SA hockey men crush Czechs

2012-04-28 07:34

Kakamigahara - The South Africa men’s hockey team chalked up their second win of the Olympic Qualifier Tournament here in Japan on Saturday when they ground out a 6-2 victory over an obdurate Czech Republic.

The South Africans led 4-1 at half-time.

The ugly, ill-tempered affair did not do justice to the most beautiful of spring days and sin-bin cards did little to cool tempers.

Justin Reid-Ross took his tally to six in the tournament with a field goal and penalty corner (PC), while field goals from Tim Drummond, Lloyd Norris-Jones, Lance Louw and Thornton McDade completed the SA scoring.

Martin Seemann and Stepan Bernatek netted field goals for the Czechs.

Second-favourites Japan beat the Czechs 6-0 on day one while top seeds South Africa had accounted for minnows Brazil 11-1.

The stakes rise significantly for South Africa on Monday when they take on third-favourites China at 18:30 (11:30 SA time).

In the third minute an inspired Andrew Cronje through-ball to Julian Hykes was followed by a strong Ian Haley snap shot, which brought the first PC. Reid-Ross made no mistake, his drag-flick ricocheting off keeper Filip Neusser’s glove (1-0).

In the seventh the disruptive Czech defenders couldn’t stop Hykes from threading his way through for Drummond to finish (2-0). Haley then set up Wade Paton whose reverse-stick rocket flashed over the crossbar.

With South Africa playing all the hockey, the match threatened to get ugly as delayed tactics negated the free flow of the game and a Czech was consigned to the sidelines, but completely against the run of play Seemann did very well to pull a goal back (2-1).

Norris-Jones got in two shots and Hykes one as South Africa regained composure, and with seven minutes left in-form SA skipper Austin Smith set up Norris-Jones for a great goal, the striker running intelligently into space before finishing with aplomb (3-1).

Martin Babicky shot just wide at the other end before Smith teed up for Lance Louw to nail South Africa’s fourth after the left-side defender had stolen up the left flank unnoticed (4-1).

With two minutes left SA keeper Rassie Pieterse saved from Stepan Bernatek before first wave Jonty Robinson ran down the Czech’s first PC, preventing potent drag-flicker Tomas Prochazka from making his presence felt. On half-time SA’s second PC was comfortably saved by Neusser.

Five minutes after the changeover the Czechs grabbed a rare bite of possession and Bernatek buried his shot into the backboard (4-2). Norris-Jones played intelligently to earn South Africa’s third PC but again it was saved.

With 20-odd minutes left, both sides squared up toe to toe and tempers threatened to boil over into something extremely serious. Vilem Topek was sin-binned.

Drummond won possession and South Africa came close to scoring their fifth as the entire Czech team were massed in the defensive third.

More sin-bin cards were dished out. Undaunted, the Proteas kept playing the hockey and Reid-Ross scored from out left, further underlining South Africa’s massive advantage in entries into the strike zone (5-2).

Five minutes from time the Czechs won a disputed PC - and then another - as tempers again flared to breaking point, and the slip left to Bernatek was palmed away by Pieterse. Then Hykes pressured a Czech into error and strike partner McDade finished superbly (6-2).

SA line-up:

Goalkeeper: Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng).

Defenders: Andrew Cronje (Western Province), Justin Reid-Ross (Northern Blues), Lance Louw (SG), Lloyd Madsen (KZN Coastal Raiders).

Midfielders: Jonty Robinson (NB), Clinton Panther (SG), Austin Smith (capt, WP), Tim Drummond (KCR), Wade Paton (KCR), Taine Paton (KCR).

Strikers: Ian Haley (WP), Marvin Harper (KCR), Lloyd Norris-Jones (WP), Julian Hykes (Amathole-Border), Thornton McDade (SG).

Rested: Goalkeeper Michael Smith (Witwatersrand), Rhett Halkett (NB).

SA match programme:

April 26: South Africa 11 Brazil 1; April 28: South Africa 6 Czech Republic 2; April 30: vs China (11:30 SA time); May 2: vs Japan (09:00 SA time); May 4: vs Austria (11:30 SA time); May 6: Classification matches (5/6 places); (3/4 places); final (08:00 SA time).

Tim Drummond takes the ball up for South Africa despite the close attentions of Czech Republic's Martin Babicky. (Photo: Stanislas Brochier)


  • Marko - 2012-04-28 08:54

    Well done guys, you must qualify for the Olimpics!

  • Jayson - 2012-04-28 09:05

    Czech mate!!

  • colin.dovey - 2012-04-28 09:07

    Chinese next - Monday just after 11 am SA time - go for it and Good Luck!

  • martin.gee.godfrey - 2012-04-28 10:01

    Let's hope they win and that SASCOC (or SasCocks as I like to call them) don't try and find another way to bar them fom the Olympics.

  • Jacques - 2012-04-28 10:23

    What boytjies! Congratulations, guys! Keep it up, it's good to see such drive in the tean in spite of all the politics and off-the-field stuff going on.

  • Steve Elske - 2012-04-28 11:14

    Go TEAM!!!! Congrats to the SA hockey MENS. Keeping the flag flying with pride.

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