Lightning halts SA's charge

2012-01-29 17:14

Randburg - The Investec Tri-Nations Series match between Belgium and the South Africa women's hockey team was abandoned with 26 minutes left due to persistent lightning around the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The tournament director waited for over an hour for conditions to improve before making the decision. SA were 1-0 up at the time.

Pietie Coetzee forced a penalty corner in the 14th minute and Kate Wood’s return pass to corner injector Marsha Marescia resulted in Lauren Penny scoring her second goal in her fifth Test.

It was fast-paced from the outset, both sides hitting the ball hard to receivers in a bid to create that split-second that might make the difference.

The competition for possession was fierce, the tight marking giving players precious little time and space in which to make the next pass.

The first real chance came in the 14th minute when Marescia’s pass-right to Nicolene Terblanche culminated in Coetzee winning the PC and Penny scoring the goal (1-0).

Woods was in commanding form in central defence, the Athens and Beijing Olympian decisive in thought and deed.

In the 21st a neat layoff by Penny saw Kathleen Taylor unfortunate not to score. Belgium also came close on two occasions while their opening PC was saved by SA goalkeeper Mariette Rix.

Marescia was everywhere, the double Olympian covering impressive ground in attack and defence, while Terblanche was putting together back-to-back quality performances after her starring role in SA’s 1-0 win over Ireland on Saturday.

Perhaps the umpires might have been stricter on what appeared to be deliberate breakdowns perpetrated by defenders on attackers that negated skilful play and restricted the flow of the match at crucial times.

After four minutes in the second half Coetzee got in a shot and then another five minutes later but with 26 minutes left play was suspended due to lightning.

Belgium meet Ireland at 19:00 on Monday while SA are back in action against Ireland on Tuesday at the same time.