Hockey: SA women go down fighting in third test against Belgium

2011-07-26 00:00

ANTWERP — The South African women’s hockey team went down 3-1 to Belgium in the third and final Test yesterday, despite a number of excellent scoring opportunities in the second half of the match. South Africa outplayed Belgium in Saturday’s first Test with a 4-1 win while Sunday’s second Test was drawn 2-2, with yesterday’s result leaving the series outcome at 1-1.

The Royal Beerschot Hockey Centre bore witness to a thrilling encounter in which a determined SA did everything right but score in that fateful second half, although the Belgian umpires left a lot to be desired in the face of an excessively physical home side.

Nevertheless, five South African penalty corners were not converted and a handful of SA chances from field play went astray, while Belgium scored two penalty corners from two attempts plus a field goal, although both goalkeepers, SA’s Mariette Rix and Nadine Khouzam of Belgium, made some stunning saves.

Midway through the first half SA gave away a turnover and Belgium captain and striker Charlotte Vos deflected in a cross from the left wing.

SA were stringing together a series of well-constructed attacks and a superb equaliser ensued when right-half Nicolene Terblanche fed Jade Mayne, whose lay-off was buried by on-song striker Dirkie Chamberlain into the backboard past Khouzam.

Another turnover gave Belgium a soft penalty corner and Anouk Raes made no mistake for the 2-1 half-time lead.

After a number of SA chances went a-begging in the second half, Belgium scored completely against the run of play four minutes from time through Raes.

It was back on the road for the South African squad and their support staff yesterday afternoon as they travel to Ede in Holland for a two-Test series against the world’s number one-ranked Netherlands, with the first whistle at 4 pm tomorrow and again on Thursday.

Captain Marsha Marescia’s side then complete their punishing eight Test matches on the nine-day tour when they fly from Amsterdam to Dublin, where they will tackle Scotland on neutral territory, with the three-Test series taking place on Friday at 7 pm, Saturday at 3 pm and Sunday at 10 am.

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