SA win Marescia's 300th Test
Marsha Marescia is flanked by SA Hockey Association CEO Marissa Langeni and SAHA president Mike du Plessis (PLATE PICTURES)
Cape Town - There was little room to move for tournament outsiders Ghana on the second day of World League action at Hartleyvale on Tuesday night with South Africa women’s hockey team posting a 6-0 win after leading 4-0 at the break.
Dirkie Chamberlain netted a hat-trick and world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee bagged a brace including her 250th in 255 Tests, while Bernie Coston scored the other.
The match was pre-empted by the handing over of a bouquet of flowers to SA captain Marsha Marescia, who was playing her 300th Test match.
The scoring was opened when Chamberlain found space to pick her spot to pass goalkeeper Grace Mensah in the fifth minute.
Coetzee edged one closer to the magical 250-mark when she slotted the first SA penalty corner two minutes later to take her tally to 249.
Then a third SA goal came from their second penalty corner shortly after - and this time it was Tarryn Bright who powered her hit from the top of the strike zone to the far post, which Chamberlain deflected past the 'keeper.
Ghana’s Elizabeth Opoku and Monica Swell-Grant gave the SA defence an awkward moment or two during this encounter and they deserved a goal, but the girls in green and gold dominated for 90% of the clash.
With seven minutes to half-time Mensah thwarted what looked to be Coetzee’s 250th with a great glove save to her right.
But another goal had to come and Coston made it 4-0 five minutes from the interval after an SA penalty corner had initially gone wrong.
Turning around 4-0 up, good SA build-up along the right in the 43rd minute led to a reverse-stick shot by Coetzee which Mensah saved, only for Chamberlain to pick up the rebound and slam into the backboard for her hat-trick.
The gutsy Ghanaians played with sheer courage and determination, Coetzee denied on more than one occasion.
Chamberlain enjoyed a productive game and not only in front of goal - her workrate on and off the ball was impressive.
The true test for SA, of course, will come in the form of Belgium, who beat the South Africans 4-0 in a Test series last week.
In the other game played earlier, Azerbaijan beat Austria 2-1.