SA teams shoot up the rankings after W Cup victories

2015-02-09 00:00

THE South African teams finished in their best final positions since the ­inception of the IHWC at Indoor Hockey World Cup 2015 at the Leipzig Arena, Germany, at the weekend to rocket up the world rankings.

The world number 18 Spar SA women’s team beat Canada 4-2 after the score was 2-2 at half time to end an ­historic ninth in the women’s event on Saturday.

Head coach Lennie Botha and captain Cindy Hack’s SA team punched well above their weight and the national woman’s representatives now move a remarkable nine places up the world ranking list.

The SA goals came via a brace apiece by two Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School products Kara Stella and Eloise Walters.

The entire SA team were KZN players.

KZN Inland Hockey Association president Gary Carson’s region has long been the heartbeat of the sport in South Africa. This is thanks in part to the tireless efforts of many stalwarts of the game, especially the legendary PMB hockey personality Brian Edwards.

Botha, the president of KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Hockey Association, has also done enormous work within the sport and deserves huge admiration for his ­efforts.

The SA men, under captain and ­Maritzburg College product Dale Isaac and tireless head coach Ryan Hack of Durban, were among the mainstays in their team’s success.

The SA men beat Canada 2-1 to end 11th and moved mountains up the world rankings into 11th spot.

Their goals came from PMB Varsity product Craig Haley and Old Hiltonian Matt Fairweather.

An incredible 11 out of the 12 SA men’s players either went to school or university in KZN.

It would appear a sure bet that were KZN to host the 2023 Indoor Hockey World Cup, the province would attract crowd support to rival the 12 000-seater Leipzig Arena.

Meanwhile, Holland took the gold medal in the men’s final thanks to a 3-2 triumph against Austria yesterday.

The result means that it is a double Dutch success in Leipzig, with men’s success coming hot on the heels of the women’s stunning shoot-out win over host nation Germany.

The Dutch women won the women’s Indoor Hockey World Cup final in ­dramatic style yesterday, defeating host nation Germany in a shootout in front of a passion-filled sell-out crowd in Leipzig.

A late goal from Dutchwoman Claire Verhage cancelled out a lead that ­Germany held for the majority of a pulsating match for the 1-1 final score in regulation time.

Holland keeper Adinda Alberts made three saves to seal a ­second world title for the Dutch.

Holland won the shootout 1-0.

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