pm (SA time) on Sunday.


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