Cape Town - It was the strangest of Test
matches, the South African women’s hockey team looking like champions in the opening
20 minutes to lead 2-0 before Belgium came back to dominate the rest of this
fourth encounter of the six-match series at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Thursday
After a slow start, Belgium managed to
score a late goal to win 3-2.
The series is now perfectly poised at 1-1
with two Tests to play - on Sunday at midday and at 18:30 Monday.
Tests one and two between these
evenly-matched sides were drawn 1-1 and 2-2 respectively with SA clinching the
third Test thriller 3-2 on Wednesday.
There are back-to-back men’s matches, also
at Hartleyvale, between Belgium and Ireland on Saturday (15:00) and 14:00on
In the ninth minute concerted SA pressure
led to a second penalty corner and Lisa Deetlefs got off two successive shots
before Dirkie Chamberlain picked up the loose ball and coolly flicked high into
the net (1-0).
SA’s half-time lead was established in the
19th minute when Nicolene Terblanche’s long ball down the middle rebounded
unexpectedly and captain for the day Sulette Damons was on hand to volley home
However, that was where SA’s control ended
as Belgium’s Jill Boon, captain Lieselotte van Lindt, Barbara Nelen and Anouk
Raes began combining to such good effect that they were able to prise open
space and with it the time to cause a bagful of problems for the SA defence.
Goalkeeper Hanli Hatting made a series of
excellent saves and well-timed interventions coming off her line and there were
impressive performances in particular by Erin Hunter, Deetlefs and the
ever-consistent Terblanche, but SA couldn’t get the ball and when they did the
Belgians quickly won it back again.
One minute into the third chukka (31st)
Anne-Sophie Weyns netted in fine fashion for the Belgians to pull one back and
in the 40th it was primary penalty corner weapon Stephanie de Groof’s time to
pick her spot (2-2).
Three minutes from full-time, first-wave
penalty corner defender Damons did exceptionally well to block a De Groof
strike but the ball fell nicely for the series’ leading goal-scorer to rifle a
stunning backhand that rocketed high into the net for the Europeans to tie the
SA: Hanli Hattingh (GK), Lisa Deetlefs,
Erin Hunter, Christine Roos, Nicolene Terblanche, Illse Davids, Shelley
Russell, Bernie Coston, Lilian du Plessis, Sulette Damons (capt), Dirkie
Chamberlain. Rolling subs: Sanani Mangisa (GK), Nicole Walraven, Demi du Toit,
Cornell Botha, Quanita Bobbs, Line Malan, Candice Manuel.
Belgium: Megane Simons (GK), Anne-Sophie
Scheemaekere, Aline Fobe, Stephanie de Groof, Anouk Raes, Judith Vandermeiren,
Emilie Sinia, Barbara Nelen, Stephanie van den Borre, Jill Boon, Joanne
Peeters. Rolling subs: Aisling D’Hooghe (GK), Louise Cavenaile, Emma Pervez,
Anne-Sophie Weyns, Manon Simons, Lieselotte van Lindt (capt), Caroline
Umpires: Lyndal Robertson, Wanri Venter.
Remaining fixtures (All at Hartleyvale):
Friday: Rest day
Saturday - Men: Belgium v Ireland (15:00)
Sunday - Women: South Africa vs Belgium (12:00);
Men: Belgium v Ireland (14:00)
Monday - SA v Belgium (18:00)
Tickets: R30. Gates open an hour before