SA women draw with Ireland
Marsha Marescia (Gallo Images)
Randburg - Ireland weathered an assault on their goalline by the South Africa women’s hockey team to draw their Tri-Nations match 1-1 here on Tuesday night.
In the 70 minutes, SA had 20 shots at goal including eight penalty corners, while Ireland had five shots including three corners.
Head coach Giles Bonnet’s SA team meet Belgium at 19:00 on Wednesday.
From the first whistle, SA went through 12 passes before Ireland gained possession but the green and whites got the first opportunity when a neat touch-on by Lisa Jacob to Aine Connery won the first penalty corner (PC) after five minutes.
SA Player of the Year in 2011, centre midfielder Tarryn Bright, returned for SA while world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee was rested.
In the ninth minute, Kate Woods fired a pass into the strike zone and Jade Mayne got in back-to-back shots before Dirkie Chamberlain deflected over the crossbar, but Ireland won a second PC at the other end awarded by Belgian umpire Laurine Delforge and Michelle Harvey evaded goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa’s outstretched left leg (1-0).
At 1-0 down after 13 minutes, the South Africans went back onto the attack from the re-start and a super roundabout run by Bernadette Coston earned the girls in green and gold’s first PC.
Play swung from goalmouth to goalmouth at pace and Chamberlain shot on the turn but goalkeeper Emma Gray saved - and saved again from Kathleen Taylor. Good work by SA captain Marsha Marescia and Chamberlain won a second PC and Woods’s shot was turned away near the post by Sinead McCarthy. Marescia won a third PC and SA then won a fourth, which hit the post after Woods’s powerful shot. A fifth PC came soon after and Ireland survived despite shots from Marescia and Lenise Marais.
Seconds into the second half Chamberlain forced SA’s sixth PC, which Gray saved . A defence-splitting Bright pass and Marescia layoff saw Ireland escape the goalmouth scramble. A stick-check on Shelley Russell brought SA’s seventh PC and Gray stick-saved diving low to her right from Marescia. Mayne won SA’s eighth PC as Ireland struggled to contain the waves of attacks – but Woods’s shot went wide. Then Lesle-Ann George lined up her shot but again the effort went wide.
A superb Chamberlain reverse-stick strike was brilliant saved by Gray before Cliodhna Sargent set up Jacob whose effort slipped past the post.
SA’s opportunity-creating hockey was finally rewarded in the 64th minute when Nicolene Terblanche took advantage of a backing off defence to slide the ball home (1-1).
Ireland came back hard with a field shot and a third PC, both superbly saved by Mangisa, while Taylor brought another remarkable save from Gray before Sulette Damons broke free but shot wide.