SA hockey women end on a high

2014-06-14 00:00

A 2-0 WIN over Japan gave the South Africa women’s hockey team a ninth place finish at the World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands yesterday.

And it was a fitting end to the 19-year career of one of sport’s most remarkable figures, world record goalscorer Pietie Coet­zee, who notched up her 282nd goal in her 287th Test match to give SA the lead in the 59th minute.

Coetzee’s penalty corner success, which came via a trademark drag-flick, was followed in the 69th minute when striker Dirkie Chamberlain scored from the penalty spot after fellow frontrunner Kathleen Taylor was upended in the strike zone.

World number 11 SA dominated against the world’s ninth-ranked team and the victory sets them up for successful July tournaments at the Investec Cup in London and Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Japan and SA were next-door-neighbours in the tournament hotel, but that’s where the neighbourliness ended with outstanding captain Marsha Cox’s charges overwhelmingly in control of the 70-minute match.

SA had double the number of incursions into the strike zone, one every three minutes, and crucially — unlike the matches they should have won but didn’t — four out of five shots at goal were on target, leaving Japan goalkeeper Yuka Yoshikawa with plenty to do.

The stopper made a number of fine saves, while at the other end of the pitch her counterpart Anelle Deventer mixed lengthy periods of inactivity with two crucial saves at close-range from the miserly four shots on goal the improved SA defence allowed their opponents.

Where SA were again lacking was at penalty corners where just one in nine was successful while Japan could only manage to get one such goal-scoring chance from the set-piece play.

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