Stirring fightback earns South African women victory over Americans

2014-04-29 00:00

A SLICK United States, technically sound and intelligent manipulators of space, ran the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team ragged in the first half to lead 1-0 in the Champions Challenge at the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow yesterday, but a remarkable fightback after the change over saw the girls in green and gold beat the world’s 10th-ranked North Americans 2-1.

An excellent recovery by Nicolene Terblanche, who then relayed the ball to Dirkie Chamberlain, resulted in SA striker Lilian du Plessis showing the composure that made for a superb finish — and the winner — in the 50th minute, this after Lisa Deetlefs had beaten U.S. goalkeeper Jackie Kintzner with a powerful penalty corner slap shot five minutes earlier (45th).

Katie O’Donnell stole along the right-hand baseline in the most confined of spaces to open the scoring in the 12th minute and had it not been for a whole host of saves by SA goalkeeper Anelle van Deventer, the U.S. would have led by a bigger margin going into the second half.

“The U.S. played very well in the first half, moved the ball well, very strong, a very clever game, we were always a yard off the pace,” said SA head coach Giles Bonnet.

Yet Van Deventer’s saves, left and right, many at close-range, kept the lively U.S. forwards out — and her team in the match — and Bonnet was full of praise for his ’keeper.

“At half-time, I said: ‘We didn’t play to our ability and thanks to Anelle, we are still in the game. We now have the chance to turn it around, so we have two choices: we can sit back and let Anelle try and keep us in the game for another half and then lose, or we can go win the game’. So thanks to Anelle, we were able to do that.

“In the second half, we decided to put more pressure, lift the game and lift what we were doing, and we saw in the second half that we have the in-house capacity in the team to do that.”

World number 11 SA now have a handy four points from two matches, having been held to a 2-2 draw by world number 15 Ireland on day one, this despite the girls in green and gold missing a handful of chances.

Bonnet believes there is still much to do as South Africa look forward to their final pool B match against world number 14 Spain at 10.30 am (SA time) tomorrow before Thursday’s quarter-finals.

“The second half was disappointing in the number of chances we created that we didn’t convert. We should have finished off the game. So there is still a lot of work to do in the kitchen.”


South Africa (0) 2 (Lisa Deetlefs 45th minute, Lilian du Plessis 50th)

U.S. (1) 1 (Katie O’Donnell 16th)


Starting: Anelle van Deventer, Lisa Deetlefs, Lenise Marais, Quanita Bobbs, Marsha Cox (captain), Shelley Russell, Bernie Coston, Tarryn Bright, Dirkie Chamberlain, Sulette Damons, Celia Evans. Rolling subs: Sanani Mangisa, Nicolene Terblanche, Illse Davids, Marcelle Manson, Kelly Madsen, Lilian du Plessis, Kathleen Taylor.

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