SA women win Tri-Nations
Randburg - Goals from Kate Woods (2), Dirkie Chamberlain (2) and Kathleen Taylor gave the South Africa women’s hockey team a thrilling 5-3 victory over a game Belgium in the Tri-Nations match at Randburg Hockey Stadium on Wednesday night.
The scores were locked 2-2 at half-time.
Stephanie de Groof, Sofie Gierts and Charlotte de Vos scored for the Europeans, but the win ensured that captain Marsha Marescia’s have won the Tri-Nations Series.
SA now have eight log points from their four matches, while Belgium have four points and Ireland are on one point. Thursday’s clash (19:00) between the Belgians and Ireland here is the last match left in the competition.
The Irish fly home after Thursday night’s match while Friday is a rest day for SA and Belgium before they tackle each other in a separate, two-Test series at 14:00 on Saturday and 11:00 on Sunday respectively at Randburg.
SA have a few days’ rest before they fly to the crucial Olympic Qualifier Tournament in Delhi on February 15, the event where SA must win the gold medal to gain automatic entry to the London 2012 Olympic Games in July/August.
World record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee was rested for the second consecutive match.
In the third minute Belgian captain De Vos won the first penalty corner and Stephanie de Groof’s fast, low shot clattered into the backboard for the opening goal . Two minutes later Jade Mayne forced SA’s first PC and Woods made not mistake with a sweetly-timed strike.
In the 14th minute Gierts conjured up a superb reverse-stick strike that whistled into the net to restore Belgium’s one-goal margin.
Belgium were working on closing down the SA ball carrier but Shelley Russell broke free to set up Marescia, whose shot at goal won the girls in green and gold’s third corner. The move perfected in practice worked a treat and Woods’s pinpoint pass saw Chamberlain equalise with a magnificent deflection after 22 minutes.
Not 25 seconds after the changeover Russell instigated a stunning move that went to Marescia, who one-touched to Mayne, the cross being helped past the keeper by an on-song Chamberlain for SA to take the lead for the first time (3-2).
But De Vos made something out of nothing for the equaliser in the 41st minute (3-3).
With 10 minutes left, SA drew away from Belgium with a corner goal from Woods and one from field play by Taylor soon after (5-3).