Do-or-die tie for SA men’s hockey side against Austria

2015-01-08 00:00

THE South Africa men’s hockey team cannot afford to lose to Austria in the 6 pm third Test match at Queensmead in Durban today if they hope to keep the series alive.

A nail-biting 4-3 win in the second Test Tuesday night gave the Europeans a 1-0 lead in the series after Monday’s first encounter was drawn 1-1.

Tomorrow’s scheduled 2 pm fourth and final Test of the series at Queensmead has been moved forward to 1 pm in order to accommodate flight changes. The men in green and gold would dearly love to go into that clash knowing they could still at least leave the series tied or at best clinch the rubber.

So nothing less than a draw or win will suffice tonight and the do-or-die nature of this third Test match makes it likely that a crowd even bigger than the excellent support already provided by the fans will be in attendance.

SA, full of exciting new, untried players alongside a sprinkling of the tried and tested, have been absolutely superb in patches. But the wily, more experienced Austrians have too often managed to soak up the pressure and missed opportunities from the SA lads before punishing them against the run of play.

It has been both exhilarating and at times frustrating for SA supporters but the emergence of the new faces wearing South African colours at Test match level is surely the most memorable aspect of this series. There is no doubt that each and every player in head coach Fabian Gregory’s team will be giving it their all to level the series today.

RESULTS

1st Test: SA 1 Austria 1

2nd Test: SA 3 Austria 4

REMAINING TESTS

3rd Test: Thurs, 8 Jan (6pm)

4th and final Test: Fri, 9 Jan (1pm)

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