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SA hockey sides lose to Netherlands and China at World Cup
- Updated: June 9, 2014
Our national men and women’s hockey sides both tasted World Cup defeat in the Netherlands on Sunday.
First the women went down 4-3 in a heart-stopping defeat to China and then the men shipped seven goals and got on to the scoreboard once themselves against rampant host nation Holland.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿Jon Cook writes that the chanting, singing, Mexican wave-riding home fans, dressed almost as one in orange at a jam-packed Kyocera Stadium, were inspirational as the Dutchmen led SA 4-0 at half-time in this Group B match.
Still, South Afria got a standing ovation from the crowd for their spirited effort, despite the defeat.
The Oranje’s goals came from Seve van Ass, Valentin Verga, Jeroen Hertzberger, Robbert Kemperman (2), Biller Bakker and Sander Baart while SA netted a penalty corner via the stick of Justin Reid-Ross.
The Oranje are in irresistible form in this World Cup and Van Ass opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he breached the goalline from close range.
After SA had mounted some promising attacks the classy Verga made inroads through the right channel before nailing his shot past goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse for the Netherlands to go 2-0 up in the 11th minute.
The Group B log leaders continued the pressure in front of their adoring fans but it was Taine Paton of SA who had the Dutch defence on the alert before Dutch captain Robert van der Horst tested Pieterse with a sizzling (reverse-stick) tomahawk blast.
The first penalty corner came in the 12th minute and Hertzberger’s option to go low paid off for the Dutch to go 3-0 up. While SA were struggling to string a series of passes together, Holland were finding their target men in ample space and Wouter Jolie’s tomahawk screamer smashed into the woodwork and stayed out.
Holland made it 4-0 in the 33rd minute through Kemperman’s faultless strike. Three minutes after the re-start (38th minute) Kemperman got his brace with a stunning shot that bulged the net, the Dutch going 5-0 up.
SA striker Lloyd Norris-Jones broke into the strike zone shortly after but couldn’t make contact while in the 41st Bakker made it 6-0 with another brilliant Dutch strike. Pierre de Voux got in a shot at the other end and umpire Raghu Prasad of India awarded South Africa a PC but the decision was overturned after a Dutch referral to the video umpire.
In the 47th SA captain Austin Smith, showing excellent pace and ball control, broke into the strike zone and his snapshot was stopped by keeper Jaap Stockmann.
In the final quarter Pieterse made five fine saves from PCs and open play before Lloyd Norris-Jones forced a save from replacement keeper Pirmin Blaak.
With 12 minutes left Jonty Robinson won a PC for SA and the outcome was a brilliant stop by Blaak from Rhett Halkett’s well-placed shot.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿In the 60th minute Ignatius Malgraff’s close control earned SA’s second PC and Reid-Ross’s rocket drag-flick threatened to break the back of the net.
The African champions had pulled one back (6-1) but Baart restored Holland’s five-goal margin in the 65th when he broke into the strike zone from the left channel and let rip past Pieterse (7-1).
Reid-Ross came close from field play at the death but at the final whistle the score remained 7-1 to Holland.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿Bottom-placed SA now play second-placed Argentina in their fifth and final Group B match at 10.30am Tuesday.
Earlier world No7 China beat the world’s 11th-ranked Investec SA women’s team after leading 2-0 at half-time.
On balance SA could have won the match, but it was not to be.
In the fifth minute the Chinese forwards found a way through and their second penalty corner saw keeper Anelle van Deventer make a fine reflex save but the ball somehow dribbled over the goalline from Mengrong Wu and it was 1-0.
Nicolene Terblanche got in for in a shot at the other end before Dirkie Chamberlain’s effort forced SA’s first PC but Pietie Coetzee’s conventional shot flashed past the post.
In the 11th another chance came SA’s way but Chamberlain’s great ball from the right evaded sticks when a goal seemed almost certain.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿Coetzee then made a superb tackle as did left half Quanita Bobbs to keep the tricky Chinese attackers from making shots on goal.
The pace continued unabated and a Damons deflection looped over the crossbar (see her in action right).ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿ Disaster struck SA in the 125th when a defensive lapse let in Meiyu Liang and her pass to Wu was duly converted (2-0).
Lisa Deetlefs’ PC slapshot was then blocked by a Chinese defender and then it was the fast-breaking Chinese who won two consecutive PCs, the first stopped on the line by captain Marsha Cox, the second saved by the keeper.
A great counter resulted in SA earning another PC and Coetzee’s drag-flick was palmed away by keeper Dongxiao Li.
SA made several more strike-zone entries until three consecutive PCs went their way following excellent build-up, but the Chinese survived.
With two minutes left Damons’ extreme pace outflanked the China defence but her superb flat cross at full stretch from the right wing found no SA attackers on hand to deflect home.
Turning around 2-0 down, SA had a mountain to climb in keeping alive their chance of moving into third place in Group B, with one round still to play.
Sanani Mangisa had replaced Van Deventer in goal and SA started well, making several strike zone entries and getting in a couple of shots, and finally there was joy in the 42nd minute for SA when Tarryn Bright’s pinpoint pass found Kelly Madsen who made no mistake (2-1).
SA continued the pressure but it was China who broke down the left to set up Wang Na for a superb strike and the Asians had restored their two-goal cushion after 53 minutes (3-1).
With 11 minutes left the statistics reflected that SA had dominated the game and six PCs to four was just one more in the African champions’ favour.
Coston hit the post from field play with nine left and then got her goal when she tapped-in in the 62nd minute following Kathleen Taylor’s shot for the score to go to 3-2.
An on-fire SA then forced a PC in the 66th minute (four minutes left) and world record goalscorer Coetzee made it 3-3 for her 281st goal in her 285th Test match.
But the joy was short-lived as Mengyu Wang made the score 4-3 with a pinpoint PC strike in the 68th for the 4-3 final score to China.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿SA appealed for a PC with 45 seconds left but to no avail.
Now SA need to beat log leaders the USA in their final Group B match at 2.30pm on Tuesday and hope that bottom-placed England overcome Germany’s challenge for the South Africans to finish fourth in the Group and have a shot at an unprecedented seventh place in the classification matches.
Picture: STANISLAS BRACHIER