SA go through after thrashing India

2012-02-23 00:00

A FANTASTIC effort during the last quarter of the match in the 5-2 win over India yesterday ensured the South African women’s hockey team are through to the final of the Olympic qualifier tournament, which takes place at 4.30 pm in New Delhi on Saturday.

A superb Dirkie Chamberlain hat-trick and an impressive brace from fellow striker Sulette Damons was enough to douse the fire of a spirited India, who had fought their way back to 2-2 midway through the second half after trailing 2-1 at half-time.

Yesterday’s win means that SA are on 10 points, with Italy on eight and India on seven.

In the last round of league competition India and Italy meet at 2.30 pm tomorrow. A draw will take Italy to the final against South Africa, but India must win to reach the final and knock Italy out of the reckoning at the same time.

SA meet Canada at 10.30 am tomorrow and the result will have no bearing on the girls in green and gold taking their place in the gold medal match, the outcome of which will ensure the victor a berth at the London 2012 Olympic Games in July and August.

In the 13th minute Kate Woods’s third penalty corner attempt was a powerful straight shot at goalkeeper Yogita Bali, and striker Chamberlain finished off the rebound for the opening goal for SA.

India equalised in the 23rd minute from their third penalty, which was struck home by captain Asunta Lakra.

SA’s Tarryn Bright was in outstanding form as the attacking midfielder, but it was captain Marsha Marescia’s pass to Shelley Russell that set up the second goal just three minutes from half-time when the superb Chamberlain knocked the rebound into the net.

SA were hit by a series of Indian attacks and penalty corners, including a cracking Rani Rampal shot from field play that cannoned into the post.

Midway through the second half India equalised from their sixth penalty corner when Lakra’s shot was shovelled over the goal line by Soundarya Yendala.

At 2-2 with 17 minutes left the tide was with India, but SA went into overdrive and scored from the re-start when Bernadette Coston cut in from the left for striker Sulette Damons to round off and put head coach Giles Bonnet’s team back in front.

The goal galvanised the South African women and five minutes later a quick, accurate Nicolene Terblanche free-hit was met with the perfect deflection high into the net by hat-trick heroine Chamberlain to make the score 4-2.

Not to be outdone, Chamberlain’s strike partner Damons netted her second goal of the game after yet another superb assist from the hugely influential Kathleen Taylor.

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