SA on wrong side of 10-goal thriller

2010-03-03 00:00

SOUTH Africa were left to reflect on their inability to play for the full 70 minutes as they went down 6-4 to world number six England at the Hockey World Cup in Delhi, India yesterday.

This follows 13th-ranked SA’s 4-2 defeat to world number three Spain in their opening Pool B match.

It was 2-2 after the first 25 minutes and SA looked equal to the best in the world, yet three England goals in eight minutes and a total of four by the Union Jack men in 14, during a crackerjack second half, undid all the good work.

England moved three points clear at the top of the log after building on their shock 3-2 defeat of Australia on the opening day. The Kookaburras are on three points, having beaten India 5-2 Tuesday, while Pakistan beat Spain 2-1 in a surprise result, following their 4-1 drubbing by hosts India on Sunday.

With the exception of England (two from two) and SA (nought from two), the win/loss sequence sees Australia, Pakistan, Spain and India in a tie for second spot. The top two finishers in the pool go through to the semi-finals.

With three matches left in Pool B, SA will have to pull something special out of the bag if they are to earn a place in the last four.

The spectacle certainly did justice to the 500th match in Hockey World Cup history.

When Jackson gave England a 3-2 lead eight minutes after the restart, there followed an extraordinary four goals in eight minutes — including SA forward Marvin Harper’s candidate for goal of the day in the 57th minute. This was his second goal.

SA found themselves trailing 6-3 going into the last quarter-hour’s play. With 13 minutes left on the clock, Lloyd Norris-Jones slotted one in, and Thornton McDade scored three minutes from time.

England’s goals came from a Richard Mantell double at penalty corners and two well-worked action goals by Ashley Jackson and Nick Catlin.

Next up for SA is Australia tomorrow, which will be televised live on SuperSport 6 from 1 pm.

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