Cape Town - The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team were upset 1-0 by underdogs Chile to tie the four-Test series 2-2 at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Tuesday night.
The result left one of the more astonishing series in a deadlock, yet the results suggest it should never have been so.
SA were comfortable winners of the first Test 4-2 last week and the outcome never appeared in much doubt. Then it was the Chileans who came out of the starting blocks against a relatively inexperienced, untried SA team in the second Test – when several senior players were rested for various reasons – and came out 2-0 winners.
At 1-1 in the series, the SA girls, more or less at full strength again amongst the squad here, blitzed Chile off the park 6-0 with two rampant phases that realised three goals either side of half-time, and each time those trio of strikes were scored inside six minutes of sheer mayhem.
Those second and third chukkas indicated exactly what this SA team is capable of.
Leading 2-1 in the series and determined not to lose it, the SA team started like a house on fire Tuesday, moving the ball beautifully around the park and threatened to overwhelm Chile the same way they did just 20-odd hours before, but there was one glaring problem – umpteen attacks broke down inside the attacking 23-metre area as well in the strike zone.
It is a maxim of sport that if you don’t take your chances it can come back at bite you – and so it proved, the impressive striker Manuela Urroz getting a tip-in off captain Camila Caram’s conventional hit at a penalty corner in the 52nd minute.
The last eight minute witnessed frenetic action but Chile emerged unscathed to retain their 1-0 lead to square the series 2-2.
SA will have to pick themselves up quickly, as they host Belgium Wednesday at 18:30.