Cape Town - The South Africa
men’s hockey team, who fielded six debutants, came within six minutes of
inflicting their first Test match defeat on Ireland in more than a decade at
Hartleyvale on Monday night.
Rio 2016 Olympic Games
qualifiers Ireland recovered from a 2-0 half-time deficit and then 3-2 down to
maintain an 11-match unbeaten run against South Africa that dates back to 1997.
Chris Cargo nailed the final equaliser with six minutes left on the clock for
Ireland to earn a 3-3 draw.
Lloyd Norris-Jones put SA in
front in the sixth minute when he got a touch in front of Ireland goalkeeper
Jamie Carr from a crash ball. Fellow striker Keenan Horne made the score 2-0
five minutes into the second quarter (20th minute) when he flicked home after
picking up the ball in mid-circle.
Six minutes into the second
half (36th), Kyle Good pulled a goal back for Ireland with a reverse-stick shot
before finishing off after good work from Lee Cole for the 2-2 equaliser four
minutes into the final quarter (49th).
Seven minutes from the end (53rd),
Daniel Bell regained the lead for South Africa with a powerful penalty corner
drag-flick into the bottom corner, but Chris Cargo ensured the entertaining
match finished all-square just a minute later (54th) when he turned the ball
over in midfield before surging forward and unreeling a great shot that rattled
SA head coach Fabian Gregory
praised the maturity of his young team.
“The boys played without
fear. You have to earn respect and that's what they went out to do. I think
half of the boys don't even know the Irish team.
"Seeing that we not
going to the Olympics we might as well start building now for the future and
the boys showed that they are eager and up for it. Overall I was pretty
impressed with their performance.
"The boys would have
loved to start off (the Hartleyvale Summer Series) with a victory; nevertheless
their hunger and determination was exceptional.”
“I'm pretty chuffed," Gregory concluded.
The early game was a training
match, with Spain edging Belgium 3-2.
The South Africans meet Spain
in an official Test match on Wednesday (18:00).
SA line-up: Gowan Jones,
Robin Jones, Daniel Bell, Rhett Halkett (captain), Dylan Swanepoel, Owen
Mvimbi, Dan Sibbald, Jonty Robinson, Keenan Horne, Ryan Crowe, Lloyd
Rolling subs: Taine Paton
(7th), Bili Ntuli (8th), Tevin Kok (9th), Reza Rosenberg (10th), Ryan Julius
(10th), Alex Stewart (11th), Rob McKinley (did not play).