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Bell, Norris-Jones find the target as SA down Spain
- Updated: January 21, 2016
The world’s 15th ranked South African men’s hockey team ended world No11 Spain’s unbeaten run in scintillating fashion with a 2-1 victory at Hartleyvale on Wednesday night.
Western Province and WPCC Jockeys club star striker Lloyd Norris-Jones nailed the winner on the back hand into the far corner with 24 seconds left in this pulsating Test match.
Maties and WP penalty corner drag-flick ace Daniel Bell had equalised for SA with six minutes left in the match, this after Spain had gone 1-0 up in the second chukka when a lapse in concentration in defence opened the path for Miki Delas to net a deflection goal.
Turning around 1-0 down, after playing against the wind in the first half, SA played with grace and style to delight the home crowd.
SA head coach Fabian Gregory was full of praise for his young, untried and inexperienced team. ‘It was a magnificent performance, we could have been in front by two goals early on in fact. Playing against the wind or not, against world stars or not, these youngsters don’t know the meaning of fear.
‘And the experience and know-how of the likes of captain Rhett Halkett, Jethro Eustice and so on has shown also that everyone has answered the challenges of raising the team standard.’
Gregory said defensively SA were fantastic for the most part while he could not say enough about the value every single one of the SA squad players – including those outside the 18 that took on Spain – brought to the party.
‘The lads played like Trojans and I am very chuffed to say we were full value in defeating a Rio Olympic Games team. A great night for SA hockey.’
University of Cape Town student Charlie Bowren certainly has a good tale to tell his grandkids one day. It’s not every day that a SA men’s hockey team debutant gets to beat a country that’s qualified for the Olympic Games.
In the picture SA players celebrate Bell’s goal at Hartleyvale. Picture courtesy of Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images