SA men stretch unbeaten run
Lloyd Norris-Jones (Gallo)
Johannesburg - The SA men's hockey team stretched their unbeaten run at the World League Round Two tournament, defeating Trinidad and Tobago 10-2 after leading 6-1 at half-time in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday.
Marcus James shocked the South Africans in the fourth minute to open the scoring, but Lloyd Norris-Jones drew the SA men level two minutes later when he nailed a reverse-stick rocket shot from an acute angle.
In the 10th minute, South Africa created a stunning move down the right, with 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, giving his side the lead for the first time in the game.
Norris-Jones finished off another sublime move with a superb strike as the South Africans continued to switch the ball at pace across the full width of the pitch, and midfielder Clint Panther finished off from close range, stretching the advantage to 4-1.
The match evened out somewhat until a De Voux snap-flick in the 25th minute made it 5-1, before Tim Drummond breached the defence and scored on the half-hour mark.
Three minutes into the second period, Austin Smith scythed through the left channel before teeing up Julian Hykes to smash a first-time backhand shot that clattered into the backboard.
Trinidad and Tobago won a penalty corner in the 45th minute but a spreadeagled Rassie Pieterse in goal was up for it, and Atiba Whittington’s attempt on the rebound was cleared off the line by Drummond.
With less than 20 minutes remaining, great control and layoff by Miguel da Graca on the right saw Jonty Robinson upended in the strike zone by an overzealous defender and SA earned a penalty stroke that was converted by Matt Guise-Brown.
Taine Paton then fed the ball to Da Graca who slapped in at the near post, and a minute later Hykes drilled a full-blast backhand into the backboard as South Africa took a 10-1 lead.
Christopher Scipio pulled one back with 13 minutes left.
South Africa meet world number 10 Argentina in their next match on Sunday.