SA win, but coach not happy with Canada match

2008-03-03 00:00

THE final match in the Spar Cup Tri Nations series was quite fittingly a humdinger, trophy winners South Africa clawing their way back to draw 1-1 with second-placed Canada at the Randburg Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

However, Spar SA coach Jenny King said “it was a poor performance”.

“The team didn’t carry out the game plan and their effort was a little lacklustre,” King said. “There is no excuse that the players were jaded after a busy programme, as at the Olympics in Beijing it will be the same.”

Rated 24th in the world to South Africa’s 12th, one would think the home girls should have been more confident, but it was the Canucks who looked more comfortable. The first clear-cut chance came midway through the half when the match’s first penalty corner saw Canada’s Andrea Rushton force the best out of SA goalkeeper Mariette Rix.

Tarryn Bright, along with player of the series Kathleen Taylor and SA skipper Marsha Marescia, consistently took on and beat their opponents, and the result was direct shots at Canada goalkeeper and player of the match Sarah Forbes, who was equal to the task.

However, the match exploded three minutes from the break when Canada’s Katie Rushton, followed up a rebound for Rix’s initial save to reverse-stick a rocket into the net — a fitting reward in her 50th Test appearance.

Stung by the setback, Spar SA came out firing after the break, and green and yellow cards were dished out by the umpires, leaving Canada with 10 players after Rushton was sent to the sin bin.

SA poured their souls into attack in search of the equaliser and there were good passages of play from Vida Ryan and twin sister Vidette.

It was fitting that the goal was pulled back by the Bright-Taylor combination 16 minutes from time, Tarryn’s incisive circle entry and shot being rammed home by Kathleen off the keeper’s pads.

SA pushed hard for the winner but it was not to be and all that remained was for Marescia to receive the Spar Cup once the final whistle blew.

Spar Cup placings: 1. South Africa, +11 goal difference, 10 pts; 2. Canada, -1 GD, 4 pts; 3. Russia -10 GD, 3 pts.

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