Mixed emotions for SA as men draw and women win

2008-01-14 00:00

THERE was disappointment for the SA men’s hockey side and elation for their female counterparts in Test matches over the weekend.

In Durban, the men drew 2-2 against Great Britain on Saturday, this comes after they led the men from the British Isles 2-1 with five minutes to go. The women, meanwhile, beat Ireland 4-0 in Stellenbosch on Saturday after leading 1-0 at half-time.

As against Canada, the SA men started slowly and the visitors impressed with their quick build-up and individual skills, penetrating the home circle to create some heart-stopping moments for in-form goalkeeper Chris Hibbert, which later included a fearful blow to the groin. Ian Haley was again full of ideas with his close control but the striker did not get enough ball as Britain read the passes.

Admirable captain Bruce Jacobs helped pull the SA team together as the half wore on and Lloyd Madsen injected a welcome sense of urgency in launching attacks from the back with early, accurate passing.

Eleven minutes after half-time the influential Ian Symons netted a clinical penalty stroke following work by SA frontrunners Emile Smith and Thornton McDade (1-0). But Britain hit back immediately and good build-up by Barry Middleton resulted in Ashley Jackson’s drag-flick penalty corner evading Hibbert and the SA defence (1-1).

Disciplinary cards to both sides were issued by the umpires as matters intensified.

The two Bens — Moore and Marsden — plus Jonty Clarke, Rob Moore and captain Glenn Kirkham upped the challenge for the British, but SA were equally busy as Shanyl Balwanth came close before Marvin Bam made it 2-1 following a neat Eric Rose-Innes free-hit. Once again the visitors bounced back quickly and stunning work by Middleton led to James Tindall’s deflection goal (2-2) with two minutes to go.

In Stellenbosch, meanwhile, the Spar SA women put four past the Irish via Henna du Buisson (2), Jen Wilson and Marcelle Keet.

Upcoming fixtures Men at Queensmead in Durban: SA vs Canada (today, 6 pm); SA vs Great Britain (tomorrow, 6 pm). Women at Hartleyvale in Cape Town: Spar SA vs Ireland (tomorrow, 7 pm).

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